title image

Making And Using A
Swirly Brush


This tutorial was created 4th June 2003 and updated for psp X8 4th April 2016
©Copyright Artwork by EssexGirl
please do not copy it, or put it anywhere else without my written permission.

You will find links to filters/programs used in this tutorial Here
the link will open in a new window

Filters and programs used in this tutorial :-
Paint Shop Pro
Dragonfly's Sinedots II

Materials :-
My Ribbon-trail.cfg (put in your sindots presets folder)
4365769.bmp (put in your patterns folder)Here

An image to frame.
The photo that I used is from Unsplash.com

Some images have been made smaller to shorten file size

Step 1.
You can create a swirly brushes with other shapes and images, but
for this tutorial I'm using a sinedots image.
Open a new Image 200 x 300 with a transparent background
Go to Effects...Plugins...Dragonfly...Sinedots II...
If you are new to sinedots and don't know how to open
the .cfg files and the presets that they contain,
click HERE for more information

Open the 'ribbon-trail' preset and click ok.


This is the shape that I am going to use to make the brush tip.

Go to File...Export...Custom Brush...
Tick the 'save variance' box, the step can be left at the default value
of 32. Give the brush tip a name, fill in any other information that you
want to and click ok.


Now that you have the brush tip saved you can close the image.

Step 2.
You can use the brush tip for painting with as it is, but we are also going to make a preset
using the brush variance palette, that will use this brush tip to paint a swirly line.

Open a new image for trying out the effects that we are going to apply to the brush.
It needs to be fairly large, mine is 800 x 500 with a white background.
Add a new raster layer.
In the materials palette pick different colours for the background and foreground.
The choice of colour is yours. I've used blue for the foreground and red for the
background. I used plain colours with no texture.

Press b on the keyboard or click on the paint brush icon to activate it and choose the
Paint Brush. Then on the tools options palette, click on the dropdown box to display your
brushes and choose the ribbon-trail (or whatever name you called your brush).
Mine is arrowed in the screenshot.


Step 3.
At the moment the brush tip is larger than I want to use, so on the tool options palette
change the size to 50. Change the step size to 16, this will make the images that the
brush paints closer together.

We haven't added the swirl yet, but let's take a look at what the brush does at the moment.
Click down with the brush on the left of the image and drag to the right


You can also try painting from top to bottom, or bottom to top.


When you have finished experimenting, delete the layer and add a new one. You can delete
the layer and add a new one at any time during the next few steps, or hide the current
layer and add a new one. At the moment we are only testing the settings on the brush.

Step 4.
Now we will give the brush a swirl.
If the Brush Variance Palette isn't already open, click the F11 key on the keyboard,
or click 'Palettes' on the toolbar and choose it from the dropdown list of palettes.


This is a screenshot of the the brush variance palette.


There are a lot of possibilities for experimenting in the Brush Variance Palette
and I'm not going to cover them all here but we will try out a few ideas that we
could use to make our swirly brush. I am going to look at the 'Rotation and 'Size'
sections and the Fade rate. Let's look at Rotation first.

Click on the dropdown window next to 'Rotation'. I'm using a regular mouse,
not a tablet, so I am going to ignore the options marked with *

The 'Normal' option doesn't rotate the brush at all. If you paint across the image
and then downwards. Whichever direction you paint in the brush stays the same way up
(as in my screenshots in Step 3.
Try changing the Rotation to 'Direction' and then painting across and downwards again
and you will see that the brush now turns to face in the direction that you are painting.


Interesting, but not the swirly effect we are looking for, so let's try
changing the Rotation to 'Repeating Fade in'. Drag the brush across your image.


That's more like it :) The brush tip is rotated in a repeating pattern.
Drag the brush in the opposite direction and see what happens.
It looks like the same pattern, but upside down.


You can also get some interesting variations by changing the Fade rate
in the section near the bottom of the Brush Variance Palette.

The Default value is 100. To slow down the rate, increase the number and to speed
it up, decrease the number. Try raising, or lowering the number and see what happens.

In this example I changed the Fade rate to 300


and in the following example I lowered it to 10, so as you can see,
changing the Fade rate can make dramatic changes to the brushstrokes.


Click the 'Reset Brush Variance Palette' button at the bottom right corner of
the palette to go back to the default settings. Change the Rotation setting to
'Oscillating Fade' and drag the brush across your image.
This also rotates the brush in a repeating pattern, but alternates the direction
of the rotation. Because the rotation goes in both directions the pattern will be
the same whether you paint from right to left, or from left to right, the same
with top to bottom and bottom to top.


Both the 'Repeating Fade In' and the 'Oscillating Fade' options would work well on
our brush, but let's experiment a bit more before deciding what to use For now click
the 'Reset Brush Variance Palette' button again and we will look at the'Size' settings.

Step 5.
On the Brush Variance palette click on the dropdown box next
to 'Size' from the options select 'Repeating Fade In'


The brush size now fades in, in a repeating pattern.
If you want to make the rate of the fade slower or quicker,
you can adjust it by changing the 'Fade Rate' setting.

When we changed the Rotation setting back to 'Normal' we lost
the swirly look of the brush, so let's put the swirl back.

