Does anyone know how to get the mixer brush tool on Photoshop cs5 to sample gradients and not have the brush apply it as a scale but like the image i attached?

Was trying to recreate a fluid gradient cover art

So I tried following such steps: Create a gradient circle with your desire colors. Choose mixer brush in the brush options. Select hard round brush with hardness of 90% or whatever. Select dry heavy load. Sample gradient circle you initially created.

I first tried creating a gradient circle by applying a gradient overlay from the Layer style menu. When I sampled, it viewed the gradient within a scale. I also had to rasterize the circle before I could sample it.

enter image description here

The second thing I tried was using Rasterize, fill content in layers menu and then using the gradient tool. But then I ran into the issue that It wouldn't sample the colors.

  • Create a sample, sample it and... that's it. Maybe you should share what you're struggling with? Jul 9, 2021 at 21:27
  • @SergeyKritskiy okay, specified where my struggles were.
    – MeiMei
    Jul 10, 2021 at 0:41

2 Answers 2


Two things:

  • You need to sample from real pixels, not from layers with effects OR with Sample All Layers option enabled. For the latter it's important to not have anything else when you sample (like a background — otherwise it'll be sampled)
  • the layer you paint on shouldn't have any layer effects — otherwise the effect will cover your paint.

Example. I have a layer with a gradient effect, I apply it first, then I sample and draw.

enter image description here

  • Ya know, I've never really explored the mixer brush.. thanks for teaching me something new :)
    – Scott
    Jul 10, 2021 at 7:59
  • @Scott it's amazing! I think both Mixer and Smudge tools have sometimes bad reputation because they're often used as tools to 'imitate' traditional media in very wrong ways (that give ugly results) but they totally worth exploring Jul 10, 2021 at 10:07
  • I can see that. I guess it's just been one of those tool that hasn't directly solved an issue for me, so it's languished a bit. I've pulled some great effect since seeing your answer though and will absolutely take a closer look now. I'd bounty this Q and reward you more than the +1, but the Q itself is, well... :)
    – Scott
    Jul 10, 2021 at 18:26
  • @SergeyKritskiy I have 'sample all layers' option enabled and painted on a layer with no effects. I'm a novice. The only way I could think to sample from real pixels and not from layers with effects was turning it into a smart object. But still did not solve it.
    – MeiMei
    Jul 10, 2021 at 18:59
  • @MeiMei It's not any more complicated than what Sergey has described. You're probably missing some simple step. For example, you may need to sample from the layer with the art on it, then change layers, and paint -- Full animation (The part of this animation you can't see is that I choose Merge Down from the Layers Panel menu to "bake in" the gradient overlay so it can be sampled.)
    – Scott
    Jul 10, 2021 at 21:05

I had the same problem too and with a lot of fiddling i finally saw what was wrong. When you go to mixer brush and the color, it gives you Load Brush, Clean Brush and Load Solid Colors Only... you have to uncheck it to get a gradient mixer brush. Cause having it checked would only give you a solid color

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