Foliage is a snap to reproduce with the custom brush presets. Grass is a perfect example.
I used to create grass with polka-dotted brushes that faded out as I stroked across the canvas. This worked, but it created a translucency to the tips of the grass blades. It also required changing of the fade-out rate often to get the resulting grass texture to look random. The new solutionyou guessed itCustom Brush Presets!
The painting shown in Figure 1 is called "blue door" and has a view of ocean dunes visible through the window.
The close up shown in Figure 2 shows the detail.
The process starts by creating a sketch. In a separate layer, lines are drawn with a small Paintbrush to serve as guides for the shapes of the dunes.
Figure 3 shows the sketch lines for the dunes in the painting.
The grasses that cover the dunes require a brush that will draw the grass in a single stroke.
Step one: I created a custom brush shape by generating a clump of three blades of grass using the Pen tool (Figure 4).
Step two: The paths are filled with black on a separate transparent layer, selected and defined as a brush (Edit>Define Brush).
It is selected as the brush with the Paintbrush tool. This will make it appear in the preview box in the Brushes palette (Figure 5).
Step three: The brush is then given the attributes to make it paint a realistic and believable lawn.
The Shape Dynamics were set as shown in Figure 6. You will notice the Angle Jitter is set to a low percentage. Unlike the previous brush where the leaves went in all directions, blades of grass all need to point up. The low jitter setting will produce a slight variation in angle, while remaining basically vertical.
Scattering is kept low to produce a tight grouping of the grass (Figure 7).
In the Color Dynamics section (Figure 8), the Foreground/Background Jitter is set to 100% to allow the stroke to switch between the two colors as it is applied to the canvas.
Step four: A light shade of a yellow-green is chosen for the Foreground color and a dark green for the Background color.
Step five: By dragging the new brush across the screen back and forth, from top to bottom, I was able to create a lawn that looked believable. Figure 9 shows one of these layers that contained some of the darker shades of grass.
Multiple layers were used with different colors within each to get a controllable variety (Figure 10).
A total of nine layers were used to create the dunes (Figure 11).