The Brush Experiment

I did a tutorial about brushes for beginners here, but I thought I would take another crack at it, with a tutorial that is a little more interesting, and that you can get a little more out of. If you would like a more in depth tutorial about brushes, you can go to the link above.
So as suggested above, this tutorial will teach you the ins and outs of brushes in Photoshop.

Step 1

I am going to open up a 1680×1050 document in Photoshop so I can use this as a wallpaper. Now fill the space with black with option + delete

Step 2

Alright, now we are going to open up a new document, so we can create our brush, which is our main focus. Create a 1000×1000 document.

Step 3

Create a new layer, and select the elliptical tool from our toolbar and draw a circle while holding down shift to make sure it’s a perfect circle.

Step 4

Fill the circle with black (option + backspace). Now, using apple + j we are going to repeat the circle and drag it down. Duplicate two more times so that we have four circles, spaced apart like below.

Step 5

Now we are going to make a brush with the circles, so using the square marquee tool we are going to select the area around the circles like so. Go to Edit>Define Brush Preset and call the brush “Circles”.

Step 6

Now lets go back to our other document. Select your new brush and drop it down to somewhere around 125px. Now we are going to select the pen tool from the tool bar. We are going to draw a wavy line. I am going to have mine follow a guide so it will stay horizontal. Put a point at the intersection of the left of the document, one above the guide, one below the guide and finally one on the right side of the document, like below.

Step 7

We are going to smooth out the line now. Go to the top point and while holding down option drag horizontally so you get the handles. Do the same for the point below the guide. If you would like to adjust your points you can do so by holding down the apple key and drag it to where you would like.

Step 8

Now lets create a new layer. Make sure you have white selected as your color. Click on your paths tab on the layer window, control + click on the work path and click on stroke path.

Step 9

Before we start in with the color we are going to give our background some glow to it. Create a new layer, fill it with black and go to filter>render>fibers. Change the settings to this:

Step 10

Now we are going to do a free transform with apple+t. Grab a corner and spin the fiber layer holding shift until the vertical lines are horizontal. Stretch out the fibers so they are the width of the document.

Step 11

Now go to filter>blur>motion blur and change the settings to this:

Step 12

Change the layer style to multiply. Now add a layer mask. Apple+click on the lines layer to load it and do an option delete to fill the mask with black. We are doing this so we can use the outer glow of the lines to make the fibers glow, but the mask will make it so the fibers won’t lay over the actual lines.

Step 13

Now we are going to add some layer styles to our white lines. Go into outer glow and change your settings to this:

Step 14

Now we are going to add a gradient, so go back into the layer styles and change your settings to this:

Step 15

Create a new layer and drag it up so it is the first one. Now take the same gradient you put in the line’s layer styles and create one that goes across the entire document. Change the blend mode to overlay.

Step 16

I am going to go back into my outer glow on the lines and drop the opacity down a little more.

Step 17

Create a new layer and drag it to the top. Click on your brush tool and press F5 to go into the settings. Change your settings to something like below:

Step 18

Now roughly follow the lines across the document. You can change the size of the brush on each pass by using [ and ].

Step 19

Lets go in and add some layer styles. First I’m going to add a gradient. Change your settings to this:

Step 20

Now we are going to go in and give the speckles an outer glow with the layer styles.

That’s all there is to it, you can keep adding to it or leave it as it is. This is what I came up with.

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Only comments in English will be approved!


  1. […] Denis Designs » The Brush Experiment Learn some basic Photoshop brush techniques with this tutorial. Very nice! […]

  2. […] Denis Designs " The Brush Experiment – […]

  3. 05/02/2009
  4. plsmakeitdetail

    PLEASE make it detail a little bit..
    some kind of difficult to understand wat
    u’re going to do….

  5. 06/02/2009

    Let me know what you are having trouble with, and I can explain it in a more detail

  6. Won

    I’m stuck on step 15, getting the lines to change color also… A little help, is appreciated. Great tut, though…cept for step 15…:P

  7. Won

    In case It didn’t give enough detail, at step 15 I apply the gradient to the ENTIRE document, and it changes it to where the entire thing is the gradient, I just want the lines to be. I play with the blending options, and Vivid Light achieves the affect. Somewhat, but I think doing it properly will give me better results, so what am I doing wrong?

