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Video Training Review: Fay’s Master Brush Collection With Fay Sirkis from NAPP

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Fay’s Master Brush Collection is the latest in the video training series from Fay Sirkis. This series is for those who want to take their digital painting techniques to the next level. Other of the instructor’s DVD’s include Wild About Animals, Paint Like A Master, and Weddings Portraits and Faces.

Fay’s Master Brush Collection continues your education in using Painter 11 and Adobe Photoshop CS5 for creating digital art work. This video focuses on the use of the artist’s signature brushes. Everything from installing your brushes, to setting up your Wacom Tablet for your best painting experience, and all the way through using the brushes to transform your photographs into painting masterpieces.

Fay’s Master Brush Collection is contained on one DVD that run 235 minutes (almost 4 hours) and can only be used on a computer system. The author goes over the material in 24 lessons.

Fay's Master Brush Collection

Lesson 1, “Intuos 4 Tablet Introduction,” begins with an introduction to the Wacom Intuos 4 tablet – something that is indispensible when working in the digital paint world and allows you to paint much like you would if you were using a brush. Lesson 2, “Setting up Express Keys,” will show you how to use the Express Keys on your tablet to quickly send keystrokes to your computer to open and run programs, the pen scroll, as well as how she uses it for modifiers to the programs.

Lesson 3, “Setting Up the Touch Ring,” looks at the four different stations of the Touch Ring on your tablet. Here you will see how the touch ring works, as well as how to set it up for zooming, changing brush size, moving through layers, and rotating the canvas. Lesson 4, “Setting Up Your Intuos 3 Tablet,” now shows you how you should set up the previous tablet model – the Intuos 3 if that is the one you have.

Lesson 5, “The Painting Interface,” will give you a foundation into the interface when painting in Photoshop CS5. In this chapter you will learn all about the brush interface, how to work with standard brushes as well as working with the bristle brushes including modifying and saving them for future use. Lesson 6, “The Mixer Brush,” examines how this brush works to take colors from other layers and mixes them on a new layer. The instructor takes you through exactly how the Mixer Brush works.

Lesson 7, “The Brush Presets,” now takes you through the difference between preset brushes and standard brushes and how you can work with them. You will also see how to load the artist’s own custom set of brushes. Lesson 8, “Tool Presets,” now does the same for Tool Presets. Here you will see how to load custom presets as well as how they work.

Lesson 9, “Installing Presets,” will show you where to put your presets so that they will always be available on your preset panel. The instructor gives directions for both Mac and Windows. Lesson 10, “Custom Palettes,” examines how best to create your own custom palettes to contain just the brushes that you will be using so as to reduce clutter and increase workflow.

Lesson 11, “Acrylics,” begins by setting up a photograph that the instructor will use to demonstrate the use of brushes for acrylic painting. She steps through a number of brushes for different types of surfaces like rocks, logs, leaves, flowers, straw, and even how to make a bland door more exiting.

Fay's Master Brush Collection

Lesson 12, “Oils,” now turns to the use of oils to paint a still-life scene. This scene contains an apple, a bottle of wine, a wine glass filled, grapes and a smoker’s pipe. This image is used in the next several videos. This video describes the proper way to paint oil and introduces six brushes to use. Lesson 13, “Oil Details,” examines how to add detail to your oil painting through the use of outline and detailing brushes.

Lesson 14, “Oil to Acrylic,” finishes up the still life image that has been the topic of the prior two videos and now shows how to work with the grapes. Then she shows you how to turn this image into an acrylic styled painting right from the oil based one.

Lesson 15, “Watercolor,” begins with the still-life and puts a white border around the oil/acrylic painting. She then takes you through the steps it takes to convert this into a watercolor. Lesson 16, “Watercolor Backgrounds,” finishes this section by showing how to complete the painting by working on the background. She also shows other images and how she completed them as well as other tips and tricks.

Lesson 17, “Introduction to Corel Painter,” now looks at using Corel Painter as your main painting software program. The instructor begins by introducing you to the Painter interface and how to get around in it. Lesson 18, “Installing Corel Painter Brushes,” now looks how to install her brushes into the correct place. Her brushes will work with Painter X, Painter 11, and future versions.

Lesson 19, “Organizing Your Brushes,” will make things easier to get to and for you to get to them. You will see how to set up and build up custom palettes as well as setting up and using workspaces. Lesson 20, “Paint Like Picasso,” is the first of four lessons that focus on the instructors new contemporary brushes. For this lesson she takes the Picasso brushes and shows you how to use them on a painting of display of beer bottles.

Lesson 21, “Paint Like Matisse,” now takes on the style of Matisse and his saturated colors that are outlined in black. First she sets up with a photo and increases the saturation. Then she shows the steps to convert a still life of some pots on a table. Lesson 22, “Paint Like Renoir,” takes on one of the more famous impressionists and his use of broken color. Through the use of some of these brushes you will see how they mix multi-color to give you this effect.

Lesson 23, “Edward Hopper,” was an American artist who was known for seascapes and urban images, as well as isolated situations. In this lesson she shows how to recreate his style and the use of these brushes. Lesson 24, “Fun with Magic Brushes,” is a set of brushes that have no real category. They have various shapes and looks. There are no rules to the use of these brushes – they are here to add fun to your paintings.

Fay’s Master Brush Collection is another wonderful DVD that works in a very systematic fashion and logical manner. It is filled with a lot of tips and techniques that will totally enhance your ability to use Photoshop CS5 and Painter to create works of digital art. It is clear that the instructor, Fay Sirkis, is very knowledgeable about both painting in Photoshop and Painter.

Fay's Master Brush Collection

The interface for Fay’s Master Brush Collection is very easy to use and get around in. If you miss a point or want to go back and make sure you understand everything, it is very navigation friendly. There are three sizes that you can make the viewing screen and the navigation controls hide themselves with not in use and reappear when you hover over the screen.

I like how the instructor walks you through all of the potential mistakes that you could make. That is she points out situations and alerts you that if behavior ‘X’ is happening, it is because you forgot to set a particular setting and she gives you all of the needed information to adjust the problem. Not only that, but you get a impressive set of custom brushes that can be used for just about any situation.

The retail price of Fay’s Master Brush Collection is $89.99 and you can get it from KelbyTraining. But for NAPP members it is only $69.99. You should also check out the online training available at KelbyTraining as well.

When you consider that you get all of the images to work with and all of the brushes, this makes for a very complete package. If you want to take your digital painting skills to the next level, then I highly recommend Fay’s Master Brush Collection.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.
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