Beginners Guide to Photoshop Brushes

There are a lot of custom brushes out there, but why use those when you can customize the ones you have? This tutorial will help create brushes that will be perfect for your projects. We will be taking the basic brushes that came with Photoshop and adjust the settings to get some really interesting results. We can then start customizing our own brushes to get just the effects we want.




Part1: Original Brushes


Step 1


Lets open up a new document, 800×600. Select your brush from the tool bar. Change the size to 21px and a hardness of 0.




Step 2


Push F5 to open up your brush menu and change your settings to something like below. This is all about creating your own custom brushes so play around with the settings until you get something you like.






Step 3


By changing those settings you can get a whole different look for your brush.




Step 4


We can add to this by going into the other dynamics options and play around with the opacity and fill options.




Step 5


We can also play around with colors by going into the color dynamics options. Change your brush from black to another color. Play around with the options until you find something you like.




Step 6


Just some additional steps for brushes is drawing straight lines. You can do this two ways. One, click and hold down shift then drag from left to right, this will give you a straight line. Also you can click on one side of the screen and hold down shift and click on the other side and that will also give you a straight line.




Step 7


Ok, lets take it a step further. Now lets create a brush that follows a path. Click on the ellipse tool and draw a circle.




Step 8


Now go to your paths tab on the same window as your layers and save the path.




Step 9


Create a new layer and click on the brush tool (you might want to change your scatter options a little so the dots aren’t as far apart) . Hide your ellipse layer and go back to the path tab and right click on stroke path. You can also simulate pressure for a subtle different affect.




Part 2: New Brush Shapes


So now that you have the basics of brushes, we can get into creating your own custom brushes.



Step 1


So lets open up a 2000×2000 px document. We are making our document this size so we can get a good-sized brush. Since this isn’t a tutorial about making shapes, I’m just going to grab a shape from our preset Photoshop shapes.




Step 2


Take the shape you chose and size it to fill the space. Since I chose a vector shape, I need to rasterize it.




Step 3


Now go to Edit>Define Brush Preset. Change the name to star brush and press OK. You will see that your new brush is now selected. Now you can use that brush just as you would the others. Pretty simple. You can go in and play with the settings like we did above to achieve different looks.




Part 3: New Brushes from Photos


This is a great way to make some grunge brushes, but you can also get some good cloud brushes, patterns from wallpaper, anything you want.



Step 1

We are going to make a grungy texture, so lets start off by getting an image. I am going to grab the first photo here.




Step 2


We want to go to Image>adjustments>Threshold to get a cleaner image. Adjust your settings like below.




Step 3


When you make a brush, it’s the black parts that show up and the white will be invisible. So because only the black will show up we want to do an inverse (apple + i) to get the drippy parts.




Step 4


Photoshop can only handle a certain size of a brush, I can make my brush up to 2500px. So lets go into Image>Image Size and change the width to 2500px. Press OK.




Step 5


Now go to Edit>Define Brush Preset. Change the name to Drippy Grunge and press OK. Now that brush should be at the bottom of your list. You can always select just a portion of the document for a different brush.



So now what do we do with these brushes? Stay tuned, there will be a new tutorial coming up soon that will use some of these brushes!

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Only comments in English will be approved!


  1. Likedme

    Ty for the tutorial….i really like this…but theres a problem….i cant make the step 5 (the reason why i cant make the step 5 is that option is locked….i dont know how to unlock it) can you help me with that….TY

  2. 16/02/2022

    First make sure you are selecting the area with the rectangular marquee tool. If that doesn’t work make sure that your document is 1000×1000. If it is that size and it still doesn’t work try making the the circles smaller and select them again. I hope that helps.

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  21. Ray Shakeshaft

    Re: Step 2. I press F5 and I do NOT get that brush menu that allows one to alter the brush. I simply get a thumbnail ‘list’ of all available brushes and how they would appear if dragged. Is there some setting that needs attention? I am using Photoshop CS.

  22. 19/04/2021

    @Ray you can go to window>brushes. This will pull up a window that will give options down the left side like shape dynamics, scattering, texture, and so on.

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  29. alex

    I don’t get “inverse part”, ctrl+shift+I doesn’t work on PC. how to do inverse?

  30. 28/04/2021

    You are getting the inverse selection. If Ctrl+Shift+I doesn’t work for you, go to Select>Inverse

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    [...] Beginner’s Guide to Photoshop Brushes Photoshop’s Brush Tool – Basic Guide How to Create Your Own Photoshop Brushes Guide to Patterns in Photoshop [...]

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