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Dazzle your digital artwork with a personal flair use custom brushes

Added on Tuesday 27th of March 2007 01:29 am EST


Adobe Photoshop 7/CS/CS2

Operating Systems:

Macintosh, Microsoft Windows




If you haven’t made your own custom brushes in Photoshop, you’re missing out on a valuable tool that will enable you to push your creative limits. We’ll show you how easy it is to create custom brushes from just about any element in Photoshop—and then put them to use for more dynamic designs.


To maximize your creativity with custom brushes, we’ll:

     Explore how custom brushes can open up your creative options.

     Point out the different ways you can transform imagery into a custom brush to speed up your work.

     Explain how to create, save, and load custom brushes so you can quickly reap their rewards.


Creating custom brushes in Photoshop is a great way to personalize your work. You can use custom brushes to add accents to your art, or combine them with layer styles for unique abstract designs as demonstrated in Figure A. We’ll explore how easy it is to create custom brushes and the many ways you’ll benefit from having your own arsenal of personalized brushes.




What’s in it for me?

Custom brushes aren’t just for digital painting. They can benefit any style of digital art, such as:

        If you find yourself often needing to create a certain shape for your designs, create it once and make a custom brush out of it.

        If you often add a digital signature or logo to your digital photos, you can do so in one stroke with a custom brush, as shown in Figure B.

        If you do any collage, montage, or advertisements, custom brushes made from elements in your images will be a welcome enhancement, as shown in Figure C.






Find free brushes online

If you want to explore the possibilities of custom brushes, but don’t feel like creating your own set, no worries. You can find free custom brush sets online. Point your browser to any of the following websites to find free custom brush sets to download:           

You can also download a free custom set from us! Just point your browser to the URL located at the beginning of this article, download the file, and extract the file Elibrushes.abr. Then, navigate to Photoshop CS2 (CS/7) > Presets > Brushes, and place the file in the Brushes folder. Follow the steps outlined in this article to load the brushes for use.



The sky’s the limit


One of the most fascinating and versatile things about custom brushes is that you aren’t limited to what you can use to make a custom brush. Any of the following are fantastic resources to use for custom brush creation:

        A piece of clip art

        A digital drawing created from a mouse or tablet

        A selection from a photograph

        An existing brush preset

        A scanned drawing

        Text or a scanned signature


Create a brush

Once you start creating custom brushes, you’ll see the endless opportunities. To demonstrate, we’ll create a brush from an element in a digital photo. But, no matter what you choose to create your custom brush from, the steps are the same.


To create a custom brush from a digital photo:

1.       Open the digital photo you’d like to create a custom brush from, like the one shown in Figure D.



2.      Create a selection around an element in the photo, as shown in Figure E.




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