Brushing it off

A useful tool is learning how to manipulate presets – namely, brushes.  Now, we will be learning about how to create your own brushes, as well as downloading and installing brushes from online sources.

Photoshop allows us to keep as many brushes in the Brush palette as you’d like, but the more stuff you pack into the palettes the slower those palettes will load (because every brush takes a little memory) and the harder it’ll be to find the brush you’re looking for. I find that organizing and properly naming my brush sets in an external Brushes folder (maybe as a sub-folder of your My Pictures folder, so they’re easy to find) and then loading only the brushes I need for a specific project makes my life much easier.

Let’s go ahead and find a set of brushes to install. There are a ton of great places to find free Photoshop Brushes on the internet, but probably the most comprehensive and FREE brush site I’ve found is (at this moment the site has 239 Brush sets containing an astounding 4285 Brushes). Also, is popular.

Now that the new brush set has been moved to our Brushes folder and renamed, lets open Photoshop and load it into our Brush Picker!

Although you can load brushes from the Brush Picker itself, let me show you another way. From the Main menu choose Edit>Preset Manager. The Preset Manager allows you to manage all your presets from one place and I’ve found it seems to work a little faster than working directly inside the Brush picker.

Choose Brushes from the drop-down menu at the top.

Add your brushes, and voila! Brushtastic, no?

Now, let’s create YOUR OWN brushes. You can do this by importing your own images, borrowed images or text, or drawing your own designs. It’s a great way to save time for texturing and incorporating your own designs into your work.

1. Start with a blank canvas. I made mine 2″ x 2″ with a resolution of 300 dpi.

2. Create your design – either draw, type or import an image to your canvas and resize to your liking. It should be in BLACK & WHITE ONLY.

3. Select your design with the Rectangular Marquee tool.

4. Once selected, go to EDIT > Select Brush Preset… and you should get a menu like this:

5. Click OK if this is the brush you are selecting. It will automatically save into your brushes file. Load this brush by selecting on the brush options, and then select the “Brush Presets” by clicking on the paintbrush bucket icon on the righthand side of the screen. It will bring up this menu:

6. Play with your brush and determine what all the functions do in the Brush Presets menu. You can define the characteristics of a particular brush and set it with specific behaviors.  Your finished product should look like this:


On a canvas that is 8″ x 10″ at 300 dpi:

  • Find five (individual) brushes online; load them into Photoshop and sample them like example below, citing name and source
  • Create five (individual) brushes yourself; load them into Photoshop, create behaviors, and sample them like the example below; naming them and citing yourself as the author
  • Submit your finished assignment to your instructor

Your assignment should be saved as BRUSHES_SAMPLE_yourname.psd

Due Feb 13, 2012.