Brush Basics

Brush Basics

Photoshop CS6 Tutorial


How to Use Photoshop Brushes



Photoshop ships with over 500 preset brushes. If you search on the internet, you'll find thousands more. When you first start working with brushes it is like going to a candy store the size of Rhode Island having to choose just one type of candy.

There are four basic types of brushes, Airbrush, Bristle, Round/Custom and Erodible Tip,

Depending on the brush type you select, there are billions of options. To make things simple, you may want to perfect a handful of brush styles first, then branch out and do some serious exploring once you understand the basics.

Painting in Photoshop is generally done with the Brush or Mixer Brush tools.


Step One

Open a new 1,024 pixel x 1,024 pixel document with a white background in Photoshop (File > New).

Step Two

Click the Create a New Layer icon to add a new blank layer. You can experiment with the new brushes on this layer.

Step Three

Select the Brush tool and open the Brush palette by clicking the Brush palette icon or choosing Window > Brushes.

Step Four

By default there should be several brushes already loaded in the palette. Click the Brush icons and notice that the options vary based on the brush.

Step Five

In the brush library you will see four distinct brush icons. They are Airbrush, Bristle, Round/Custom and Erodible Tip.

Step Six

The Airbrush can be used to simulate an airbrush or can of spray paint.

Step Seven

With Bristle brushes you can choose between ten different shapes.

Step Eight

Round/Custom brushes are defined by a circle or custom shape.

Step Nine

Erodible Tip brushes are designed to simulate graphite or pastels. The tip dulls, the more you use it. To shapen the tip, click the Sharpen Tip button.

Step Ten

Whenever you select a brush, don't forget to dial back the Opacity and/or Flow so you can slowly build your effect.

Step Eleven

To make your brushes more life-like, you'll want to use a pen and tablet.

Step Twelve

The Mixer Brush interacts with other paint in the image.

Step Thirteen

The best way to save Mixer Brush presets is to save your brush as a Tool Preset (not a Brush Preset). By saving the brush as a Mixer Brush Tool Preset, the brush parameters, brush options and color can be saved.

Step Fourteen

Using multiple layers to paint an image provides easy editing as you create your masterpiece.

Brushes Work With Many Tools

In addition to the Brush tool, the brushes also work with the Art History Brush, Blur, Burn, Clone Stamp, Dodge, Eraser, History Brush, Mixer Brush, Pattern Stamp tool, Pencil, Sharpen, Smudge and Sponge.

A limited round brush version is available with the Healing Brush tool and Spot Healing tool.


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