Home > Adobe, CS5, Digital Painting, Photoshop > Adobe Photoshop Mixer Brush: Reservoir Well & Pickup Well Explained

Adobe Photoshop Mixer Brush: Reservoir Well & Pickup Well Explained

Bad Photoshop! Bad documentation! This is what Photoshop Help had to say about the Mixer Brush:

The Mixer Brush has two paint wells, a reservoir and a pickup. The reservoir stores the final color deposited onto the canvas and has more paint capacity. The pickup well receives paint only from the canvas; its contents are continuously mixed with canvas colors.

What does it mean? From the dozen or so sites I looked up, nobody seems to know (or care to explain) That’s not good! Here’s what I finally figured out what it means:

  • The Mixer Brush Load Swatch actually contains two parts. A Reservoir Well, and a Pickup Well.
  • The Reservoir Well is the color/sample you define when you ‘load’ the brush”. When you load a brush, you are defining the Reservoir Well.
  • The Pickup Well picks up color from the canvas when you are painting. You don’t get to define this.
  • The Pickup Well is displayed inside the Load Swatch as the shape of your brush tip, in the color that it has sampled.
  • Auto Clean has to be off for the Pickup Well to be displayed. It won’t show up if Photoshop is cleaning it off after every stroke
  • When Auto Clean and Auto Load are both enabled. Photoshop will clean off the picked up paint, and fill the load the Reservoir Well with a clean brush (as last defined, w/o canvas paint)
  • Both wells together, define the paint that’s on your brush when you paint.
  • The picture would make much more sense. Here it is…

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