Photoshop – Paint with multi-color brushes

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this
video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can paint with multicolor
brushes in Photoshop. Before we get started on this tutorial I just want to show you my
new eBook which is available on both as a printed book and also as a Kindle
download. It’s a book on 57 Secrets for Working Smarter in Photoshop. There are all sorts
of secrets here for graphic designers and photographers that will help you work smarter
and more effectively in Photoshop so I encourage you to go and have a look at the book. And
it’s also available on iTunes as a download. So now let’s go and have a look at what we’re
going to do in this particular tutorial. And in this tutorial I’m going to show you how
you can create a brush that does like this brush is doing and it paints in multiple colors
in Photoshop. So let’s get started with this tutorial. I’m going to add a brand new layer
to this image and fill it with black because black is my foreground color here and I do
that by pressing Alt Backspace on the PC, Option Delete on the Mac. I’m just going to
get rid of the painted layer. I’m going to add a new layer that we can start painting
on and I’ve got some bokeh brushes that we’ve created. Now I did these in an earlier tutorial
so you may want to look at this tutorial if you want to see how to create these bokeh
brushes. But I created a brand new one here for this particular tutorial. So I’m just
going to size it down and we’re going to pick up our starter colors. Now I want to paint
with a sort of blue, a very palest sort of blue and a yellow. So I’m going to set these
as my colors. Now you may think that it’s not possible to paint in multiple colors in
Photoshop but that’s not the case. It is actually quite easy to do so. So I’ve already selected
my bokeh brush. I’m going to click here to launch the brushes palette or I could click
here and choose Window and then Brush and that would show the palette. Now this is my
brush and at the moment it’s painting like that which is not what we want. So let’s go
to brush tip shape and I’m going to size it down a little bit and I’m going to increase
its spacing so that it paints a little bit more like that. Let’s undo that. We’re going
into scattering to just set up the scattering on the brush. I’ve got scattering on both
axes so it’s going to paint something like that which I think is a pretty good effect
although I do want it to have a size jitter. Now size jitter is under shape dynamics so
I’m going to add a size jitter and then a minimum diameter. And right now that’s how
my brush is painting. So now multiple colors. Multiple colors are achieved through color
dynamics. And here is the color dynamics dialog and I’m going to reset everything so we can
see what options we have here. Now purity is reset at zero. That’s very, very important.
All the others reset at zero but zero is down the left of the screen here but with purity
zero is in the middle. And the reason why purity at zero is important is that if you
bring purity down to -100 it’s like a saturation. So all the saturation in your brush is being
removed. So you will want to start with purity around zero percent so that your brush actually
is showing color even though right now it’s only showing the foreground color. Let’s have
a look at these with foreground/background jitter just set to zero percent. You can see
that we’re painting with the foreground color. Let’s see what happens when we take it up
to 100 percent. Now we’re jittering in color between the foreground and the background
color. So we’ve got variety of colors between blue and yellow. We’re sort of halfway to
where we want to be. With hue jitter — I’m just going to set this down a little bit.
Let’s go to hue jitter and see what happens. Now with hue jitter instead of just jittering
between the foreground and background colors we’re actually throwing in colors that do
not appear between blue and yellow because orange and pink don’t appear between blue
and yellow on the color wheel. So that is going to give us some additional colors. Let’s
just wind that back and see what happens when we choose saturation jitter and here we’re
altering the saturation on the brush. Right now we’re jittering between the foreground
and background color so we’re between blue and yellow. We don’t have any hue jitter turned
on but we’re getting more and less saturated dots so we’re getting a variety of saturation.
And if we combine that with hue jitter then we’re going to get a variety of saturated
various colors. So let’s just wind these two back to zero for a minute and let’s have a
look at brightness. Right now this is the standard brush that we’ve got jittering between
foreground and background color. But let’s see what happens when we take the brightness
up to 100 percent, that jitter. And what we’re doing is we’re jittering between very bright
and not bright colors so we’re almost going to black here, between black and very bright.
So for our purposes in trying to get a sort of bokeh brush we probably wouldn’t want a
brightness jitter of 100 percent but we might use it at for example 50 percent. Let’s just
see what that gives us. That might be a more interesting effect. And as I said with purity
we’ll want to have purity at least at zero because we want to see color. If we take purity
to -100 we’re only going to paint in black and white and grayscale. If we take purity
to 100 then we’re going to get some really, really bright colors. So I’m just going to
get rid of this layer. Actually let’s just trash this layer and let’s create a brand
new layer. Let’s just double check our brush settings. I do want a foreground/background
jitter. I do want some pinks and other colors. I will increase the saturation a little bit.
I’m going to increase the brightness jitter just a little bit. I want purity set to about
zero here. I think I don’t want a lot of variety there and I’m just going to click that dialog.
And now we can go ahead and paint on this bokeh effect. Now having added those bokeh
colors to that one layer I can then decrease the opacity of the layer if I want to, add
another layer, perhaps increase the size of the brush here. I could decrease the flow
or decrease the size of the brush here. And now I’m going to paint using screen blend
mode so I get again a little bit more of a brighter effect. And again I can dial down
the opacity and keep adding to this effect using this brush. So I’m Helen Bradley. Thank
you for joining me for this video tutorial. Look out for more tutorials on this YouTube
channel. Visit my website at for more tips, tricks and tutorials on Photoshop,
Lightroom, Illustrator, Photoshop Elements and a whole lot more.


  1. Helen Bradley July 11, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Learn how to set up a brush in #Photoshop  so it paints in multi-colors – control the colors, saturation, brightness as you paint.

  2. Grouchy satan April 21, 2016 at 2:45 pm

    Thanks alot helen it was really helpful

  3. Dzonatan Gavert February 9, 2017 at 4:04 am

    Question: Is it possible to hard select very specific colors you want to paint?

  4. kvaDrug May 9, 2017 at 7:28 pm

    I like this tutorial, I get a lot new things about brushes, not just multicolor.

  5. همسة ملائكية July 1, 2017 at 9:34 am

    thanks for this video I learned a lot.

  6. John Smith October 7, 2017 at 7:28 am

    Interesting and I did get some idea. Is there a way to strike 2 colors at the same time, I mean a part of the brush black and anoter part white at the SAME time?

  7. Heather L. November 16, 2018 at 12:38 am

    Thank you, that was very helpful. I'll check out your other videos.

  8. trumanjai January 17, 2019 at 3:30 pm

    Thank you!

  9. rajshahi center September 24, 2019 at 6:20 am

    thank you ,it helpful

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