If you haven’t used Photoshop brushes before, it can be a little intimidating. But once you start experimenting with brushes, you’ll never look back.
Here’s a primer on how to use and install Photoshop brushes, plus ten free Photoshop brushes to kick-start your collection.
The best part? You’ll be completely clued up in just three minutes!
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How to Install Photoshop Brushes?
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What is a Photoshop Brush?
An Adobe Photoshop brush is preset that controls the stroke and shape of lines when using the brush tool. The brush tool is Photoshop’s “painting” tool and is designed to replicate the feel of ink on canvas.
Brushes can be used for a number of things including adding a custom, hand-drawn design to an image, create digital art or painting, the creation of palettes or other art elements, custom designs for branding or graphics or almost any other imaginable application.
A brush allows you to create an element with ease, include certain shapes or types of lines. Adobe comes with a handful of preset brushes – general styles (round), dry media, wet media and special effects – but you can also find a variety of other brush styles available for download.
Brushes are used to add paint (grass, snow, clouds, flowers, etc.) to photos in a variety of ways, though creating lines and repeating figures isn’t the only thing they’re great for. The brushes can be used to brighten an image, create texture, or digital painting.
Brushes allow you to add incredible depth and smoothness to your photos, but all of this is in vain if you don’t know how to install them.
Photoshop brushes are used via the brush tool in Photoshop, and it enables users to draw on a document to add style to an image. Similar to real-life painting, users can stroke brushes on a Photoshop document with their cursor to create lines and shapes.
Users can set the size, shape, and color of their brushes to their preference. Best of all, users can install more unique brushes to use, rather than settle for the preset brushes already included in Photoshop.
Here’s how to install Photoshop Brushes:
Step. 1. Search for the best free of premium Photoshop brushes you can find.
If you’re not sure where to look trying searching for “Free Photoshop Brushes” or “Best Photoshop Brushes”. You’re sure to find tons of options.
Step 2. Download the Photoshop Brush ZIP file to your hard drive.
Open the ZIP file by double-clicking on it. Just about any modern operating system will have software built-in to open ZIP files. If you can’t open your Photoshop Brush ZIP file try searching online for “ZIP file extractor”.
Step 3. Search for a Photoshop file that ends in .abr.
Photoshop brushes always come with the ending .abr. So they’re easy to spot.
Step 4. In Photoshop click on the Brush Tool.
In the upper left corner of your Photoshop window, you’ll see brush settings. Click to open the Brush Preset Picker. Then click on the widget in the upper right-hand corner of the window.
Step 5. In the Photoshop Brush, dropdown menu selects “Load Brushes…”
Now navigate to the .abr file that you unzipped in Step 2. Select the .abr file and click “Open”.
That’s it! Your Photoshop brushes are now installed. When your Brush Tool is selected you’ll be able to see your new brushes in the Brush Presets Picker in the upper left-hand corner of the Photoshop window or in the Brush Preset window.
Key Brush Terms:
There are plenty of options when it comes to brushes. Most users are most familiar and comfortable with changing the diameter of the brush (larger values result in a larger brush stroke). But here are a few other key terms when it comes to using Photoshop brushes:
Hardness (for round and square brushes): Changes amount of anti-aliasing (fuzziness at edges); 100 percent is the hardest.
Size: How thick/thin or large/small the brush stroke is.
Use sample size: Resets brush to original settings.
Flip: Reverses x- or y-axis of brush shape.
Spacing: Dictates amount of space between marks in a stroke, such as how far apart dots appear in a dotted stroke.
Bristles: Strokes that create realistic strokes, such as grass.
Erodible tips: Strokes that act like tactile drawing tools such as pencils or crayons that change the more they are used.
Airbrush tips: Painting style that looks like using a can of spray paint. Change the look by changing pen pressure.
Brush pose: Get stylus like effects using the brush tool.
Stroke smoothing: Makes strokes look more balanced and intentional without blips and rough edges. Values range from 0-100 (100 is the smoothest).
Scattering: Adds an element of randomness by changing the number and placement of strokes in a brush.