How to make / create a Photoshop brush for use, a quick tutorial on how to add new strokes to Photoshop
How to make Photoshop brushes (as well as elements) and save them?? The first thing I always do with any of my brushes: create the stroke in a file such as a PNG or TIFF image. That way, if you want to use them in something else you don't have to re-create the artwork (of course, now you can also simply add them to the CC library). It is there for any future projects. I have 1000s of items in PNG and I can re-size etc as well as re-cycle the items in numerous ways. OK, how to actually create a stroke ? Well, in my case, most of my generated strokes are generally based on custom shapes. Why custom shapes ?? Well, custom shapes are vectors and can be any size so they are just so useful in the creation of the strokes. If you want to have a brush of 100 x 100 then the shapes are fine, if you want a stroke of 2000 x 2000 then the vector shapes are also very, very useful. You can find many custom shapes on the site such as hexagon custom shapes and grid shapes and Greek ornament shapes
Of course, you can always start from a scan or a scan of a sketch etc, that is another great start point for any number of strokes (I have used public domain images in the past, mainly stuff from the 18th century to make really certain that they are public domain). Another key thing to remember with artworks - they are greyscale. You can either start working with a greyscale or you can use the powerful black and white adjustment tool (image menu) to turn any color image into the perfect image to capture as a brush. Of course, you could just keep the original image as a color image or use an adjustment layer to change the color of the stroke to greyscale.
Another option, and one I also use, use a PSD and create them on layers and then you can create many variants of the same brush which can then all be perserved in the PSD for future use and manipulation. Saving them in PSD format also means you can use the live effects and live layer effects and save those with the brushes for future changes. Remember to save the file. Anyway, once you have created your PNG or TIFF or PSD with the stroke.
There are 1000s of Photoshop brushes on the site and the sets include dolphins, spirals, distortions, distressed, mice, cars, cats and many more. Been making them for 10 years or more and there are now nearly 240 sets of differently themed sets on the the site. Each and every week I discover many new ways to use them and create new items for different projects and artworks. You can also find many other brush strokes such as Italian type 16c brushes and jagged brushes and hexagons and grid 100 strokes and gothic brushes
With recent releases of PS, you can now save the artwork created in the libraries panel. This useful as the panel can be used as a massive store of any of the developed or part developed brushes. You can also be sure that the items are saved securely on the Adobe server. You can then re-use them at any point in the future and continue to work on the items or perhaps add additional elements or remove parts of the stroke etc.
Once you have the artwork, simply go to the edit menu and go to the define brush preset command. You can, of course, repeat this for multiple brushes. If I use PNG images or other file formats in a particular directory / folder (if I have 100 brushes to save) then I run an action command to define them for all 100 items in the set (though there could as easily be 200 or 300). It is a lot easier than just going to the edit menu over and over again. You don't have to define all of of the image, you can also just use the selection / marquee tool and then make a new tool with only a part of the image.
With the define preset command you have not saved a complete tool, only really a dab. You can now go to the brush panel (found in the window menu) and set various shape dynamics, scattering, texture etc. Note: this is only accessible if you are selecting a tool found in the toolbox. Set different spacing, set various scattering settings and then go to the right side menu of the panel and select the new brush preset command. The preset now has all the settings (marked by a checkbox) and can be recalled via the preset panel. I, personally, have always found it odd that there is no update preset command so any changes to the preset - such as adding texture - can be updated. The only option seems to be to add a new preset and then delete (if you wish) the old one
You still need to save them in a more permanently file (if you wish to use them later) and that can be achieved by going to the presets panel and using the save command on the right side menu. You can also save them via the preset manager found in the edit menu. The ABR file can be saved with multiple items as well as just a single item. The ABR file then can be used in future projects and can be added to the presets folder or just stored in a central backup for potential future use. The ABR file can also be sold on to others or shared if you wish for free on a variety of sites such as the Adobe Exchange.
You should be aware that the latest format ABRs often cannot be read in the earlier applications or perhaps in versions of PS Elements or GIMP etc. When you save the ABR you save it in the current preset version. If you save it with the CC release 2015 it means the set can be used in the super powerful Affinity Photo (sadly it does not appear to use earlier versions of PS). You can also acces the set in a variety of other tools as well as preset browsers such as the Tumasoft tool 'Breeze'.
Basically, the same approach but use the edit menu define command (that was the name in earlier versions of PS as well). There is a button for 'brush settings' in the presets panel and that does give a limited range of options such as fade and hue jitter. It is a whole lot easier to create the tools in PS than in PS Elements but it does not mean you can't. You don't have to be limited to the set of artworks supplied by Adobe with the application. Of course, you can also find many fine already pre-made tools on this site as well as on many others around the web.
Well, that is a totally different thing. You need to know what you are creating them for. If you want a star burst scatter effect or explosions or splatters, it is no use creating a tool made out of pandas. It might be a great panda preset but it is going to be no use for star effects. Good ideas and good source material and you should be able to make wonderful new painting tools. Personally the best tool for creating and making the tools is Illustrator as you can create a new infinite number of excellent vector artworks which can be then used with any size of preset. Illustrator also comes with some truly excellent tools to make them such as the VectorScribe plugin set from Astute as well as MirrorMe as well as the excellent ArtBlue plugin set from Amazon Canvas.