The parameters of the dynamics of the brush in Photoshop – another dynamics

In the previous lesson, we looked at how the parameters of the Color Dynamics section allow us to dynamically change and control various aspects of the brush color during the drawing process. In this lesson we will study the sixth and last category of parameters of the dynamics of the brush with an incomprehensible name. “Other Dynamics” (Other Dynamics)! As in the case of the “Dynamics of Color” section, the options of the “Other Dynamics” section do not work with the brush shape, but allow you to dynamically control the opacity of the brush color and amount of paint (pressure)!

Note: Starting with the version of Photoshop CS5, the name of the “Other Dynamics” section has been changed to “Broadcast” (Transfer).

What do the concepts of “Opacity” and “Press” mean and how do they differ from each other? Before we explore these options in the Brush panel, let’s look at how you can access them in the usual way.

Options panel

Whenever we select the Brush tool in Photoshop, the options bar at the top of the screen displays various options that affect the brush, including “Opacity” (Opacity) and “Pressure” (Flow), located next to each other:

After selecting the Brush tool, the Opacity and Press options appear on the options panel.


Parameter “Opacity” (Opacity) adjusts the degree of transparency of the color of the brush in the process of drawing a stroke. When the Opacity parameter is set to 100% (default value), the brush color is an opaque and completely fill the area under the brush print, leaving no gaps. If the value is 0%, the color of the brush, on the contrary, is transparent, allowing us to see everything under the brush print (giving the impression of drawing with an invisible brush). The opacity values ​​between 0% and 100% make the brush color translucent, with higher opacities giving the brush more haze than lower values.

I will draw a simple brush stroke using a standard round brush. The brush color will be black (for this I will set black as the foreground color) and the value of the parameter “Intervals” (Spacing) in the section “Brush print form” (Brush Tip Shape) I will increase to 50% so that you can easily see the individual brush prints, with the result that the stroke will look uneven and ribbed. At the same time, each “unevenness” will correspond to a separate imprint of the brush. Below is a drawn brush stroke with an opacity value of 100% (default):

If the opacity value is 100%, the brush stroke is black and looks black.

Let’s see what happens if I reduce the opacity value to 25%:

Reduce the opacity value to 25%

This time, despite the fact that I still paint in black, the brush stroke looks light gray.

The color of the brush now looks much lighter.

The reason is that when the opacity is reduced, the white background of the document appears through the color of the brush. An opacity value of 25% means that we see only 25% of the brush color and 75% of the white background.

It is important to note that even in those places where the brush twice went through the same place, the opacity value has not changed. It remained equal to 25% throughout the stroke, even in those places where the stroke was drawn twice. Despite the fact that the prints overlap, the level of opacity does not change. This is the difference between the Opacity and Push options. Opacity controls the degree of transparency of the entire brush stroke, and the “Pressure” parameter, in turn, controls the opacity level of each individual brush print!

The only way I can influence the degree of opacity of my original stroke is to release the mouse button, finish drawing the first stroke (or tear off the tablet pen), and draw the second separate stroke over the first one. In my case, I will draw a second stroke, also with an opacity equal to 25%. It will be the same light gray color, but in those areas where two strokes intersect with each other, the opacity levels will be combined and the drawn prints will become darker:

The areas where the two strokes coincide look darker, since the opacity levels of the two strokes in these places are combined


I will increase the opacity value back to 100%, and the value push (Flow), in turn, reduced to 25%:

Reduce the value of the parameter “Press” to 25%

Below is the same brush stroke, but this time with a “Press” setting of 25%. The difference compared to the previous stroke is noticeable. The beginning of the stroke is of the same light gray color, since the white background looks through the black color, but in those places where individual prints overlap, the color is darker and less transparent. Where a stroke is drawn twice (at the base of the loops), the color is even darker:

If you select the “Press” option, in those places of the stroke where individual prints overlap, the opacity level becomes less

Again, recall that the “Pressure” parameter affects the degree of opacity of individual brush prints, while the “Opacity” parameter controls the level of opacity of the entire stroke. When you select the “Press” option, those areas of the stroke where individual prints overlap each other become darker than areas where there are no intersection of the lines, since the opacity levels are combined. If I reduce the intervals between individual prints (up to 13% in the section “Dynamics of the brush shape”) and draw another stroke, it will become less transparent and darker. The “Pressure” parameter is still 25%, however, since the steel prints are located closer to each other, they began to overlap more and the smear turned out to be darker:

The closer the prints are to each other, the more the intersection, the darker and more opaque the stroke.

If I leave the intervals the same and draw a new stroke, but this time I set the opacity, not pressure, to 25% (the value of the “Press” parameter will increase back to 100%), we will again see the same opacity level total smear. The fact that the prints are closer to each other and become more intersecting does not matter for the Opacity parameter, since this parameter works with the level of opacity of the stroke as a whole:

“Are the prints overlapping? Not noticeable “- as if the” Opacity “parameter tells us, working with the stroke as a whole

After we have considered the options Opacity and Press on the options panel, let’s explore these parameters and how they work in the Brush panel!

