How to activate Photoshop pen pressure |TIP67

CHOUTAC CHUNG – Samurai Robot

Last night, I was trying some brushes in Photoshop. I tried a brush that remind me the quality line of one of my pen, the Uni-Ball EYE, from Mitsubishi. The flow of ink applied on paper with this pen is constant whatever speed or pressure you draw with.

I don’t really know why, I instantaneously felt comfortable with this brush, even if you can’t find more basic. Anyway, a Samurai robot appeared few minutes later. A cool outline came out so let’s use it for our TIP OF THE DAY !

First of all, there is 2 main way to paint. WITH or WITHOUT pen opacity pressure.

To activate it, press the following button (Options bar on the top of the page). This small button will make a huge difference in your painting approach in Photoshop.*

*There is an other way to activate it in the brush options, but to make it simple, let’s stick to this button for today.

1. Paint with pen pressure OPACITY

To get all these shades of blue colour, I just need to pick up one tone of blue. I paint controlling the shading from light to that selected tone with the pressure sensitivity of the pen. We actually play with the opacity to deliver a feel closed to traditional painting.

Wacom say that there is 2048 pen pressure sensitivity. With my very first Wacom Graphire 2 it was 512. I actually barely see the difference. If the next tablet say 4096, don’t get impressed too fast. 😉 (the evolution tend to double at each major update: 256, 512, 1024, 2096, next ?) Instead, look at side features such as inclination recognition of the pen.

2. Paint without pen pressure OPACITY

This technique is often used in cartoons, comics or manga. You deliver 3 shades of a colors. Basically, the light, medium and the shadow. I let you count the number of shades applied on Frieza.

For the Samurai Robot, I picked up 3 tones of blue from the color palette that I superposed. I started with the lightest tone. I recommend to use 1 layer per tone. It allows you to make correction. With experience, you may decide to paint all in one layer.

3. What if we merge both techniques ?

I quite like merging both. The “cartoon” rendering adding to the “traditional” painting bring an interesting impact into it.

This application of colours is here applied on a robot, but you could easily think about transposing it to Product design, transport, architecture and so on. Creativity has no boundaries. So learn your basics, get inspired by any kind of artists and always look for innovation. Step-by-step, you will create your own style at the end of the day.

Hoping it helps, let me know if you have any question!
Just drop a comment below.

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About The Author


Hello! My name is Chou-Tac. I am a Product Designer from France. If the sketching methods I’ve acquired aid me in my life and in my industrial design career, I believe that they can also help you reach your design goal as a student or professional. My aim to help you all along with your design projects and journey. Anytime, feel free to leave a comment in the blog or send me an email at : )

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