Digital art companies – like any other technology or software company – want user loyalty and an inescapable ecosystem in return for their hard work and unceasing development. Quite a few are successful at this perceived walled-garden approach, but none quite reach the fan loyalty and overall industry good-guy standard that Procreate has managed to command. The interesting factor is that Procreate’s developers – Savage Interactive – never even tried to build this fan loyalty. They just created such a genuinely fantastic product, and they understood their user-base so well that they’ve garnered a highly loyal fan-base as a result.
One of the ideologies behind Savage Interactive’s thinking and design process is the vast amount of customization and freedom it provides users. And one of these freedoms is the “Brush Studio.” The Brush Studio is Procreate’s way of granting users complete control over how their brushes function, and affording them the ability to customize and mess around as much as they could want. The Brush Studio is a very vast subject and does not fall under the scope of this article’s subject material. This article will only cover one subsection of the Brush Studio, i.e., the glaze settings.
Procreate’s glaze settings radically change the way you use brushes and can completely alter strokes, thus fundamentally affecting your art. Procreate’s Glaze feature is essentially a way of recreating real-life paint strokes digitally. Glazed brushes only come into effect when your opacity is not 100% since it affects how the multiple strokes interact. It has several options detailing an impressive portfolio of effects that can completely alter the look and feel of not only a brush but your entire art piece. Designed with care and patience and surely a lot of trial-and-error, the glaze effects are enjoyable to experiment with.
Before I can get into the functions of the glazes and how to use them, I need to explain to you how to navigate to the menu with the glaze options. The steps detailed in this article are with the Procreate app in landscape mode. Some UI elements may move around, and instructions might slightly vary if you’re using it in portrait mode.
To Get to the Glaze Options
- Once you have Procreate open, tap on any project file to open it.
- Tap on the brush menu in the top-right, next to the smudge menu.
- Navigate to the brush you want to apply the glaze effect on and tap on it to select it.
- Tap once again on the selected brush to open the Brush Studio.
- There should be about eleven attribute options in the menu to the left; we’re looking for the “Rendering” menu. It should be the fifth one from the top.
- Here, you should be able to see “Light Glaze,” “Uniformed Glaze,” “Intense Glaze,” “Heavy Glaze,” “Uniform Blending,” and “Intense Blending” under the subsection titled “Rendering mode.”
This might look a little complex and confusing, but don’t worry, they’re pretty easy to explain and remember. Starting with Light Glaze, this is what the option should already be set at if you’ve never messed around with these settings before. This is Procreate’s default blending mode, and most people will already be used to this. Next: Uniformed Glaze, which is essentially the same rendering used in Adobe’s ubiquitous Photoshop. “Intense” is just a more exaggerated and stronger touch to the canvas, and “Heavy” is the strongest and heaviest it gets without touching the blending modes.
The last two options on the list are two “Blending” options: “Uniform” and “Intense.” These are mostly for the effect Savage Interactive likes to call “Wet Mix.” Wet Mix is about how the brush strokes interact with each other in a true “wet” paint simulation. These parameters can be adjusted in the section right next to the “Rendering” section. These two blending modes are meant to represent the Wet Mix effect, and Procreate’s website claims that these “exaggerate” the effect. Uniform Blending again takes inspiration from Adobe Photoshop rendering, somewhat similar in principle to Uniformed Glaze, but mixed in with a more destructive and corrosive style of rendering. As for Intense Blending, that’s supposed to be representative of thick brush mixing strokes. It’s the strongest mode that Savage Interactive offers for now.
If you’re going for a cleaner look without accidentally building opacity, stick with the glaze brushes. A glaze rendering option will not build up over itself until you lift your drawing tool and place it back down. However, a blending brush will interact with itself even inside of the same stroke. Both types have their individual uses for different art styles. Cleaner lines and smoother aesthetic? You’re probably better off with one of the glaze options. A more painterly style where you want clear brushstrokes and texture? The blending options might be the right choice in that specific case.
Keep in mind that the brushes will still carry their texture, pressure curve, and styles unless you edit them individually. This means that you can try to mix and match to get something a lot more interesting than the classic expected tones and stylistic choices. You could pick a heavily textured brush under the painting section and use it with the Uniformed Glaze option, and unless you repeatedly lift your drawing tool and place it back down, it should end up looking very different and interesting. As for the other side, you could pick a clean, slick brush like the Studio Pen and use Intense Blending on it to make it stand out and create some very interesting designs and patterns.
Keep in mind that glazes and blends will only come into effect if and when you use the brush itself at low opacity. Using the brush at low opacity and turning down the layer opacity will not get you the desired result; you will need to lower the brush’s opacity from the bottom slider on the left-hand side panel. Apart from that, just experiment, experience, and create! Over time, as you gain more knowledge and understand the medium better, you’ll only get better at utilizing these options to their extents.