Question about digital brushes



  • This is another newbie question but I couldn't find the answer in google searches.

    I bought some digital pastel brushes (for Procreate) and when I use them to paint, instead of just drawing a single stroke across the "paper", the brush shape flips from right to left at random angles. I think this is called "angle jitter" although in Procreate, I can eliminate it by changing "shape behavior > scatter" to none instead of max.

    Since all of the pastel brushes I bought have this behavior, obviously there is a reason. I find it makes it difficult to control the edges but before I get rid of that behavior, I'd like to know why it's there. Maybe I am missing something about how this makes digital painting better emulate traditional painting, having admittedly little experience in either. Can anyone explain why the creators of brushes would include this behavior, how it helps your digital painting, and/or whether you find it a valuable feature or not?



  • Digital brushes stamp the shape of the tip on to the canvas so as an example if you have a round brush and tap it once you get a circle but if you drag it you get a line that will be smooth and boring. Brushes that are named after real media have textures and setting added to them to act and paint like real media. Angle jitter changes the shape of the stamp every time you tap on the screen thus giving you a more interesting stroke especially when you add pressure and texture. If you have limited experience in digital painting then you don't need to buy brushes Procreate has a lot of good ones and you would be better off playing with the settings of existing ones to learn the how and whys



  • @rcartwright I guess what I'm wondering though is how the "more interesting stroke" you describe helps to make the digital brush feel closer to the traditional brush. If I'm working with a real brush, (or in this case, pastel) the tip doesn't jump all over but obviously there is a reason that the digital brush creators feel that including the jitter more closely approximates the results of traditional media. I have used the standard brushes with Procreate for over a year but they don't include that jitter so I'm curious on an intellectual level about what exactly the jitter is supposed to emulate.



  • @demotlj The jitter can be a helpful time saver for laying down random "brush strokes" of opacity, value, and shape while also simulating the tooth of paper to some degree. In the case of pastels it's probably more so for shape as it's unlikely that the artist is holding each pastel in the exact same direction for every stroke made on the image. This is opposed to the basic stamping as @rcartwright said, which has a very rigid, fake, computer made feel that you want to avoid when painting digitally.



  • @demotlj
    I'm a beginner as well, and I am still trying to figure out this stuff, too. I think brushes with jitter might be more useful for filling in with color and texture, rather than outlines.



  • To quote Harry Potter, „brush-lore“ is as deep and separate a discipline as „wand-lore“. The one person who managed to really tame brushes to an uncannying level is Kyle Webster - and his brushes often behave the way you describe: they look like real brushes in one stroke, don’t scatter around and don’t look like they stamped the brush tip. Another brush that behaves like that in Procreate is the Nikko Rull . I’ve been trying to duplicate that brush in Photoshop since two years without success.
    Anyhow, the way to avoid the „scattering“ effect is to reduce „spacing“ to a minimum. If you reduce spacing but keep a strong angle jitter and reduce the scattering you avoid the digital look without having the stroke disperse all around. You can play around with the size jitter and the color jitter. I’m not sure you can do all of this in ProCreate - brush management is a lot more sophisticated in Photoshop. There is a course here on SVS, if I’m not mistaken....



  • Thanks everyone. I have this tendency to become obsessed with understanding the “why” behind something. Your comments were all very helpful and now I can go back to just concentrating on the actual work of painting :)



  • @smceccarelli Love the Harry Potter reference! Unfortunately, Kyle Webster no longer offers his brushes for Procreate but I just downloaded Nikko's brushes and like them much better than the ones I bought (which shows that sometimes good things in life are free.) Thanks.


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