Opacity Jitter – Overlapping Brushstrokes

Posted on 2012/05/30 at 09:02 by daarken 21 Comments

A lot of people have brought up the fact that when you are using opacity jitter and you put down two brushstrokes, there is an area of overlapping values. People have been asking how to avoid this or how to “fix” it. In this video Daarken talks about how overlapping brushstrokes is just a part of painting.

21 Comments on "Opacity Jitter – Overlapping Brushstrokes"

  1. Matt · 2012/05/30 at 21:35 · Reply

    nice vid Daarken
    I use the opacity shift to my advantage, best way to do up values and blend colors.
    Its unavoidable guys

  2. Salv Divin · 2012/05/31 at 17:23 · Reply

    Thanks for lessons! I am engaged in self-education both your lessons and tips very much help me!
    Always I watch your lessons! If not difficult tell a little about the theory of color and how to paint it is black white drawing in color!
    yours faithfully Salv Divin!

  3. evaxe · 2012/06/01 at 13:05 · Reply

    doesn’t the overlap happen that severely when wet edges are checked?

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/06/01 at 13:24 · Reply

      I don’t have wet edges checked.

  4. Dave · 2012/06/07 at 20:17 · Reply

    Hey! i found other way to deal with this feature..
    if you set the variation of your brush just by the flow, you equally can paint, but without this transparency thing..

    in other words, not allow the opacity variation, just the flow :P

    im not saying is the final soution at all.. sometimes I paint with opacity, sometimes with flow
    depends on my mood i guess

  5. debuhista · 2012/06/20 at 17:40 · Reply

    good day master daarken..
    thank you very much for all of your tutorials. It really helps a lot! I would like to ask how much percentage of opacity and flow do you use in all of your paintings. some artists they vary the use of both. what do you think is the best? Because I’m having that kind of problem right now.
    thanks you very much for your time.. “,

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/06/20 at 18:03 · Reply

      You can see in my videos that my flow and opacity are both set to 100%. I just have opacity jitter set to pen pressure under the brush controls. There is no right or wrong way or a better or worse way when it comes to brush settings. It is all up to personal preference. I prefer to have opacity jitter turned on. Some people, like Feng Zhu, don’t like having opacity jitter turned on.

      • richard · 2014/02/15 at 15:53 · Reply

        how does Feng Zhu blend colors without opacity jitter?

        • daarken
          daarken · 2014/02/15 at 17:21 · Reply

          He blends by selecting the value he wants.

  6. Josh · 2012/07/06 at 22:53 · Reply

    I think people want it to behave like real opaque paint would. Example. Put down a solid brush stroke of an opaque colour in gouache then drag a light stroke through it. It will be a faded stroke and when it hits the previous opaque stroke it won’t change it at all then continue out the other side faded still. I think corel painter is the choice for people who have trouble with this in photoshop. For me it was just getting used to the way photoshop works and now I love it

  7. Marisa · 2012/07/20 at 08:57 · Reply

    For me, this problem is only really impossible to overcome when I am using the Hard Round brush – which everyone seems to swear by. In this video, you’re using custom brushes that look really good for blendy and texturey effects.

    I’m currently suffering from a lot of brush troubles. With custom brushes like those that you use in this video, I find I’ve been able to paint ok, but I’m looking for something creates a cleaner look. I’m trying to find a sort of beginner-friendly all-purpose brush that I can use to practice and improve my work. Everywhere is recommending the Hard Round brush, but I just can’t seem to blend it! Whenever I don’t have a ridiculously hard edge I want to create, I end up resorting to the Soft Round brush, which just blurs all my work into a smooth gradient :(. I can’t the only one stuck like this?

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/07/20 at 11:36 · Reply

      I would suggest just using the round brush with opacity jitter set to pen pressure.

  8. Abel Oroz · 2012/08/15 at 03:27 · Reply


    I’m guessing that the problem is that what some beginners tend to do is painting in a 50% opacity or so. This creates an endless overlapping of strokes, since you need dozens of them to get anywhere close to them blending.