Other dynamics

In order to change the opacity and / or pressure of the brush in the process of drawing, you must use the options “Opacity” and “Press” in the section “Other Dynamics” (Other Dynamics) on the panel “Brush” (Brushes). Click directly on the phrase “Other Dynamics” to access the options:

Click directly on the phrase “Other Dynamics” in the “Brush” panel

Note: on the options panel parameter “flow ”is translated as“ Pushing ”, while in the“ Brush ”panel“Flow ”is translated as“ amount of paint ”. However, both there and there this parameter controls the amount of paint in the process of drawing.

As you click on the phrase, the options appear on the right side of the Brush panel. “Opacity” (Opacity) and “The amount of paint” (Flow). As in the other categories of brush dynamics parameters, each of the options has the Control parameter (Control), which offers various ways to control the opacity and amount of paint (pressing) of the brush, and the Jitter slider, allowing you to randomly change the pressure and the amount of paint:

The parameters “Opacity” and “Amount of paint” have the option “Control” and the slider of the parameter “Vibration”

Options Bar vs. Brush Panel

Before you start changing the settings of the “Other Dynamics” section, make sure that the Opacity and Press settings on the options panel are 100%, otherwise the results may be unpredictable. This is due to the fact that the parameters “Opacity” and “Press” on the options panel and on the “Brush” panel are directly dependent on each other. If, for example, you set the opacity on the options panel to 25%, the opacity of the brush color will never exceed 25%, no matter what values ​​you enter in the “Other Dynamics” section. The same applies to the “Push” parameter.

Brush color opacity control

To dynamically control the opacity of the brush color in the process of drawing, click on the drop-down menu icon directly under the slider of the Opacity Vibration parameter to select one of the control options: Fade, Pen Pressure, Pen Tilt (Pen Tilt) or “Stylus Wheel” (if you have an airbrush pen). The “Transition” parameter is responsible for consistently reducing the opacity of the brush color for a certain number of steps and is the only way to dynamically control the brush opacity, which does not require a drawing tablet (you can of course choose any other method, but it will not work). I’ll select the “Pen Pressure” option because I’m using a drawing tablet:

Select the “Pen Pressure” option to control the brush color opacity

After selecting the “Pen pressure” parameter, the more you press on the electronic pen, the more opaque (matte) the smear will be. As soon as you ease the pressure, the color of the stroke becomes more transparent:

In the center of the stroke, the degree of pressure of the pen was higher, so the color turned out to be more matte. Along the edges I pressed on the pen with less effort, so the stroke was clearer

Ink control

The “Control” option for the “Paint quantity” option works the same. Click on the drop-down menu icon directly under the slider of the “Fluctuating ink amount” parameter to select one of the same control options: “Transition”, “Pen pressure”, “Pen tilt” and “Copy wheel”. I will again select the “Pen Pressure” option:

The options Opacity and Amount of Paint have the same controls (Transition, Pen Pressure, Pen Tilt, and Copy Wheel)

When opacity was adjusted by pen pressure, there was a noticeable difference in opacity levels as the stroke was drawn, since the opacity level depended on the degree of pen pressure. After selecting the “Pen Pressure” option to control the amount of ink, the smear is obtained as a whole, darker, despite the fact that the degree of pen pressure remains the same. As the individual brush prints intersect, their opacity levels are mixed, and the color is more matte than with the pen pressure for the Opacity parameter:

With the same degree of pen pressure, the “Amount of ink” parameter gives us a more matte stroke than the “Opacity” parameter.

Fluctuation of opacity and amount of paint

And, finally, we can add an element of randomness to the degree of opacity of the brush or the amount of paint (or both) using the parameter sliders. “Swing” (Jitter). The further you move the slider to the right, the more variety you will give the parameter values:

Use the Slider Opacity and Swing Paint Amount options to randomly change parameter values.

The results of using both sliders will be similar, since the program randomly changes the opacity level of each new brush print. The difference lies in the fact that after choosing the option “Fluctuating the amount of paint” the stroke as a whole usually turns out darker and dull, since the levels of opacity of the intersecting prints are combined (mixed) with each other. Below is a brush stroke with a value of “Fluctuations of Opacity” equal to 100%. Separate brush prints are noticeable, but their opacity levels in the places where the prints are applied do not change:

Brush stroke with an Opacity Oscillation value of 100%.

But a smear is drawn when the value of the “Fluctuating amount of paint” parameter is equal to 100% (“Fluctuation of opacity” is 0%). This time you can see some light transparent areas, and a lot more dark matte:

The same brushstroke when the value of the parameter “fluctuation of the amount of paint” is equal to 100%.

And here we are done! In the series of lessons we looked at how you can control the brush, changing its size, shape, texture, color and opacity, thanks to the parameters of the brush dynamics!

If you missed a lesson, you can go to it using the links below:

  • “Dynamics of form”
  • Scattering
  • “Texture”
  • “Double brush”
  • “Color Dynamics”

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