A scatter brush is a great tool for creating depth in your work, especially when you need a randomized effect. When you throw opacity into the mix, it can really add a sense of receding and coming forward in your work. It’s not difficult to create a Scatter Brush, which I’ll show you in the tutorial below.
This is a simple trick, but it is much easier than placing objects ourselves, and then adjusting size and opacity. The appearance of random is a little difficult for me, simply because I subconsciously try to create things with a certain level of order and organization.
An easy way to achieve a sense of random is to use a brush. Here, I took a simple star that I created and colored yellow.
With it selected, I opened the brushes panel and clicked the flyout menu and chose new brush. Choose Scatter Brush and set all of the settings to random and chose Hue Shift as the colorization method. Then click ok.
Then, simply click and drag in different directions in order to created randomly scattered stars (or the graphic of your choice). This gives the pattern a random feel and really takes out the sense of order. This is especially good for a random background texture, where you don’t want to look of order.
I like Photoshop’s brushes a little better, considering that you have much more controls, and a better way of judging how the brush is going to act ahead of time, because of the preview in the brushes preset panel. This can be applied to many different situations. Think about creating a Bokeh effect and scattering it randomly on the canvas. As you can see from the example above, some stars are more faded than others, making them fade into the background.