Captured brush made from an apple blossom nozzleCaptured Brushes & How to Make Them

The links below are examples of captured brushes made from Jungle DVD Mastering nozzles. They use Wet, Cover, and Drip methods by default. They also show how Jungle DVD nozzles can by used in ways people often overlook.

A tip to remember,

You have to "load" this Brush Library. You do that from the Brush palette (below the icons) where the brush name appears to the left. Click on that menu and you'll find Load Library at the very bottom of the list. Find the Captured Brush library you've downloaded on your hard drive and select it.

Learn how the brushes work,

Because captured brushes contain images, they provide a great opportunity to see how Painter's brushes actually work. It's much easier to see how the various brush settings apply when there's an image involved. That's because the same adjustments also apply to Painter's other "circular" brushes. So captured brushes provide a very fast way to learn how to control brush behaviors. That knowledge will save you time.

Be sure to check out all the brush settings for these captured brushes, the Sliders, Random, Water, Spacing, Angle Controls, etc. Change the various settings and see what happens. When you get a brush and setting you like, choose Save Variant from the Variant menu on the Brush palette. Finally, make some of your own brushes because that's what this page is all about.

A word about textures,

Most of these sample brushes employ grainy characteristics. That means Paper Textures are involved.  All of the textures referenced are the default Papers for Painter 5. The Oils even have the recommended Paper and size settings listed. Simply open the Paper palette and adjust the size slider to get the suggested effect.

The water color brushes work the same way but don't have recommendations provided. Personally, I like the Raw Silk texture at 60% for the Blossoms. I also like the Eggscape at 400% for one of the other Blossom brushes. See which ones work best for you.

A few other things,

Here are two tips to keep in mind. Before you capture an image, make the image the same size as you'll want to use in the brush. You can always change the brush size, but doing so may cause the edge to soften (anti-alias). If you make your original image at the preferred brush size, that helps to prevent the edge softening effect.

Like these example brushes, any captured brush can be made to render different sizes based on pen pressure.  Use the Sliders palette and move the Size slider to Pressure, then adjust the +/- Size slider on the Brush Controls: Size palette.  But be prepared to wait when you make a multi-size brush that uses angular range for directional control. Painter has to "build" a brush containing the complex assortment of shapes. The added size and direction variables require that Painter calculate the permutations of size and direction as applied to that shape. Even on fast machines this can take several minutes.  With Painter 6, you should only have to wait once.  That's because the information will be recorded into the "Pre-built Brush File" (to the best of my knowledge anyway).

Similarly, if you change the brush size sliders even slightly for one of these directional brushes, Painter has to recalculate the brush. So be careful or you may find yourself spending a long time waiting for Painter to build the brush again, even though you only made a minor modification.  Still, these variable size, directional settings make for very powerful tools that are good to have around.

Use circles,

Ever notice that Painter's brushes are circles? The same principle applies to captured brushes.  The image may have an odd shape and you do use the square selection tool to capture the brush, but the image still needs to fit within a circle that's the size of the brush.  If it doesn't, the corners of the image will clip with the brush is rotated.  

So here's the trick.  Use the circle selection tool to measure your image before you actually capture it.  It insures that none of the image will clip at the corners when the brush is rotated. Remember, in the end the brush will have circular dimensions. If a part of the image extends into a corner or overlaps the edge of the circle, that part will be clipped off when the brush is rotated.

Unfortunately, Painter won't let you use the circular selection tool to capture a brush. Until it does, use this technique as a work around. Select the circle Selection tool (or Shape tool) and enclose the image. Be sure to hold the Shift key down while you drag the circle over the image. That keeps the circle symmetrical. Now use the arrow keys to fine tune the position of your circle over the image. When you've got a nice tight circle, make a floater out of it and then click on Trim. Once you've trimmed the floater, copy (Cmd+C or Cntrl+C) and use the "Paste into New Image" command (in the Edit menu). Your new image is already sized so Select All (Cmd+A or Cntrl+A) and use the Capture Brush command from the Brush palette. Easy, clean, and efficient.

(Here's what happened. You used a circle selection tool, but created a floater that's perfectly square. You get that perfect square because your circle was symmetrical. Since all floaters are inherently rectangular in Painter, you'll also get a captured brush that is fully inclusive.)

Using the circle approach insures that you get a brush that won't clip while also giving you the smallest square possible. That helps keep memory and processor demands down which makes for faster brushes. If you're using Painter 3, 4, 5 or 5.5, always be sure to "Trim" once you make it a floater. Painter 6 on automatically trims floaters for you. Have fun.

Mac P4-P6 (3.7 mb)
Win & Mac P7-P9 (3.6 mb)