you can fly!? Learning to use Particle Brushes

First Steps
with PD Particles (part 3)

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More Tutorials
PD Particles
Project Dogwaffle

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Adding clouds

 We'll now quickly paint a different type of clouds - big Texas-style thunder clouds with silver lining.

Click Presets and select one of the Airbrushes. Large airbrush will do great.

Paint a few strings of silver lining. Make sure that you use a bright color, ideally white, as the primary color. You will want to set the secondary color (right click on color tools)  to white as well.

Now that we have the basic outline of the clouds, we'll use a smear mode to wash out the inside of the cloud. Or better yet,  simply use the Bleed slider in the Brush settings to set the color bleed to a high value. (you might also want to reduce the opacity a little so that the effect is more subtle.)

Color bleed simulates the effect of wet paint on the canvas coming back into the brush. The color blends with that of the brush, and is re-deposited onto the canvas.

In this example we used white as the primary color. If you wanted to make darker clouds, particularly on the bottom side, use a light grey.

All you need to do is draw small circles. The background  color from the blue'ish sky will blend into the color from the brush. This results in a nice fuzzy  puffy cloud appearance.

Note that there is a difference between the left and right mouse colors (primary and secondary colors).  The color-changing parameters (random Hue, Bleed, etc...) are only applied to the primary color when painting with the left mouse button. The right-mouse button's secondary color is not affected.

Thus, you can use the right button to easily add a few more stacks of silver lining highlights. Simply use White as the secondary color too, and then draw those highlights with the right button. Then keep doing the circles with the left button again to further puff it up.

You'll also want to experiment with the various 'Modes' which are available in the Brush settings tab. The default mode is a replacing mode. The Smear and the Paint smear modes can be great for adding all sorts of little turbulent details along the silver lining of the cloud.

Or, you can use these to flatten the top of the clouds to make them look like an anvil cloud.

Another parameter that can be very useful in this context is the Dryout parameter. It gradually reduces the intensity of the brush's effect, to subtly fade away.

The clouds are done, now let's add a little more shrubbery and trees in the front.

Switch back to one of the Particle brushes. For example, the Dogwillow or Dogwillow2.

Paint it frely in front of the grassy hill and clouds.

Try the 'Tint' feature and select a few similar colors with the left mouse button to paint slightly differently colored versions of the shrubbery.

Or, experiment with the many parameters in the Particles tab.

Using the viewing tools

Click and drag the hand icon in the Zoom tools group. It lets you move the image to center on an area of interest.

Click and drag the nested boxes, i.e. the zoom tool. That will let you focus on a small detail.

You  can also avoid the round trip to and from the tools panel by using the Control-Shift keyboard shortcuts. Press and hold the Control and the Shift keys at the same time, and start draging with the left mouse button to move around, or with the right mouse button to zoom in and out.

The 100% button shows the image at its real pixel size. If it is too big to fit on screen, then parts of it will not be visible.

The 4th icon in the Zoom tools (the right-most one) fits the image to the window. That way you can see the whole image if it is a large image.

This completes the creative part. In the next part we'll explore some of the many ways to use the image with other programs such as image editors, viewers, 3D programs, etc...

 part 1  -  part 2  -  part 3  -  part 4