Toy Tech: Photoshop Brush Stroke Spacing



Yes, I’m posting yet another article on the subject of digital brushes, but there has been a lot of questions from both retail and premium toy designers concerning the process. Breaking up the stages into several posts helps to simplify the complexity of Photoshop CS6/CC into bite-sized pieces.

Anyway, I had the perfect toy design sketch to go with this post but had to opt out for this digital concept painting I did for a game company back in the day. We were exploring an environment for gameplay and did several fairly rough concepts to set the stage for our hero’s journey.

While the main aspect of the image was to tell a story and have emotional impact, the concept art also served as a guide to strategically position several key components such as the spaceship, staging and the extremely complex background elements.

Casting the character and main staging platform in shadow added to the mood and mystery so that was easy enough, but those background buildings needed to show detail without taking forever to do it. After all, we were designing the digital game alongside proposed retail toys—we faced deadlines, deadlines, deadlines and a few more deadlines.


The solution was to create specific customized brushes and then modify their spacing percentages within the Brush Presets window. This preset control effectively staggered the digital brush to repeat itself, creating multiple windows and other structural building elements.

This CS6/CC technique is used to great advantage in toy design to create repeatable patterns with exact specifications within limited time constraints. Since we discussed the process of designing customized brushes in previous articles, this specific post focuses on the preset slider that allows you to customize all of the variables associated with the spacing of a digital brushstroke.

In the diagram above, the actual brush shape is followed by the horizontal stroke. The top stroke set to 1% spacing creates a continual fluid line, while the second brush set to 75% has more of a jagged look due to the increased setting. The third stroke has such a high setting that it simply repeats the actual brush shape.

So, with these control settings, your brush attributes can be customized to mimic a dry brush effect simply by increasing the spacing percentages using the control slider. This also allows you to repeat any brush shape you creat, such as windows, beams, rivets, etc. 

As the Adobe Creative Cloud continues to grow and move forward with CC applications while adding mobile apps to cell phones and iPads, it's even more important than ever to take advantage of digital tools by staying up to date with the latest innovations. 



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