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Basic Mixer Brushes by YngvarAsplund Basic Mixer Brushes by YngvarAsplund
TL;DR: Simple Mixer Brush Tool presets for smooth color blending. Have fun!
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In a recent journal entry, I talked about how I haven't been able to make Photoshop's Mixer Brush Tool work quite the way I'd like, but it's far from a useless tool. I know a lot of you like to use the Smudge Tool for blending colors, and based on my own experimentation with different tools for blending colors, I think the Mixer Brush Tool is a much better option for comfortable color blending than the Smudge Tool is. It has a wider variety of settings available to it, and also mixes colors in a more interesting way. The trade-off is that it is a less intuitive tool to get used to. Because of this, I decided I want to share a set of two basic Mixer Brush tool presets with you guys. Hopefully, these will give you a better impression of the tool than the settings you start out with.

How to install:
Download the .zip and extract the .tpl file and place it where ever you like. Go to the Tool Presets panel in Photoshop and hit the little menu button in the top right of the panel. Click "Load Tool Presets..." in the drop-down menu and browse to the .tpl file. Load it, and that's it! The presets should be compatible with CS5 and above.

How to use:

Both tool presets are very basic and are intended for smooth color blending, like the blending you see in the preview image above. The Mixer Brush Tool works sort of like a combination of the regular Brush Tool and the Smudge Tool. It smudges colors together similar to the Smudge Tool, but with the settings I've included in this pack, it also puts your currently picked color onto the canvas. So remember to pick mid values while you blend to get the smoothest gradients, sort of like you do when blending with the normal Brush Tool.

If you have any other questions about how to use it, feel free to ask in the comments.

Copyright stuff:
The brushes don't really use anything I could claim to have copyright of, like textures or custom brush shapes, so there isn't really anything to worry about here. Use them for whatever! Just don't be a dick and try to sell the brushes outright.

Technical nonsense:
I chose to share these in the Tool Presets format (.tpl) instead of as Brush Presets (.abr) because Tool Presets include all brush settings, not just the settings in the Brush panel (.abr brushes don't include presets for Wet, Load, Mix and Flow percentages, while .tpl brushes do). This means you can play around with any of the settings as much as you want and break the brush horribly if you like. To revert it back to my settings, just click the brush in the Tool Presets panel again.

The brushes are very simple, but what makes them a bit special is that they use a flat gray texture in the Texture settings. Using a flat texture without any actual texture to it sounds a bit silly, but it gives you access to settings (Brush Panel -> Texture -> Depth) that control the flow of the brush more elegantly than the normal Flow settings do. It's not something you have to worry about unless you're genuinely interested. If you just want a blending brush that does a decent job, the default settings I provided should treat you fairly well.
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:iconkerensaw:
KerensaW Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Had to come in here and say OMG I love these brushes.  As a newbie they are really going to help me with my painting - thanks so much for sharing with us for free. :)
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:iconyngvarasplund:
YngvarAsplund Featured By Owner Aug 21, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I'm glad you like them! Just be careful. If you use them too much, it's easy to start blurring out features in a drawing that would benefit from a sharper look. Personally, I try to limit my use of them to only large areas that need to look smooth.
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:iconchel-r:
Chel-R Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
holy crap, i LOVE it!
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:iconyngvarasplund:
YngvarAsplund Featured By Owner Jun 17, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I'm glad you do. :)
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:iconaxelyaoiroxas:
axelyaoiroxas Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2014
Going to need to get the latest version of Photoshop or at least CS5, however, thank you still. I'll try looking into...something similar.
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:iconyngvarasplund:
YngvarAsplund Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
Another option is to set up shortcuts for sending the file over to another software with better blending tools, like PaintTool SAI. This is something I'm experimenting with at the moment, and it can be done pretty efficiently. It is a bit complex, but it lets you pick and choose from the tools in both of the programs, which is nice.
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:iconaxelyaoiroxas:
axelyaoiroxas Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014
I don't have a properly working SAI, can it be used in Painter 12 perhaps? I find that Painter 12 is more flexible with files from other programs than Photoshop is.
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:iconyngvarasplund:
YngvarAsplund Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
It should work fine with any program, as long as both the programs you use support the same file type. I just open the file in both programs at once. I paint in PS, save the file, swap to SAI and load the new version of the file, blend colors, save and swap back to PS. Photoshop has an option to automatically update files that are open, so I don't need to load the new version of the file there. It would simplify the process a lot if SAI had the same option.

The way I have it set up is a bit more complicated than this. I use a set of Actions in PS, a program called AutoHotkey and a set of custom keybindings on a Razer Nostromo. This lets me do everything by just hitting a couple of keys. But it's not necessary if you don't mind that it takes a few extra seconds to swap between the programs.

You'll also have to consider how demanding it is for your computer to keep the file you're working on open in both programs.
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:icondioptasy:
Dioptasy Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is great! Thanks so much!!
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:iconyngvarasplund:
YngvarAsplund Featured By Owner Jun 12, 2014  Professional Digital Artist
I'm glad you find it useful. :)
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