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How to use Photos / Images as Illustrator Brushes Tutorial

photo images as Illustrator brushes tutorial

How to use images / photos etc as Illustrator Brushes in CC 2017 2015 etc tutorial. You can use images straight into the Illustrator brushes panel (such as artworks created in Flame Painter as on the right). You can also use Photoshop brushes imported via libraries etc and add those as art brushes or scatter brushes etc. You can also use custom shapes with styles as a great source for Illustrator brushes. You can add pattern layers (import via libraries) as a source for new brushes as well as gradients. You can also use type photos / images as a great source for new art brushes etc. This tutorial shows you how to use a variety of image / photo sources as Illustrator brushes

 

  1. Window menu in Illustrator

  2. Brushes

  3. Select image in artboard

  4. Drag image to brushes panel

  5. Select art brush or scatter etc

  6. Set options

  7. OK

 

You can now apply via paths and type and strokes etc

Photos / Images in Illustrator brushes

photo image into Illustrator brushesWith the latest version (Creative Cloud), you can add photo / images to the Illustrator brushes - either as scatter or artistic or pattern. You can use Photos and images from all kinds of sources and not just standard images but also ones from custom shapes and brushes as well as places such as Adobe Stock. You can also use scans from books etc (especially public domain ones) to create a wonderful selection of amazing photo and image based Illustrator brushes

 

The example on the right was created in Flame Painter 3 Pro.

  1. Save image with transparency in Flame Painter 3 Pro (or other app)

  2. Save as PNG file

  3. File menu in Illustrator

  4. Place command

  5. Click embed

  6. Select image

  7. Drag to the brushes panel

  8. New brush - select scatter or artistic etc

 

Using Photoshop brushes / ABR

warped line image and illustrator brushes

You can use all kinds of artworks in the preset tool now so you can use heads, props, lines, blobs, ink drops, objects as well as more abstract artwork such as a Photoshop ABR preset in the stroke. To do this, go to Adobe ® Photoshop ® and then create a new document.

 

Depending on what you wish to achieve such as a scatter or artistic then create a square document or a thin line document for the stroke. If you want the stroke in PS and therefore into AI to be a straight line then hold down the shift key to create the stroke. In the example, I have used a basic line stroke but you can create artworks of all kinds of complexity with the ABR tools and then import them into AI. The best way to create them is to add them to a new layer and then drag that layer to the CC library as that means the stroke in AI will contain the transparency which can then be added to the stroke's library.

 

Once you are in AI, select the item from the library and drag to the artboard and then click the embed command and then select the object option and then you can drag the result to the brushes panel.

 

  1. Layer menu

  2. New layer

  3. Select brush tool

  4. Select color

  5. Select brush

  6. Apply brush multiple times on the layer (example is a straight line brush)

  7. Drag layer to the library

  8. Goto Illustrator

  9. Drag image from library to artboard

  10. Embed

  11. Drag to the brushes panel

  12. Set as art brush

  13. OK

You can then apply the image brush in numerous ways in Illustrator and with paths etc

 

spots and images for Illustrator brushesBlots and spots images / brush strokes

You can also do the same with blots and spots and add them to the scatter section in the strokes panel. The key thing is to add the artwork to a Photoshop layer and then you can add the entire layer to the library and then use that via the library in AI.

 

With the scatter, you can also add rotation and scattering and other randomized settings to create all kinds of weird and wonderful artworks in AI and they are all still editable. This becomes a sort of nozzle like feature in AI and I would love to see a similar feature in Adobe ® Photoshop ® but I guess I will just have to make do with the feature in Painter.

 

The image is made up of a number of simple paint dabs in PS in a couple of colors and this was imported via the libraries into AI and used as a scatter stroke.

 

  1. Layer menu

  2. New layer

  3. Select brush tool

  4. Select color

  5. Select brush such as a basic dot brush

  6. Apply brush and change color and re-apply and create numerous color dots

  7. Drag brush layer to the library

  8. Goto Illustrator

  9. Drag dot image from library to artboard

  10. Embed

  11. Drag dots to the brushes panel

  12. Set as scatter brush

  13. Set random and variation such as rotation and size

  14. OK

 

Brushes from images / custom shapes

metallic flower images and custom shapes illustrator brushes

There are also many other resources in PS such as custom shapes and there are 1000s of those available via this site and they can all be used as a great source for strokes in AI.

 

As a start point, they are vectors and you can still copy them as a vector to AI but you can also copy the artwork as a converted raster layer as well with raster effects. You can also add effects as well as layer styles (metallic etc) to the shapes before importing into AI. You can do much the same as with the ABR, or you can just add them as a shape layer and then combine them all together and drag into the library and then copy into AI as before.

 

The stroke right is based on a flower vector shape (CSH) with a metallic style from Adobe ® Photoshop ® and then using the scattering and rotation (randomized) and scale etc

 

Patterns from PS as a source for strokes

pattern line

You can also add gradients as well as patterns from PS (such as a fill content layer) can be dragged into the CC libraries and then into AI and saved as a scatter stroke as well as an art brush. You can also add into the mix different colors as well as different spacings and rotation and more

 

You can also do the same with gradients, simply add a gradient to a layer and then drag into the CC library and then over to AI and then add to the art brush. You can also use them in scatters as well as perhaps the radial gradients (with transparency) work best as scatters.

 

  1. In Photoshop

  2. Layer menu

  3. New fill content

  4. Pattern

  5. Select pattern

  6. Set scale

  7. OK

  8. Drag pattern layer to libraries

  9. Goto Illustrator

  10. Drag the artwork from libraries

  11. Embed

  12. Drag the artwork into the brushes panel

  13. Select art brush

  14. Set options

  15. OK

 

You can now apply the Photoshop pattern / image as an Illustrator brush stroke. The Photoshop patterns can be anything so they maybe photos or images as well as type etc

 

Using gradients as a source for brushes

gradient on circle photos

The image right uses a gradient (added to a layer) as a long line using the reflected gradient and transparency stops on both sides of the gradient and then the path was then added to a circle in AI

 

 

Fonts as a source for images

The font sets on this site are vectors but you can also convert them into raster artworks by using the raster conversion (type menu and rasterize type layer) in PS or just by adding the type Via the type tool) to a new type layer and flattening the result and then copying that layer into the CC library and then going to AI and copying the artwork from the CC library to the artboard and embedding and using the convert option before adding the characters (in any font) as an image to the preset panel

 

Other resources

1. triradial and peace Photoshop and psp and Illustrator image brushes

2. triangle and triangular image brushes

3. twirl image brushes for Illustrator and others

 

Other tutorials

1. how to convert Illustrator artistic brushes to scatter brushes

2. how to use Illustrator brushes as a super colorful source Illustrator symbols tutorial

3. how to modify Illustrator graphic styles via the appearance panel and add fills and strokes etc

4. how to merge graphic styles tutorial to make more complex or amazing styles

5. how to use and new amazing artistic bristle brushes in Illustrator CC 2017 2015 CS6 etc tutorial