How to use the Photoshop brush tools in Toolbar tutorial

How to use Photoshop brushes and the brush tools found in the toolbar such as smudge tool , pencil, clone etc tutorial

bar toolbar and photoshop brushes

Strokes / Photoshop brushes panel

The strokes supplied on this site can be used in most of the tools in Adobe ® Photoshop ® ® and Photoshop ® Elements toolbar, such as with the dodge tool / blur tool / smear tool / brush tool / art history tool and more. You can use them straight out of the tin by selecting the size as well as color (in some cases). The presets also can be modified in many additional ways via the brushes panel which gives a fairly huge range of different settings such as tip shape, shape dynamics, scattering, texture, dual, color dynamics etc. Many of the tools will have some of the settings disabled though it is often baffling to why, the color dynamics could be of use to the blur as well as the paint tools (perhaps they will be changed at some point ?) The range of settings is decent but some applications such as Affinity Photo / Painter have many additional features (with Painter, it has become very complex of later with many new features such as Audio being added to the strokes). You can use them with brush presets such as star brushes and square brushes and spiral brushes can all use the powerful brush tools


Photoshop brushes tools preset bar



optionsSome of the tools work better than others with the supplied artworks / images / dabs. I have struggled with some of the tools such as the blur tool which hardly registers much of a blur effect without a lot of re-applies. They are still useful for localized applications of a particular effect though (always surprised no one has added an effect brush such as applying filters - but I guess the art history and history is the closest to that). You can modify the size quickly via the option section as well as changing the color of the stroke via the toolbar foreground. You can add them using opacity at 100% or 50% etc and you can use the main panel to set the opacity to a random setting via the transfer section which can be just random or modified to fade or be modified by pen pressure as well as tilt and stylus wheel. You can also modify the added strokes by using different blending modes such as dissolve, behind, clear, darken, multiply, color burn, overlay, difference, exclusion etc and these all depend on the underlying image as well as the current color of the stroke. There are many other types of stroke such as the mixer tool but these do not use the dabs supplied by this site. If you select the blur tool then the dab selected will be different from the dab used by the brush tool, though you can quickly re-select the same dab by going to the panel and selecting the same one, this has been made a little easier with the latest version as you can see the last used dab along the top line (along with 10 or so other dabs). It would be great if there was a link option to link the tools to the same selected item but that is not available.


Presets for the tools

Photoshop brushes presetsThere is an option to save the preset for the tool which will save all the settings in one place. The tool preset is confined just to the selected tool so one created for the brush tool will not be available for the blur tool. The preset for the tool can also save the color (if the color is set at the time). You can then change between presets going to a splat drop or splat tool (if only it was a Painter Nozzle !) to your own splatter tools or smooth fine lines etc. Below you can see a color splatter tool saved as a preset using color dynamics and opacity etc




Or create a preset using the blending mode of 'difference' and then combined with oil paint filter effect. Great for creating weird and wonderful abstract backgrounds.


difference color


Hidden tools

toolsIf you are using an earlier version of PS then many of the tools are hidden beneath others so the mixer tool is not instantly displayed unless you expand out the tool set. With the latest version of PS, you can re-arrange the toolbar (or toolbox) in many different ways to have to paint tools more visible or perhaps the clone tool available all the time or perhaps the pattern stamp tool etc. You can change the toolbar via the edit menu and toolbar



The tools in the toolbar are


Spot healing tool *

Healing tool *

Patch tool *

Content aware move tool *

Red eye tool *

Brush tool

Pencil tool

Color replacement tool

Mixer tool

Clone stamp tool

Pattern stamp tool

History brush tool

Art history brush tool

Eraser tool

Background eraser tool *

Magic eraser tool *

Blur tool

Sharpen tool

Smudge tool

Dodge tool

Burn tool

Sponge tool


Note that some of the dabs cannot be used with the brush tools - they are marked with a *


Check out some of our other tutorials such as how to use the brushes as a layer and how to export the brushes to other apps


Video tutorial

Creating a tool preset for the brushes [Youtube]