Brush Tip Shape vs Brush Presets

Brush Tip Shape vs Brush Presets

Photoshop CS6 Tutorial


How to Understand the Brush Shape and Presets Panels in Photoshop



When you open the Brush panel, Brush Tip Shape section, several brush shapes appear. The panel looks similar to the Brush Presets panel, yet there are some differences.

There are three common ways to select a new brush. You can choose a brush in the Brush Tip Shape area, click a choice in the Brush Presets panel or select a brush in the Tool Presets panel.

In this topic we will look at all three methods and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each method.


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 your brushes on this layer.

Step Three

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

Step Four

Also open the Tool Presets panel by choosing Window > Tool Presets and the Brush Presets panel (Window > Brush Presets). To have access to all three panels, you can drag the tabs to a single panel so you can quickly toggle between the panels.

Step Five

Click the Brush tab, then click Brush Tip Shape to see the various shapes. Select the first brush shape in the panel.

Step Six

Activate the Shape Dynamics, Scattering and Texture checkboxes for your brush. Change the Flow value in the Mixer Brush Options to 49%.

Step Seven

Click Brush Tip Shape to view the brush tips panel. Select other brush tips and notice that the checkboxes and tool options don't change.

Step Eight

Click the Brush Presets tab, then choose another brush. Return to the Brush panel and notice that the checkboxes are no longer selected. The Flow setting in the Mixer Brush Tool Options still reads 49%.

Step Nine

Click the Tool Presets tab and select Artists' Brushes from the pull-down menu.

Step Ten

Select the Fan-Flat Smeary brush. Return to the Brush panel and notice that Texture and Transfer are now activated. The Flow setting in the Mixer Brush options now reads 100%. Saving your presets as Tool Presets is the best way to save a brush tip and all the brush settings, even color. As a Tool Preset, you can apply multiple brush parameters in a single click.

Saving Your New Brush

By starting with a preset brush, you can modify the settings, then choose New Brush Preset from the Brush palette pull-down menu. You can also save your brush by clicking the Create New Brush icon in the bottom of the Brushes panel.

Locking the Brush Panels

In Step Eight, we chose another brush from the Brush Presets panel. This deactivated the Shape Dynamics, Scattering and Texture panels once the new brush was selected. To keep the panels active with a new brush, click the small lock icon next to the panel name (i.e., Shape Dynamics, Scattering, etc.).

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.


Stock Photos from 123RF