Photoshop / Photoshop Elements / PSP / GIMP / Xara / Painter brushes CC CS6 CS5 CS4 etc
Updated: March 6th, 2014
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Hi-rez Photoshop brushes
The brushes are hi-rez brushes, with the size of the brushes ranging from 200 x 200 up to 1000 x 1000 in most cases. The brushes are all stored at 300 DPI (though the internal format of the ABR brushes is unknown). The collection set was created a while back so the file sizes are not up in the 2000+ range. You can always use the brush strokes to create multiple brush strokes which can then be defined as a new much larger Photoshop brush. you can do this by just opening a new document and then applying multiple dabs and then using the edit menu define brush command (though you will have to also remember to use the save command on the brushes palette to save the ABR file with the new brush)
Re-combine Photoshop brushes and create brushes
The brushes in the brushes collection are not cast in stone. you can always use the strokes to create a new brush stroke via the edit menu define brush. Combine the brush strokes by either using the same brush stroke or perhaps multiple different brush strokes as well as applying different brush strokes in different colors - grayscale - and different sizes and rotations. The brushes can also have effects applied to them such as blurs or smudges or you can develop brush strokes using the different brush tools such as the smudge and blur tool to create localized modifications to the brush pixels. You can also combine the brush strokes on a single layer and then use that layer as a floater or resource which can be added to the image in different locations - convert the combined brush stroke design into a smart layer so the source brush strokes can be modified at any point in the creative process within Photoshop
Photoshop Brush palette
All the brushes can be further tweaked and extended via the brush palette that comes with Photoshop 7 upwards. The brush palette allows the brushes to be scattered, opacity applied, texture applied, color changed and much more. The brushes menu is accessed via the window menu
1) Select brush tool (any of the main brush tools such as clone)
2) Go to the window menu
4) Click on shape dynamics / scattering (checkbox will then be set to ON)
5) Change settings
6) Key settings are via the brush tip shape dialog settings such as spacing (set to 0 to create a smooth brush stroke)
Photoshop Brush textures
Use the brushes to create stunning texture designs as well as using them to create Photoshop tiles. Apply the brush dabs in 1000s of ways, apply blurs and smears and other effects to create unique texture designs. If you wish to make the designs seamless, I would suggest using additional tools such as Terrazzo from Xaostools. You can also use the brush strokes with the offset filter in Photosho and that is fairly powerful tool to create tiles. say you have a document 1000 x 1000, use the offset with -500 500 and continue to apply brush dabs to the newly positioned document. On completion, use the define command to save the tile.
Impressionist brush in Photoshop
You can use all the brushes in the collection set via the art history tool (or impressionist). Use the art history or impressionist brush to create stunning painted / impressionistic paintings using the brush stroke. The key thing for the art history tool is the history palette. Apply a number of effects or brush strokes to a document and then go to the history palette and click the left side of any of the history entries. A little icon will appear showing the source for the art history brush. You can then apply the brush stroke with varying types such as tight short as well as use some of the settings in the brush palette (found via the window menu in Photoshop). Never actually sure why some of the settings in the brush palette are then grayed out such as dual brush and scattering which I never understood.
Brushes in Photoshop CC CS6
The brushes work fine in the latest version of Photoshop, they are also loaded in the same way and applied in the same way - there was no noticeable changes to the brushes or changes to the format of the ABR file. The panels were changed slightly to show off their new grey look. There has been little change to brushes for quite a while - the last big change was the addition of a powerful palette. I would still love to see a symmetry feature included with all the brushes in Photoshop - 4 way, 2 way symmetry as well as 8pt as well as perhaps an automatic tile painting feature where the brush wraps around the edge of the artwork. Perhaps something for Adobe ® Photoshop CS7?? As there are now so many brushes (such as the 10,000 or so brushes in this collection), it would also be a great addition to CS7 / CC if there was a brushes browser / search feature - it gets harder and harder to find a particular brush from an ABR file and surely that time could be spent actually drawing and painting with the brush. Pushing the brushes even further, perhaps the brushes could also be used as a source for many of the filters (such as the shape filter). Live brushes would also be great where the brush stroke can be modified at any point in the creative process such as with smart filters or smart objects.
Use brushes with effect / metal brushes
Add a effect to a layer and apply a brush stroke to the layer, the brushes will now have the effect such as blue gel / metallic. The effect is still live so you can modify the metallic effect brush stroke at any point in the creative process within Photoshop. The layer effects can be modified via the layer menu such as adding a new shadow or bevel to the Photoshop brush stroke.
Flow setting for the brush stroke
Apply a brush stroke in Photoshop and sometimes the underlying image is completely removed. To apply subtle brush strokes to the image, use the flow setting. Set the value to 1% and any applied brush stroke with be very very subtle (and will require multiple applies for the color to even appear). The flow setting is found in the control bar / Photoshop. Strangely the flow setting does not appear with all the brush tools, though it is the same as intensity or exposure. There is a flow jitter setting confusingly placed in the transfer section of the Photoshop brush palette (which, again, turns into intensity when you use other brush tools). I am always a little baffled to why there is no flow setting to 200% as using a single dab of a brush stroke often shows 50% of the underlying image and requires at least two or three applies to eliminate the underlying picture.