Photoshop Brushes for CC CS6 CS5 CS4 Elements and PSP / Affinity Photo etc > Best Photoshop brushes CC CS5 CS4 CS6 2015 Elements Affinity Photo PSP inc. stars, ink, rough, spirals

Brushes for Photoshop / Elements / PSP / Affinity Photo etc - 100,000+ different designs royalty free

photoshop brushes for elements and psp stars


License / What can I do with the Photoshop brushes

They are for commercial use as well as personal use, you can use the preset to create items that can be used to create new items for sale CU4CU and more. You can use them to create logos, books, illustrations, textiles, adverts, packaging, leaflets, hats, fabrics, items for resale, scrapbooking, t-shirts, fashions, ceramics, 3D, posters, caps, shoes and much more.


If you have any questions about the uses of the presets please contact us via our contact page (email, twitter, youtube videos message board etc)


Open ABR

ABR format - how to open them

The standard format for Photoshop brushes is ABR. The ABR format is mainly for PS and PS Elements but the format now can be read in a number of applications though as there are different versions of ABR you may find that the format is not compatible with your application (that is why I have added many free ABR files on this site in the sampler sections so you can try them out).


How to load and open them. The first thing is that with PS you don't need to add them to a particular folder or directory but it is probably best to do so and that folder in the brushes folder found in the presets section for PS. For PS Elements, it is best that they are in that folder anyway. You can add them to the user folder or the application's preset section.


You can also load the ABR files in other ways such as using the edit menu preset manager.


You can also load the ABR files via the preset panel for the brushes and use the right side menu to load and replace the ABR files. If the ABR files have been added to the presets folder then the items will appear in the preset's list and they can be quickly loaded that way.


Another option is to just right click the ABR files to load them by selecting the open command in that context menu. You can also drag the ABR files into the application to load them in some versions as well as open and load them via the file open command.



How to use the PNGs in other applications

Many of the sets also include PNG files (or eps etc) and they can be used in many more applications than just Photoshop.


If you are using a Photoshop brushes / PNG files then you can load the file in many different ways as well you can use the file open command as well as the file place command in PS as well as many other applications.


The PNG file can be used as a stroke but it can also be used as a great source for patterns as well as environment maps and textures etc or it can be used as a layers or just used as a background and you can then add and remove elements from the image.


In Photoshop, once you have open the file then the next step is to add it to the presets panel via the edit menu define command. Once that has been done, you will see a small thumbnail added to the preset panel.


To use, you can select one of the paint tools / smudge tool / clone tool and then select the icon in the preset panel and then use the item.



Use with actions

The Photoshop brushes can be used with the actions panel. They can be used to create amazing effects and can be used over and over. You can combine them with plugin filters and more. They are also useful if you have the PNG set and you want to just load the whole lot in one go. Actions are good, actions can be great and a super time saver instead of doing the tasks manually


The PNG sets all include an action set to load and store the artworks into the panel so you don't have to do it manually.


You can also create your own actions simply by going to the actions panel and recording the set of edit and define brush command and close the file. The key thing here is you can do that but you can also extend it much further by adding into the mix a whole range of effects to modify the stroke file and so you can create blurry designs and poster edge and camera raw or oil paint effect strokes as well as just the ones supplied. To use the actions, just go to the batch process command found in the file menu and run that with the action and the folder containing the files supplied.


You can also use the actions with the Photoshop brushes by recording them using the right side menu and select the record tools / brushes option and though it is not a perfect feature and it does not allow for much variation it does mean they can be recorded and played back and that can be useful to creating all kinds of weird and wonderful imagery. Say you run the action once and then add a blur effect, run the action again and the strokes will be all added in the same positions but now on top of the original effect (of course, a simple workaround to this is that you just duplicate the layer). The good thing about this is that you can change some of the factors in the recording to create variants of the artwork so they don't have to be exactly the same but close enough. The recording is not as good as the features in Painter application.



Use with libraries

The Photoshop brushes do not need to be just accessed via ABR or PNG. You can use them via the new CC libraries feature.


Either create a single (or even multiple strokes) in a document and then drag that layer into the CC library to save it in the library. Another option is to click the add graphic button at the bottom of the library panel. That is probably the quickest way for an ABR stroke.