    Opacity/flow variation on pen pressure is the solution to that, so you can work with the values turned to 100% and still be able to modulate them :)

  9. Bill · 2012/10/22 at 21:03 · Reply

    The problem is, it’s not supposed to act that way. It should pretty much blend itself. Its a wacom driver issue or something is bugged with the opacity control in photoshop. Is this the only tablet you’ve owned? I had an intuos3 before and it never acted this way.

    You should not have to be so dainty with every little brush stroke. If you did a speed painting the way you have it, it would come out all mushy because you wouldn’t have time to color pick every single line.

    This is how painting in photoshop should look. Nice big globs of paint that blend in seconds. He hardly uses the color picker at all. This is how my intuos3 used to work.


    So when people complain, try not to dismiss it as they’re lazy.

    • daarken
      daarken · 2012/10/22 at 23:45 · Reply

      First of all let me say, I have been using tablets for probably 10-12 years now. I have used 5 different Intuos 3 tablets, an Intuos 2 tablet, 2 different Intuos 4 tablets, a Bamboo tablet, a Wacom Graphire tablet, an Asus EP121, and a Fujitsu ST5112. All of them act in the same way. So you are saying I have used 12 different tablets and all of them happen to be faulty? If you say it is a driver or photoshop problem, I have used probably more than 10 different copies of Photoshop throughout my career and probably at least that many different computers, if not more.

      I would also like to add that I watched the video you linked and their brushes act exactly like they do in my video, so I’m not sure what you are talking about. As for him not using the color picker, if you watch the video closely he actually uses the color picker all the time. Every few seconds he uses it. Watch the swatches and you will see them change every few seconds. It is more difficult to see the eye dropper because of how much the video is sped up, but you can see it. Also, he blends in seconds like you say because it is sped up, not only that, but everyone has their own painting speed and technique. Just because one person might blend something in 2 seconds doesn’t mean everyone will.

      You say my speed paintings would be mushy if I used my technique, but I beg to differ. Many of my paintings were done in a couple of hours or less.

  10. LeadAspirin · 2013/03/26 at 17:09 · Reply

    It’s all personal preference really. I tend to mix a lot of colors traditionally and use the color picker all the time. I also most of the time have jitter opacity on with pen pressure, but sometimes not, it all depends on my painting. I think people want the tool to do all the work for them, not understanding it’s just a tool, it wont make you a better artist or make your style better. Fundamentals to the core, no cheating lol. Great vid!

  11. richard · 2014/02/15 at 18:34 · Reply

    hi Daarken,
    in Painter, there is this tool called “just add water”, and it lets me blend really quickly, in photoshop, if i set the smudge tool to “scatter” it does the same thing. Is it cheating to use this technique? will the outcome of the picture be inferior?

    • daarken
      daarken · 2014/02/15 at 18:42 · Reply

      There aren’t any rules and people usually don’t even care how you created a painting, they are only concerned with the final product. If you find something that works for you, then do it.

  12. outlander
    outlander · 2015/06/01 at 15:06 · Reply

    hi Daarken! (with all my respect to you)

    Oh that`s my problem (and its a big shame for me). Nobody explain HOW other artists get presure in pic or how they use their skill in pressure. They always have good tutorials,but not explain about that problem strokes vs penpressure.
    Thank you for that!

  13. Ivana Queiroz de Assis · 2017/01/30 at 17:26 · Reply

    Hi, I have a problem with my Wacom Intuos since i’m trying everything to fix up. And i look many sites and don’t find any answer. My problem is with my brushes, they are overlapping. I don’t know if there is a problem with opacity/flow, pen pressure off, brush overlaps. In this forum, i found out someone who have the same problem than I: https://forums.adobe.com/thread/2208789

    I hope you can help me. Thank you so much and sorry for my english :)

    • daarken
      daarken · 2017/03/14 at 19:07 · Reply

      If you have opacity jitter set to pen pressure, then you are going to get overlapping shapes because you are not painting with 100% opacity. That is just how it works. If your paint is transparent, then of course you will see darker areas when you overlap your brushstrokes.

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