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Create some genuine effects with Faux Finish Brushes

Added on Friday 27th of January 2006 03:04 am EST


Adobe Photoshop 7/CS/CS2

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows


Photoshop, Brushes, Faux Finish, Presets

We look to stock art to fulfill many of our image editing needs. However, not everything you might want in your final piece is accessible from a photograph, and elements such as backgrounds and texture enhancements often need to be created from scratch. With a little imagination and some help from Photoshop’s Faux Finish Brushes, you can create awesome textures and backgrounds that will add depth and pizzazz to your next masterpiece.


To enhance your work with Faux Finish Brushes, we’ll:

     Show you how to access the Faux Finish Brushes presets so you can start exploring.

     Describe how you can use Faux Finish Brushes to create the decorated look of faux finish painted walls for creative backgrounds.

     Explain how to use Faux Finish Brushes in conjunction with a Quick Mask to create great frames for your photos.

     Offer suggestions and provide examples of other techniques where you can use Faux Finish Brushes.


If your challenge is to enhance a photo or create an illustration, don’t overlook the series of Faux Finish Brushes presets that come with Photoshop. They offer the potential to achieve rich textures and add dimension to your next piece, as illustrated in Figure A. Whether you paint with a mouse or stylus, you can achieve great results with these brushes. In fact, the faux finish brushes lend themselves to looser strokes, and therefore, are very forgiving for mouse painters. So put on your creative hat and let’s get painting!




Faux Finish Brushes

The Faux Finish Brushes presets are accessible through the Brushes palette and the Brush tool options bar. We’ll load them through the Brushes palette, but it works the same either way. You may or may not have them loaded, so we’ll load them in and take a quick peek at them.



Alert: In the following steps we’re going to replace our existing brushes with just the Faux Finish Brushes, to minimize confusion in our palette. If you don’t want to replace your set, click Append instead of OK in the preceding step 4. Or, if you prefer, save your current set before you begin, and then reload it in later.



To load the Faux Finish brush presets:

1.       Choose the Brush tool brush from the toolbox.

2.      Select Window > Brushes to display the Brushes palette.

3.      Choose Faux Finish Brushes from the Brushes palette’s pop-up menu.

4.      Click OK in the resulting Adobe Photoshop dialog box, asking if you want to “Replace current brushes with the brushes from Faux Finish Brushes.abr?” This way we have only the Faux Finish brushes in our palette, as shown in Figure B.




If you want to display the name of your brushes rather than a thumbnail, simply choose Text Only from the Brushes palette’s pop-up menu. Alternatively, you can select Large list to show a large icon of the brushstroke, alongside the name of the brush. You can also hover over the icon of the brushstroke to display the brush name.



Note: You can change a faux finish brush’s master diameter, but not the hardness.



Faux Finish techniques

The preset Faux Finish brushes are simulated from the materials used in creating designer finishes for wall painting. Some faux finishing painting techniques include, but are not limited to:

        Sponging. Paint is layered from dark to light, with the second and sometimes third layer applied with a textured sponge, and often a glaze mixture instead of full strength paint.

        Marbeling. A dark layer of paint is often layered with a dark layer of glaze, then the marbleized veins are painted in loosely with variable strokes to achieve the desired look.

        Verdigris. Paint is layered from dark to light, and blended with a sponge. Then, bronzing powder is applied in multiple stages to achieve the look of aged copper.



Faux, for real

Faux (pronounced fo) is a French word meaning false, or more commonly, fake. You may be accustomed to hearing faux in the phrase faux pas (literally translated to false step) as in a mistake or more commonly, a social blunder.



Traditional faux finish

You create a painted faux finish in Photoshop in much the same way you do with real paint on walls. The difference, obviously, is you’re selecting colors from a palette, and instead of a glaze, we’ll use layer opacity to achieve the background “wall” in Figure C.




To set the background layer for our faux sponged painting:

1.       Create a new 7" wide by 4" high 300 ppi RGB document with a white background.

2.      Set the foreground color to a dark color of your choice. We used a dark brown with RGB coordinates of 75/51/20, respectively.

3.      Choose Edit > Fill.

4.      Select Foreground color from the Use pop-up menu, Normal from the Mode pop-up menu, enter 100 in the Opacity text box, and click OK.


Now we can add some additional layers and brushstrokes, which will complete the faux sponge painted look.


To complete the faux sponged finish:

1.       Create a new layer and name it Rolled Rag Terry.

2.      Set the foreground color to a lighter shade of your b...