26 Feb Photoshop History Brush tutorial
Photoshop History Brush Tutorial
Have you ever try Photoshop History Brush? You probably gave up because it is not a very intuitive tool…
… but don’t panic! The Professor will show you how powerful this tool is.
In this Photoshop history brush tutorial I will explain you in detail what the history brush is, how it works and what applications it can have.
What is the Photoshop History Brush?
The History Brush is a Photoshop tool used to “travel through time” to any event reflected on the History palette, we can revert a part of the canvas to any previous state in the history. I know it is hard to understand but as we go ahead we will see a few examples that you will be able to perfectly understand.
How does the History Brush work?
Before understanding what the History Brush is, we must to understand the concept of History: every action we take in Photoshop is registered in the History panel as an event, being the newest ones at the bottom. We can freely go back and forth in history undoing and redoing actions, which is very useful to fix mistakes.
At the left of each history event there is an empty checkbox. If you look closely you will notice the first of those checkboxes (by default the initial snapshot) has the icon of a brush. This is the source of the History Brush and you can change it to any other event in the history.
If we mark an event as source and we make further changes to the canvas, with the History Brush we can undo specific areas back to its source state. It is like a selective undo, you undo only the area you have painted with the History Brush.
How can I use the History Brush?
The History Brush is a very powerful tool, you can give it unlimited uses; I will give you a few examples.
1.- History Brush for Photo editing.
We have a full color picture of a person in a detailed background and we want to desaturate only the background. We can desaturate the whole image and then paint with the History Brush over the person to get him back to the full color state.
The History brush work in both direction of the history. If we mark as History Brush Source the event “Desaturate”, we go back to the initial full color snapshot and paint with the History Brush, we can desaturate any part of the full color image.
It is a very simple example but it works with eventually any modification you made. If you decrease the History Brush opacity, the undo will be partial… which give you lot of power.
2.- History Brush for Drawing
I draw a character and create snapshots with a few alternative versions. I like the hair on the first version, the ears of the second and the eyes of the third version. With the History Brush I could combine all the versions quickly and easily (although with some limitations that we will see later on).
Just take snapshots of every version to be used as Source for the History Brush and paint the parts you like from each version. Beware, as we will see later, the history brush works in individual layers not folders so it has some limitations.
3.- History Brush as Selective Eraser
With the History Brush we can revert parts of the canvas while we block others.
Now I believe you have an idea of how powerful this tool is 🙂
Why is my History Brush not working?
This is one of the most frequent questions; the History Brush is a powerful tool that has its own rules:
- It works on individual layers. If you want to make changes to several layers, either you do it one by one or you have to flatten the layers.
- It works on existing layers on both sides of history (in the source and the current event). If we flatten a layer or erase it then the History Brush will not work.
- The History panel stores a limited number of events. You may want to use as source and even that is too old and disappeared from your History. You can increment the number of events stored in your History from Photoshop’s preferences (Edit > Preferences > Performance), although it will use more computer resources. Snapshots never disappear, so creating one every once in a while is a good idea.
What is the Artistic History Brush?
It is a less useful variant of the History Brush. Same concept with “artistic” results. It is useful in very particular cases in which we need some kind of texture, for example to paint clouds or give a painting finish to a photograph, or specific areas of a photograph.
I can’t figure any effective use, it just works fine if you need certain effects.
Let’s see if you got it !!!
After reading this Photoshop History Brush tutorial and seeing the video you should figure how powerful this tool is. With some practice I’m sure you can even find it more uses.
Remember spreading the post if you found it useful.
See you soon!!