Curriculum Guide Index

SLP Curriculum Guide #28: Paint and Air Brushes -Brush Variance Palette

In this series of Guides we will explore the Paint Brush and the Air Brush. We will also briefly explore the Brush Variance Palette in which one has the opportunity of creating some very interesting brush actions that create different images.

Brush Variance Palette

Starting with PSP version 8, the Brush Variance Palette is a very creative and innovative palette. To master this palette will take a lot of patience and practice because of the various options one has available to create some fantastic and unique images. For an introduction to using this palette (will work with V8 forward) check out this tutorial:

This guide will provide some information and recommendations for learning to use this truly neat and underused palette for PSP. I encourage all to take the time necessary to explore how this Palette functions and how its various options allow for innovative results.

In brief, the Brush Variance Palette, which only works with either the Paint Brush or the Air Brush, allows the brush stroke to produce different action oriented strokes, dependent upon how various options are set. One word of caution though is that if you get unexpected results when just using the Paint or Air Brush to paint normally is to check this Brush Variance Palette which you may have to reset to its Default values in which all values are set to zero (0) except the Fade rate which is set to 100.

Hints and Tips

  • Each of the options, particularly the Fade Rate and Position Jitter and Impressions per step, have different effects or results when painting (clicking the mouse). Thus, when first learning to use this palette, use the Presets one by one and examine the options values. In this fashion one will begin to get an idea of how the settings work. Start off with a canvas of about 600 x 600 with a white background. Also work on a separate layer so you can change the background color to see what other effects in the result can be achieved.
  • Foreground and Background colors at times do play a role in the outcome of an effect as determined by the options. Thus, in addition to exploring the presets, also explore changing the foreground and background colors. Note that not all presets (which options get set) will require both a foreground or background color, though most do).
  • If one is using a tablet or pressure pad, there are settings which can effect the result as well dependent upon how the pen is used. One does not need a table/pad to learn and enjoy this palette as most of the settings for options work with the mouse.
  • When setting Jitter(%) after setting an Option Setting (value) start with low values for the Jitter. When drawing (dragging) the time taken to complete the action increases with higher numbers of Jitter. Very large values can make it appear the screen has locked up.
  • Initially when learning the effect of options, leave the Option Setting set to normal and just vary the Jitter(%) at 100%.
  • At times, note the difference in the outcome when you drag in different directions.
  • At times, note the differences in the outcome when you left click and then right click.
  • In addition to working with the Brush Variance options, also explore the Tool Tools Palette options particularly Step and Opacity.
  • Using larger values for Impressions per step will alter the fullness of the outcome.
  • Using different shapes for the brush tip will also have interesting outcomes.
  • In addition to using various brush tips, using the circle or square preset shapes and varying the thickness also produces similar and other interesting brush tips that create unique results.
  • Notice the difference in outcome between just clicking the mouse and dragging it.


  1. Explore using the Brush Variance Palette to learn how various options work.
  2. Create your own brushes.

An Example (Click on Thumbnail for full size)


Various Examples

The various examples are some of the brushes
I created using the Brush Variance Palette. I
only used a light green for the foreground and
dark green for the background in all examples
presented. One could use other colors for different

The picture example in lower left is using
various of the brushes to create a flower
bush in lawn.


  1. When completing a tutorial or series of tutorials, and having placed them upon your web page, post in the SLP Forum your completed work using this layout:
    • a. Name or Screen Name.
    • b. Web Site URL.
    • c. Version of PSP using.
    • d. List of Tutorials completed.
  2. From exploration of using any of the Brush Variance Palette post some of your results and or comments in response to the exercises.
    • a. Indicate what you did so others can duplicate.
    • b. Indicate what option values.
    • c. Add comments on your results and findings of interest.
    • d. Share your questions and comments in the SLP Forum and your graphic results in the member Gallery SLP Album as well as in the Forum.


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