If you are using one of the PNG files, open the document and then drag that to the CC library panel or click the add graphic


Once you have the artwork stored in the CC library, it is now secure and also backed up and you can access it at any time. To restore it as a stroke then simply drag from the library and click return to place the document. Select the artwork or part of the artwork you want and then use the edit menu define brush command


The good thing about the libraries is that the material is then accessible via the other parts of the Creative Cloud and you can use them as Illustrator brushes as well as just in Adobe PS


As Patterns

Also use as a source for patterns

You can add the Photoshop brushes to a document and add them in different sizes and different colors (as well as different angles etc) and you can then select the entire work or part of the work and then use the edit menu define pattern command to save it as a source for patterns (a good filter to use in this is the offset filter as that will shift the tile and allow for additional strokes to be added across the old 'seams').


Another option, if you are using the PNG files, is to load the file via the place command or open command and then use the define pattern command and the artwork is then added to the patterns panel. The brush files are often only in grayscale but you can always use adjustment layers to re-color the work and create more interesting tiles. As many of the files include transparency, you can also use that transparency to combine the artwork with layer effects and add bevels as well as color overlays and gradients and add that as a pattern via the define pattern command.


You can also use all the above but with the addition of some of the effects (some effects add additional material to the edge of image so you will have an artificial seam added to your tile and perhaps one that is very faint, it will still be noticeable if you use it with the fill / layer effects). All kinds of stunning new tiles can be created this way by using the effects (third party as well as native ones)


You don't have to use the entire stroke, you can use part of a design by using the selection tools and then defining that as a new tile. The result may end up with a seam but in many cases, that will not be an issue and maybe a useful part of the design.


You can also create more complex artworks by blending multiple stroke PNG files, so just bring in stroke 1 and 2 and 3 and then use blending modes or different positions to combine them into an amazing combo tile which can then also be defined. A single set of strokes can be used to create 1000s of amazing tiles.


Above, I have been talking about Photoshop but the same can be done in many other applications such as Painter and Clip Studio Paint and Affinity Photo to name only a few. You can also use the seamless tiles as a great source for displacement maps or materials for 3D models and much more.


You can use the results in tools such as layer effects, brush textures, healing tool, patch tool, fill, paint bucket and fill content



They Work with PNG Strokes

If Photoshop brushes PNGs included

Adobe Photoshop CC 2014 2015 CS6 5 4 3 2 1 & 7 6 & Elements 14 13 12 11 10 9 etc & standalone

Illustrator CC 2015 2014 - 10

Illustrator 17 - 10

PaintShop Pro X8 X7 - PSP 8

Corel Painter




3D Studio Max


Microsoft Word



Affinity Designer

Clip Studio Paint

Affinity Photo

Adobe Fireworks

and many more



Using EPS brushes

Though the discussion has been about raster format files, a number of the sets also include EPS files instead and these can be used in exactly the same way though the major difference is that the EPS format files are all vectors though they are rasterized on import into PS as well as PSP etc and you have to specify a size for them


Another thing about the EPS Photoshop brushes is that they can be edited in Illustrator as well as a number of other vector apps and they can then be re-imported into PS and PSP etc with the new designs.


If you import them into Adobe PS (via the place command), you can use them as smart objects in PS and use them as an infinite number of brush strokes simply by re-sizing them (and still keeping the sharpness of the vector) along with the ability to add additional paths into the mix as well as any number of effects and adjustments. The adjustments are perhaps more useful for the artwork as a layer than a stroke but some of the adjustments can radically change the dab.


The EPS files can be useful also as a source for raster format files such as PNG if you use them with online converters or any number of conversion programs such as Irfanview which is also a great application for viewing the artworks as well as optimizing and converting the works. Sadly it does not read ABR files though.



Preset browsers

One feature that has been lacking since whenever has to be a preset browser. Adobe Bridge, Photoshop etc should be able to browse ABR etc presets files but even with 2015, there is still no feature to quickly scan through all the ABR sets. I suppose it didn't matter when the number of ABR files was in the tens and hundreds but now you can find thousands and thousands of ABR files and to search for the perfect dab is a tough one.


There are a few browsers around and one that I use, Tumasoft Preset Viewer Breeze is decent app to scan through all the ABR (and CSH and PAT etc files) and it can be used for computed, textured etc strokes as well. You can also export the ABR to PNG etc format. Weirdly it also has a font viewer. It runs with Adobe Air and is a standalone application.



Use with all the tools and preset settings

The Photoshop brushes presets can be used with most of the tools in the toolbox such as the paint, pencil tool, mixer, blur, sharpen, smudge, eraser, dodge, burn, sponge, art history, history etc and they all have their particular settings as well as uses.


You can use them with the blending mode (darken, multiply, difference, dissolve, lighten, screen, color dodge, luminosity etc) though the actual number of modes depends on the tool itself as well as the color mode so if you are using the strokes in LAB you will find some tool have no lighten option and likewise you will find some of the blending mode settings are not available if you select a single channel


You can also use the tools with the opacity (you can modify the opacity settings by using an art pad and pen with the transfer section) as well as many other settings such as shape dynamics / scattering / texture / dual / color dynamics and many more and all the results can be saved as a new preset in the brush preset panel. All the settings for the scattering etc are saved via the panel.


