Toy Tech: The Digital Pencil (Part 3)



My messy desk at Creata—Wacom Cintiq in action

The custom brush creator in Adobe Photoshop is something all
toy designers need to know more about. It’s actually pretty easy to use once
you get used to it. You can start off with a pre-loaded preset brush from the
library included with the program or load in a new library of brushes and use
one of those as a base to build upon. You can also create your own brushes from
scratch—it’s all up to you.

Click on the various brush attributes located on the left
side of the menu box to enter into the set of controls specific to that
attribute. You’ll see several adjustment bars which are pretty intuitive in
that you click and drag increasing or decreasing each individual setting. You can
create a brush with hard edges or soft edges. You can create a charcoal brush effect
or a watercolor effect all by controlling these settings.

I recommend you create your own library of custom brushes
ranging from virtual pencils to markers and anything in between. I have one
specific pencil variant for freehand drawing but designed another to be used in
with the Path tool. I also have several tonal shading brushes and even
customized a few eraser variants. All of these are geared for specific effects but
most importantly—to increase speed due to the time constraints inherent in the
toy industry.

It’s important that you don’t just type in someone else’s
formula to create a brush but actually learn what each brush attribute setting actually
does to change the effect of the stroke. This is vital for the student or
professional to learn so they can create the perfect brush for their specific industry
application and unique personal style. If you take the time to master these
controls, any virtual brush can be created and the variations of those themes are

Well, it’s great to have all of these digital gizmos
incorporated into our design process but nothing can replace your creative thinking
and personal skill set. No computer program known to mankind can make you know
how to draw, ideate or creatively imagine the next big idea that will turn
the toy industry upside down.

That, my friend, is all up to you.



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