For now put the Fade rate back to 100. Select 'Repeating Fade In'
in both the Size section and the Rotation section.

This is the effect that it produces.


With the Size setting on 'Repeating Fade In' dragging the brush from right
to left doesn't give the same result as it does going from left to right


It also gives different results painting from top to bottom and from bottom to top,
so if you want to use the brush to paint around more than one side of an image, you
will need to paint one side at a time and rotate the image before painting the next side


Here are a few other examples with the Rotation and Size settings used. These all go
from left to right. If you try these settings have a look to see what they look like
if you paint from right to left, top to bottom and bottom to top.


Just a note here before we save the brush variance settings as a preset.
In the Brush settings on the toolbar the I've been using a brush Size of 50.
You can change the size if you want a larger brush, but you will need to lower
the Step setting to get a similar result. Changing the Fade rate on the Brush
Variance palette can also help make adjustment to the result.

In the following screenshot for the first example I used Brush Size 50 and Step 16
on the toolbar settings. 'Repeating fade in' for both the Size and Rotation settings
on the Brush Variance Palette and the Fade rate setting was 100
For the second example I changed the Brush Size to 100 and Step to 8. On the Brush
Variance palette the only setting I changed was the Fade rate, which I made 150
This gave a similar result in a larger size.


Step 6.
These are the brush settings that I decided to save as a preset to use for the next part of
this tutorial. You can save these as presets if you want to, or you can use your own.

On the Tools Options Palette:-
Size=50, Step=16,Density=100,
Rotation=0, Opacity=100,
Blend Mode=Normal

On the Brush Variance Palette:-
Color blend=Normal
Size=Oscillating Fade
Thickness- Not applicable
Rotation=Repeating Fade In
All Jitters=0
Fade Rate=100
Position Jitter=0
Impressions per step=1

Click on the Presets icon on the toolbar


On the dropdown panel click the save preset icon at the top right and
type a name for your preset in the dialogue box that appears.

Your preset will be added to the list, ready for the next time that you want to use it.

Brushes have 2 parts, the 'brush' and the 'brush tip' both of these are saved in the brushes
folder. As we are making a preset to determine the action of the brush (in this case the swirl etc)
the brush now has a third part to it, the 'preset which is saved in the presets folder.
If you want to share your brush preset with others, don't forget to give them the brush tip and
brush, as well as the preset and tell them to put the brush script and brush tip in the brushes
folder and the preset in the presets folder.

Step 7.
We will finish this tutorial by using our brush to add a decoration to a simple frame.

Open the image that you wish to frame, duplicate it (shift+D) and close the original.
The image that I used was larger that I wanted so I resized it to a width of 850 pixels.

Go to Selections ... Select All ... then Image...Add Borders...
Add a symetric border of 5 pixels (any colour).
Selections ... Invert ...

Step 8.
Effects...Texture Effects...Sculpture...
These are the settings that I used, but you can choose one of the presets from the
dropdown list at the top of the dialogue box (or a setting of your own) if you prefer.
I have included the pattern 4365769 in the materials zip file.

pattern=4365769,size=100, smoothness=10, depth=20, ambience=50, shininess=100, colour=#C99D42, angle=325, intensity=33, elevation=40

Because my picture is very dark I didn't add a cutout, but depending on how dark your
image is, you may want to add one.
If so, go to Selections...Invert...
Effects...3D Effects...Cutout...
(these settings are just a suggestion, you can apply your own instead if you wish).
Horizontal=0, Vertical=0, Opacity=100,
Blur=25 Colour=black.

Select None

Go to Image...Add Borders... Add a symetric border of 50 in black

Go to Selections ... Select All ... then Image...Add Borders...
Add a symetric border of 5 (any colour). then Selections ... Invert ...
Effects...Texture Effects...Sculpture
and apply the same sculpture preset as before.

Select None
Now we have a very simple frame, which we will decorate with our new brush.

Step 9.
Add a new raster layer

Use the Eye Dropper Tool to select the colour from your image to make the foreground
of your palette the colour you want to paint with the swirly brush. Alternatively you
could use a contrasting colour. I used the colour of mynarrow sculptured borders (#f19620)

Activate the Paint Brush and if your swirly brush preset isn't already
selected, click on the presets icon and select it from the list.

Add a New Raster Layer to your image.
You can paint all the way around the picture, or just in certain areas, but as I
mentioned when we were experimenting in step 5, some of the brush settings give a
different result depending on which direction you drag the brush, so if you want to
paint all the way around the frame with the brushstrokes looking the same on each side
you may need to paint one of the four sides, then rotate the image by 90 degrees
before painting the next side. Try the brush in each direction to see which you like best.

For the decoration on my main image I painted 2 sides along the inner sculptured frame
# Click with the brush once at point 1 (see the screenshot below), then holding down the shift
key click at point 2 and then point 3.


This is the result


I duplicated the layer to make my brushsrokes look thicker

Here is another example


Do some experimenting and see what you can come up with.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial.
To see my other tutorials click Here

If you wish to contact me you can find an email address to use included on my Site Map