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Step 3: Building a Custom Pastel Variant That Incorporates Jitter Smoothing

Now that you've sketched in the light areas of your composition, you're ready to layer color in the underpainting. For this step, we'll use a customized version of the Round X-Soft Pastel. The new brush will incorporate Jitter and Jitter Smoothing. Jitter adds randomness to your brushstrokes. When this brush is used alone, the results can look mechanical. The addition of Smoothing allows you to paint more organic-looking brushstrokes, as shown in Figure 7. The top stroke was drawn with Opacity Jitter enabled, and the bottom stroke was drawn with Opacity Jitter enabled and Smoothing increased to 100%.

Figure 7

Figure 7 Two examples of the pastel with Opacity Jitter enabled. The top stroke was drawn with Opacity Jitter; you can easily see the variation. The bottom stroke has Smoothness applied for a more natural look.

Create a mid-sized, soft Pastel variant: First choose the Round X-Soft Pastel variant of Pastels. Open the Opacity panel by choosing Window > Brush Control Panels > Opacity. Using the Opacity slider, reduce the Opacity to 65%. A lower opacity will allow you to build up color slowly and with more sensitivity.

Next, add Opacity Jitter. Move the Opacity Jitter slider to 50%, and then move the Smoothing slider to 100%, as shown in Figure 8. To save this custom brush as a variant, choose Variant > Save Variant from the Brushes menu at the top of your screen. In the Save Variant dialog box, name your variant and click OK. I named mine X-Soft Pastel Jitter Smooth. The new name will appear in the Brush Library under the Pastels category.

Figure 8

Figure 8 Opacity settings for the custom X-Soft Pastel Jitter brush.

To restore the settings of the original default Round X-Soft Pastel, open the Brushes menu and choose Restore Variant. Now choose your custom brush from the Pastels category.

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