(Last updated on May 17th, 2021)
Want to know how to Add or Install Brushes in Photoshop? You have come to the right place!
In this tutorial, we will be going over how to add/install brushes in Adobe Photoshop. Many brush packs are available online, with many digital artists making paid or free kits for you to download. Adobe also has its own brush kits, usually in collaboration with digital artists. The resources are endless, and you should definitely utilize them to add more tools to your toolbox!
How to Download Brushes
- First, open up Adobe Photoshop. (Photoshop will need to be running to install the brushes.)
- Download an .ABR pack from online. Here are Adobe’s current brush packs available to download: https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/brushes.html. Click the blue download button to start downloading the file. Here, I’m going to download the Spring 2021 Brush Collection.
- Once downloaded, double-click on the file. The installation will automatically run. To see your new brushes, go to Window > Brushes. Here, we can see the 2021 brushes downloaded and ready for creating.
Secondary Way to Import Brushes
- Download your desired brush pack, an .ABR file.
- Select the Brush tool in Adobe. Click the Brush tool or use the command B. (There are many ways of accessing a tool in Photoshop.)
- Go to the Brush Menu at the top of the screen, click on the drop-down arrow next to the sizing icon, click on the gear icon, then click on Import Brushes…
- Find your ABR file on your computer and double-click to select it.
- The file will automatically be installed into Photoshop.
The process of downloading external brush packs from non-Adobe sources is the same. You will want to find brush packs that are in .ABR format and follow either installation process, either by double-clicking on the file or importing it.
And you’re done! That’s how simple it is to get new brushes for Adobe Photoshop.
How to Tweak Brush Settings
In Adobe Photoshop, you can control your brush’s minute details, from the hardness to the pressure, flow, and more.
- Go to Window > Brush Settings, pulling up the Brush Settings Panel.
- First, you can change the Brush Tip Shape. You can adjust the size, flip it over the X or Y axis, change the angle, roundness, hardness, or spacing of the stroke.
- Then, you can unlock or lock all of the following features: Shape Dynamics, Scattering, Texture, Dual Brush, Color Dynamics, Transfer, Brush Pose, Noise, Wet Edges, Build-up, Smoothing, and Protect Texture. You can adjust each of these separate panels.
Let’s go over what these features change in particular:
- Shape Dynamics: Determines the variance of brush marks for each stroke. You can turn the variance off, add fade, pen pressure, pen tilt, change the amount of control, and more.
- Scattering: Scattering determines the placement and number of marks in a stroke, letting you adjust this variance.
- Texture: Adds texture to the painting surface. For example, you can make your brush look like it’s painting on canvas and adjust the depth and blending mode.
- Dual Brush: A painting mode where you can paint with two brushes side-by-side.
- Color Dynamics: This feature determines color change across a stroke.
- Transfer: This feature determines how the paint changes across a stroke.
- Brush Pose: In this feature, you control the angle, pressure, and brush’s position on the canvas.
- Noise: This feature will add randomness to your brush’s tip, most effective for soft brush tips that contain grey values.
- Wet Edges: Turning this feature on/off adjusts the amount of buildup along the stroke. This feature creates a watercolor effect for your artwork.
- Build-Up: This feature lets you add strokes gradually, building up the color rather than laying on a solid stroke all at once. You can layer the paint gradually, like airbrush painting.
- Smoothing: Smoothing adds smoothness to your stroke when painting curves and lines.
- Protect Texture: This feature will apply the same scale and pattern to all textured brush presets. If this is turned on, you can simulate a consistent canvas texture across all brushes.
- After you have adjusted to your liking, you can save the settings as a new brush, also including the Brush Size and Color as part of the preset. Once you hit OK, your brush settings are saved and ready to be accessed later on!
Brush Pack Resources
So now you know how to download and import a brush into Adobe Photoshop. Where do you find these brush packs? Let’s go over some resources:
Adobe: Adobe comes with many free brush sets that you can download. Go to https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop/brushes.html. Here, you will find new releases of brush packs. Adobe does artist-inspired collections, brushes inspired by real-life media such as watercolor, chalk, or gouache, and they make brushes for specific art forms such as Manga.
Brusheezy: https://www.brusheezy.com/free/photoshop Here, you can download free and premium brush packs for Adobe Photoshop. They offer an unlimited plan, a subscription for a set number of downloads, and individual download credits. You can sort brushes by new releases, texture, pattern, and more.
Deviant Art:This website hosts a community of creators sharing artwork and commentary. Many creators on this platform are generous, giving out tips, tricks, and even brush packs to enhance your digital artwork.
Art Influencers: Art influencers on YouTube and Instagram will often have brush pack recommendations and ones they’ve created themselves. Not only will they provide these resources, but often they will have digital painting tips and tricks as well.
Bonus: How to Make a Custom Brush Yourself from Scratch
You can actually create your own brushes in Adobe Photoshop! How do you do this? Follow along to find out:
- First, you will need a high-quality, greyscale, or monochrome image file. Vector images are best, but high-resolution PNGs or SVGs will also work. The image will also have to be colorless because brush tools do not hold color information. It is also important to note to be aware of the image’s size because this will be your default brush size down the road.
- Open your image in Photoshop.
- Next, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset
- You will then be prompted to name your new brush set. After this is done, hit OK.
- And that is it! Your brush is created. You will also be able to customize this brush further (except for hardness).
Making a custom brush is simple. You can also save these new brush presets within your Creative Cloud library for easy access and keep project art consistent. You can even make brushes out of pictures you take on the go. The creativity is endless and up to you!
Frequently Asked Questions
To import brushes into Photoshop, download the .ABR file and open it while Photoshop is running. The brush will automatically be installed.
You save new brushes in Photoshop by installing them. With Photoshop open, open your brush pack file (.ABR), and it will automatically be installed into Photoshop.
To view the brushes you have, go to Window > Brushes. Here, you can view, sort, and organize your brushes.
Adobe offers free brush packs that come with an Adobe Photoshop subscription. External artists often give away free brush packs, too and, also, you can create custom brushes for free.
Anne is a filmmaker and writer with a passion to bring stories to life. She has created several short films, specializing in stop-motion animation. Anne has over eight years of filmmaking experience, and she is always ready to share her knowledge with other creators. She started her company Anne Gets Creative in 2020.
Anne is extremely familiar with many Adobe programs: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, After Effects, Premiere, and Audition, to name a few. She has also worked with other programs such as Procreate, Canva, iMovie, and Final Cut Pro. She always strives to give the best software reviews, researching diligently so her readers don’t have to.