You can also use the tool preset (far left along the top bar) to save the color along with the scattering, spacing etc (there does seem to be excessive preset types). When you save the preset, it can be saved for the current tool along with the current color as well as color variations. When you come to save the presets in that panel, instead of ABR format, they are saved as TPL files.


Change color

Changing the color of brush tool

Many of the tools have no color so the color does not matter if you use the art history or dodge tool.


If you use the Photoshop brushes with the standard paint tool then you can change the color of that tool via the foreground color picker in the toolbar. You can also modify the color by using the color dynamics section the brush panel. You can change foreground / background jitter, hue jitter, brightness jitter etc. The range of color manipulation tools is limited (compared with some such as Painter) but they are still effective.


You can also add the brush strokes to a layer and then change all the colors by using an adjustment layer (such as hue / saturation etc). You can also convert the layer with the strokes into a smart object and then add an adjustment to the smart object and modify the color that way.


With style

Use with layer effects

The key thing to using them with layer effects is that the artwork is on a layer and also the layer has transparency. If it doesn't have any transparency, the layer effects are not so effective. You can create the art on a layer by using the Photoshop brushes via the paint tool in the toolbar or you can simply import the PNG files and place them as a layer.


Once you have the strokes added to a layer and one with transparency there are three ways to apply the styles and that is via the styles panel as well as via the layer menu and layer as well as with the new creative cloud, CC libraries. Once you have applied the style to the brush stroke you can then manipulate the shadow and gradient and bevel etc to create a whole range of amazing styled strokes (of course, if you turn the stroke into a smart object you can also combine all those layer effects with standard filter effects as well as adjustments)


Once you have your artwork, you can use it as a layer but you can also simply save it to the CC libraries and use it as a new stroke at some later point or perhaps save it to the preset's panel via the edit menu define command.


Color modes

How to use them in different color modes

The Photoshop brushes can also be used in different color modes so they can be used in RGB as well as LAB and CMYK as well as indexed and even in bitmap. Certain functionality in these other modes may be lost but the strokes can be used in their basic painting role. You will probably also find things such as blur tool and smudge tool are not available in certain color modes. You can, of course, always convert the image and then convert back to standard RGB


You can also, weirdly, define an image via other color modes so turn an image into a bitmap etc and then use the define to create some very unusual dabs for your projects such as very coarse rough print strokes using the bitmap mode



How to use them with video timeline

If you add the Photoshop brushes as a layer then you can also use them in video timeline. You can find this via the timeline menu command in the window menu. The timeline means you can animate them in albeit a limited way but with a little creativity, all kinds of animations can be created using these basic tools


The animation feature allows for the position and layer style and opacity of a layer (stroke or otherwise) as well as vector mask position and vector mask enabled to be animated over time. If you convert the stroke into a smart object then even more features become available such as transform which means scaling and rotation and position are available for the artwork.


You can also turn the artwork into a 3D model via the 3D menu and the animation's timeline then includes additional options such as 3D camera position, 3D render settings and 3D cross section and also lights and materials and meshes. A lot to explore.


The key thing is to manipulate the layer such as the position after you have clicked the little timer button for the property to enable keyframe animation. You can then change the time and then the setting and then repeat this for the entire animation and then use the right side menu to render video to MP4 etc format


Adobe PS is never going to be an After Effects but it is still pretty good to be able to manipulate the layers in that way (just wish they would add smart filters and smart adjustments to the mix).




You can use the Photoshop brushes as a flat image / stroke but you can also use the features of the Adobe PS '3D' menu to extrude the designs and create even more amazing and unique artwork from the basic sets of designs. The key thing is to add it as a layer and then you can use the new extrusion from path and layer as well as well as using depth maps. The depth maps offer a lot of area to explore and can be used to create some truly unique models especially if you combine a stroke with different colorful fills etc - the cylinder option alone can be used to create very weird models.


Both approaches can result in some truly unique artworks that can be manipulated via the properties panel and 3D panel (as well as adding unique lights and cameras and environments to the layer).


You can manipulate the models in many ways such as using bevels, different deforms and more (the selection is fairly limited to many other tools in the field but at the same time, for a casual user of 3D work, the Adobe PS approach is fairly easy to use and change.