  8. 07/02/2009

    Thanks Won, I forgot to specify what the blend mode was, I changed it to overlay, and i fixed it above. Although that’s what I did, you can change it to how every it looks best to you, there isn’t a wrong way to do it.

  9. PhotoshopNoob.

    How did you get the picture of your path in the layer mask icon next to the word “Fibers” in step 12? Because I can’t seem to get that and now my results look nothing at all like yours. Please reply

  10. 11/02/2009

    Add your layer mask, then apple + click on on the lines layer. Then, making sure you have selected the layer mask and fill it with black, that should mask out the lines like I have them.

  11. david

    In step 15, how do you get the new gradient to go across the entire document?

  12. 12/02/2009

    Click on your gradient in the toolbar, the click somewhere on the left side of the document. Click and drag from the left all the way to the right side of the document, then unclick. Then change the blend mode (which is on the top left of the layers box) to overlay. That should give you the result I have.

  13. Oh well...

    Oh well, I gave it a try and followed all your instructions, but I can’t get it right, I have pretty much the same problem like PhotoshopNoob said and I’m lost from step 13 onwards. Nice effect though, and perhaps a good tutorial :)


  14. Nice tut

    Well nice tut, but one question about the layer mask. Do you maybe know how do integrate the lines within the mask without the use of shortcuts? I have just a windows system, so not all the shortcuts are the same. Thanks a lot though, it was a nice tut till step 12 ;)

  15. 17/02/2009

    Basically everything is the same going from mac to pc, instead of using apple, use control. So for example, if you want to open an new document you would use apple + n on a mac, and control + n on a pc. On step 12 you would just control + click to load the line layer. If you wanted to do it without the shortcuts, you could go to select>load selection, then select the lines layer.

  16. mary

    I found your site today and I already love it! Thank you for all the great articles and tutorials. *bookmarks* :)

  17. 24/02/2009

    Thanks for the compliments…I really appreciate it!

  18. One Question

    Ok this is probably a stupid question.. But at step 8, when I control + select my work path it highlights the path in the composition, but there’s also a horizontal line from the left to the right.

  19. 07/03/2009

    You could have connected the path, make sure that there is a beginning point and an end point to the line. If it is a blue line, it is just a guide.

  20. PhotoshopNoob

    Hey I did it! Thanks so much for the help, it worked :D

  21. 02/04/2009

    Excellent tutorial for beginners! This is detailed, creative, and easy to follow. Keep up the good work!

  22. […] The Brush Experiment […]

  23. mihai

    very nice and very simple too. Bravo

  24. Chris P

    Loving your tutorials!!! This is my 6th one now. I can get through these tutorials but sometimes I don’t get what to do so I improvise. There is just one thing that keeps coming up which frustrates me.
    In step 12: “Apple click on the lines layer to load the lines”. When I do this, the lines are supposed to have the marquee lines around them? right? It doesn’t seem to work for me. I have to select the lines layer and use the magic wand tool. I am using CS4 on mac. Any help would be GREAT. Thanks

  25. Chris P
  26. Chris P

    I answered my own question!!!!
    I got it from a different tutorial.
    I wasn’t clicking over the white square. :)
    Thanks again

  27. 02/09/2009

    Chris P-
    The only thing i can think of is that maybe you have the lines on the background layer. If this is the case then you will have to create a new layer and then add the lines again. Hopefully that helps.

  28. 16/02/2010

    I was having a similiar issue with step 15 only to discover that I was trying to add the blending options styles to the “fibers” layer instead of the white “lines” layer.

    I also could get the gradient tool to work on a separate layer using any combination of the gradient types. I ended up using a gradient in the blending options of the “fibers” layer instad of creating a new layer. Same result.

    Thanks for the awesome tut!

  29. Adam

    Can you give PSD ??

  30. 16/05/2010

    pls how can i get the windows version of this tutorial?

  31. 09/07/2010

    Hello, i am the owner of .Thank’s for sharing this info.This is very helpful and informative material.Good post and keep it up dude.

  32. Vuchi

    No pictures? :(

  33. raff

    unfortunately, there is no pictures……

  34. 07/11/2010

    I am trying to do this tutorial blind because the pics aren’t showing up :( I hope it will work out cause I could really use it for one of my sites.

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