How to Artistically Use Photoshop Brushes

Using Photoshop brushes can be an art form in and of itself, and the ways that you can use brushes is really only limited by your own imagination. Below you will find techniques for using the brushes that are standard with all Photoshop releases and find out how you can load and create new brushes to create specific techniques. With a little patience and attention to detail, you will be well on your way to creating interesting, artistic creations with Photoshop brushes.

Step 1: Learning the Basics

First, you will need to learn the basics of how to use Photoshop brushes effectively in the first place. To do this, open your copy of Photoshop and create a new canvas to experiment with. In your tool box, select the brush icon and scroll down to select a brush shape of your choice. The stock Photoshop brushes are fairly basic, but we will show you how to load custom brushes in later steps. Set your foreground color to black and first simply stamp the brush on the canvas to see what this looks like.

Change the opacity and size of the brush to see how this affects how the brush appears on the canvas. Adjusting other variables such as color and flow will give you an even better idea of how to use brushes.

Step 2: Downloading and Installing New Brushes

As stated above, the brushes that come standard with Photoshop tend to be fairly boring and basic. To compensate for this, you will probably want to load a handful of different artistic brushes that you can find online in order to truly express yourself artistically. To do this, visit any of the thousands of websites online where you can download free Photoshop brushes. Simply run a google search for "free photoshop brushes" and you will find more than enough.

You will be able to find many different artistic creations, from graffiti and grunge brushes to realistic blood splatter brushes to snowflake brushes. Once you have found a brush that you like, download it and save it to your hard drive. Once you have done this, find the file on your hard drive that ends in a .abr file extension and double click on it. This should automatically load these brushes in Photoshop for you to experiment with. Click on "Window > Brushes" to scroll through the new brushes you have added.

Step 3: Creating Your Own Brushes

The final artistic step you can take to experiment with Photoshop brushes is to create your own brush. To do this, begin with a fresh canvas with transparent background. Use the brushes that you already have at your disposal to create an image. Be creative, as this brush can be anything you would like it to be. Once you have created a shape that you like, select the entire layer by pressing Ctrl+A on your keyboard. Then, go to "Edit > Define Brush Preset." Once you name your brush, you should be able to use it artistically just as you would any other brush.

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