Once you have manipulated the 3D layer then you can print the item (all the strokes on this site can be printed though you would have to read the license details for any other third party strokes) and render them and use them as a new layer (and once you have the new layer, the result can be fed back into the 3D commands to create even more extreme and unique designs or perhaps combine the strokes with filters such as oil paint). There are many interesting settings to be had for the renders.


You can also save the 3D layer to a number of formats such as OBJ, DAE etc and the result can then be imported into a wide range of tools such as Poser and Daz Studio etc (oh, would it not be great if Adobe had a 3D application)


As images

How to use them as images in Photoshop

They are great as Photoshop brushes but they can also be used as basic images in their own right. If you want to add a rabbit or a single hen or dog etc to an image then you can just by opening and copying the artwork into your document, you can also use the place command to add the item as a layer and position the artwork as you wish and perhaps re-size and rotate and add other transformations and effects.


You can also use them as smart objects and blur them or add watercolors etc.


You can also just use them as a background or perhaps an overlay over an image. If you are using the creative cloud, you can also import the items into Illustrator and use the trace tool to turn the artwork into a vector and then copy that back into PS etc as a vector artwork which can be set to any size.


You can use the items with adjustments to re-color the images as well as use with threshold etc and other adjustments.


You can also use the PNG images in other apps as images, such as using the file place command in Affinity Photo etc and then combine that with other parts of the artwork. They are definitely not just limited to be used as dabs.


Affinity Photo

How to use them in Affinity Photo

The Photoshop brushes can be used in a number of ways in Affinity Photo and that depends on the format.


1) ABR files (though not the ones on this site as the format needs to be the latest CC ABR format) can be loaded via the brushes panel via the right side menu and the import command. If you do select an incorrect ABR it will just fail to load. It is a pity that the older (and probably more common) ABR files are not supported. You can always open the ABR in Adobe PS and then just use the save them as a new CC ABR


2) Use the same panel but go to the right side menu and use the new image brush command and then select a PNG file etc (it does not work with EPS though). It does respect transparency if the original PNG file has transparency. Double click the generated icon in the panel and you will see the edit panel appear and you can then change the size, hardness, spacing, flow, rotation, blend mode, wet edges, associated tool along with a whole range of jitter settings such as size jitter, rotation jitter etc. Textures can also be set as well as using additional dabs Image brush tutorial (youtube)


3) Another option is to just select one of the current tools and use the duplicate command at the bottom of the edit panel and then change the dab setting etc from the current one. If you just edit the stroke without the duplication, the existing brush stroke will be lost.


Once you have loaded the stroke, you can then use it throughout the application such as adding dabs, using them with filters such as mirror etc, using them with smudge tool, paint mixer and more


Video tutorials

Video tutorials on the subject of the brush strokes

Making Photoshop Brushes Tutorial

A quick guide to how to make them. Clearly there are infinite ways to make them but they all still bundle down to one single command in PS and that is the edit menu define command.


Photoshop Brushes from Photos Tutorial

This is a quick guide to how to use photos to create them


Create weird 3D models using the tools (youtube)

In this video tutorial I am using a spiral design but, of course, you could use any number of artworks to create these models. Adobe PS comes with a number of intresting ways to create 3D models (though probably not as many as an actual purpose built application) and my favourite has to be the depth maps if you want to create the weird and distorted and oddball ones. The cylinder depth map is a good one, sphere as well can be used to create some truly oddball designs. Anyway, this video explores some ways to use the brush strokes to create unique designs. This is a video on by Andrew Buckle /


Part 1 video using spirals and 3D (youtube)

The Photoshop brushes can be used as a great source for all kinds of interesting colorful backgrounds by using the strokes on a layer and then using the 3D controls to create a depth map and that in turn has been manipulated by using various filter effects. Part 2 combining Photoshop and Affinity Photo (youtube) The results of the previous video are now then fed into creating another 3D model (which has a lot more details) and that is duplicated across multiple layers and then the result of that combined with effects such as oil is fed into Affinity Photo. Affinity Photo has lots of great effects and a couple that are not matched in Photoshop are mirror and deform. The strokes now are virtually unrecognisable and the deform can be used to distort the image in millions of ways and the results of that can then be fed into mirror which is a powerful tool for creating symmetry effects. Part 3 Going back into Photoshop and creating additional models (youtube) In this part, all the results of the previous two are brought together and then the image is further manipulated using color effects and oil and the design is again turned into a 3D design using the plane approach. This is then flattened and the image is again manipulated using oil etc



Brushes sites

There are many different sites out there with free Photoshop brushes as well as ones with actual information, really depends on what you are looking for.


CreativeBloq is an interesting site with a selection of links to a variety of sites and some interesting designs such as ink strokes, rough ones, noise effects etc