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Adobe Photoshop Brushes

Updated on April 18, 2012

Learn about Adobe Photoshop Brushes

Collection of web sites that offer quality free Photoshop brushes, brush tools, tips & tricks.
Read the Photoshop brushes tutorial to learn what brushes are and how to use and make them.

Tips on making, using and organizing brushes may be found below.

Free Adobe Photoshop brushes resources

Here are a few hand-picked web sites that feature some of the best brushes I have found online.

Top 5 most popular In Obscuro brush sets - These brushes were downloaded 300 to 500 thousand times!

Paper textures Photoshop Brushes
Paper textures Photoshop Brushes

Number 1 most downloaded brush: Paper textures

Papers, paper textures, crumpled paper, creases, creased paper, paper edges, paper corners, grungy

Second most downloaded brush: Swirly ornaments

Swirls, ornaments, decorations, spirals, art nouveau

Third most downloaded brush: Swirly ornaments 2

Swirls, ornaments, decorations, leaves, spirals, art nouveau

Fourth most downloaded brush: Paint strokes

Paint, ink, drip, splatter, strokes, spill, drops, spatter

Fifth most downloaded brush: Lace

Lace, fishnet, flowers, roses, textures, borders, tiles, tiling

Buy Photoshop brushes - ...and other Photoshop resources

Photoshop Brush Bonanza - Over 2,000 Amazing Artist-Quality Brushes
Photoshop Brush Bonanza - Over 2,000 Amazing Artist-Quality Brushes

Over 2,000 amazing artist-quality Photoshop brushes, 100% Royalty Free! Sets include Design Essentials, Holidays and Events, Scrappers, Sports, and Menu Makers. Brushes are extra large to allow for sharp, high-quality images at all sizes.

 
Photoshop Bonus Bonanza - Brushes, Patterns, Shapes & Styles
Photoshop Bonus Bonanza - Brushes, Patterns, Shapes & Styles

Over 500 amazing artist-quality Photoshop patterns, shapes & styles for Photoshop 7.0 or higher.

 

Inspirational brush making

Where to find materials and how to use them best?

As a brush designer, you might choose to define your own distinct style, or experiment with various techniques. I prefer the latter, and this way I never lack inspiration when it comes to making brushes.

You must learn is to see the potential in images. Graphics that can be applied together with other graphics make good brushes.

There are many types of brushes: ornamental, textured, abstract... some of them are very subtle and are used to improve a graphic, but some may be used alone, similar to clipart.

Here are some possible ways of creating brushes:

Photography

If you own a digital camera, the world is full of details that may make good brushes. Look around you for natural or manufactured items. Take a lot of photos and examine them at home. Try desaturating them and see if you can still isolate the forms.

Drawing and painting

You need a scanner or a digital camera for this.

I draw and doodle a lot. Most of this will never show up in my gallery, but why not use it for brushes? If you're in the mood for creating, but aren't confident in drawing something complex, just doodle what comes to your mind, draw vines and foliage, funny faces, fancy letters, spill or spray paint to get random shapes... After scanning the drawings, you may edit them further and get effects you couldn't with traditional tools.

Digital drawing

We've seen the circular, triangular, rectangular and similar shapes, and they're boring. Go freehand! Use your mouse or tablet to draw either abstract or figurative shapes. If you can't control the mouse/tablet that well, use the Pen tool. Digital drawings will be more clean than the scanned ones.

Combination

Try combining two or all three techniques mentioned above. You can use and reuse a single motive numerous times in many different ways and always get a unique result! Look at example images shown below to see what I mean.

Photoshop-related books

Tips on organizing brushes

If you downloaded many brush sets and saved all of them in the default brushes folder (probably C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop X.X\Presets\Brushes where X.X is the version number), you will likely suffer long Photoshop loading time. In order to avoid this, it would be better to create a new folder inside the default brushes folder, and save your brushes there.

It is also possible that you can't remember where you downloaded your brushes from (in order to give proper credit), and since some brush authors don't give descriptive names to their sets, you should take care of it.

Some suggestions:

  1. Inside your brushes folder create a new folder named website-name.com for every brush source. Save all the brush sets you downloaded there, renaming each with a menaningful name, for example vector-swirls.abr and similar.
  2. Create a new folder named downloaded brushes or similar. Open all brush sets you downloaded from a particular site and save them as a single brush set named website-name.com.abr for each site.

Whichever method you prefer, the result is a neater brush archive.

Enjoy!

This graphic is made using my brushes "Frail Ivy", and "Clouds" which will be available for download soon.

This one is made using "Frail ivy" set, "Spider webs" and "Old papers".

The brushes used on this one are "Ink spill and splatter", "Paint strokes" and "Paper textures".

What version of Photoshop are you currently using?

See results

Buy Adobe Photoshop

The Number 1 graphic program, recommended by most graphic designers and digital artists.

Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 [OLD VERSION]
Adobe Photoshop Elements 10 [OLD VERSION]

Cheaper alternative with stripped off features, but brushes work :)

 

Polyvore brushes - You can use some of my brushes on Polyvore as well!

In Obscuro Brushes on Polyvore
In Obscuro Brushes on Polyvore

I created a Polyvore collection with a few of my brushes that you might find useful in your Polyvore collages, as many members already have. Enjoy! :)

If you want me to make something else available, let me know which one and I will try to add them when I have the time.

My other pages

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Drawing and sketching media overview for beginner artists
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How to overcome an art block
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