Creating custom brushes
IcoFX gives you the possibility to create custom brushes. In this tutorial we will create a custom brush that will paint stars.
Create the mask image for the brush
IcoFX uses an image as mask for the brush. The transparency of that image will be used as a mask. The image has to be a 100x100 PNG image. In the first step we create the mask image that will be used for the brush.
1. Create a new 100x100 image in IcoFX using the "File/New Image..." menu item.
New Image Dialog
On the New Image dialog select the custom size and enter 100 in the Width and Height edit boxes. The background color has to be "Transparent". Pressing OK will create a new empty 100x100 image in IcoFX.
2. We need to create the star image that will be used as a mask. To draw the star we will use the Text tool and draw a star using the Wingdings font.
First we select the star from the Character Map Windows application. This application is not part of IcoFX. It comes installed with the Windows operating system. It is usually located under "Start Menu/All Programs/Accessories/System Tools/Character Map"
The Character Map Application
On this dialog we can choose a character from a font. We select the Wingdings font and double click the star symbol. Pressing the Select and then the Copy button we have copied the star symbol to the clipboard.
3. We paste the star symbol to the Font tool properties window (it will not be displayed as a star anymore).
The Text Tool Properties
We select the font Wingdings and a font size of 140. We are now ready to draw the star on the canvas.
4. Select the color Black for a better visibility. Draw the star on the canvas: Click on the canvas to draw a preview of the star. You can drag the star using the left mouse button until it is fully visible on the screen. When you are done press the Apply button on the Tool properties panel. This will draw the star on the canvas. The end result will look something like this:
5. Save the image using the "File/Save" menu item as a PNG image. Select "Portable Network Graphic" in the "Save as type" combo box. You have successfully created the mask image.↑ Top of PageContent
Create the new brush
6. Create a new brush by pressing the "New Brush..." toolbar button in the Brushes panel. This will open the Brush Editor dialog.
The Brush Editor Dialog
On this dialog we set the properties of the brush:
- We enter "Stars" as the name of the brush. This name will be displayed in the Brushes panel.
- Load the mask image, that we created in the previous steps, in the Mask box. This defines the shape of the brush. We can see the preview of the brush on the bottom part of the dialog.
- Set the default size of the brush to 50. This size will be used when you select the brush from the Brushes panel.
- Set the spacing of the brush to 100% so that we will have some distance between the starts.
7. Next we set the dynamic properties of the brush. Select the "Shape Dynamics" tab on the Brush Editor dialog.
The Shape Dynamics Tab of the Brush Editor Dialog
We set the size jitter to 50%, meaning that the size of the brush will change randomly by 50% during drawing. This will result in different sized stars. We change the angle jitter to 100% meaning that the star can be displayed at any angle. The stars will be displayed at random angle during drawing.
8. On the next tab we set the color related dynamic properties of the brush. Select the "Color Dynamics" tab on the Brush Editor dialog.
The Color Dynamics Tab of the Brush Editor Dialog
We set the hue jitter to 2% to allow a slight variation in the colors of the stars. We set the saturation, brightness and opacity jitter to 20% to allow some variation in the saturation, brightness and opacity of the stars during drawing.
9. On the last tab we set the scattering properties of the brush. Select the "Scattering" tab on the Brush Editor dialog.
The Scattering Tab of the Brush Editor Dialog
We set the x and y position jitter to 50 pixels. This means that the stars will be drawn 50 pixels away from the mouse position. Using these parameters we can scatter the stars as we draw. The stars will be drawn at random distance from the mouse pointer, but not more than 50 pixels.
10. We finished the brush, press the OK button on the Brush editor to close the dialog. Our new brush is now displayed in the Brushes panel.↑ Top of PageContent
Test the new brush
11. Now all is left is to try out our new brush. Select the "Stars" brush in the Brushes panel. Select the Brush drawing tool on the Tools panel. Set the size of the brush and select a color. Start drawing on your canvas.
The Stars Brush