How to use Photoshop brushes with image / color modes tutorial

Tutorial on how to use Photoshop brushes with image modes (such as RGB and CMYK and LAB etc) to create stunning color designs . Photoshop brushes can be used in any image mode / color mode.

Image/ color modes and Photoshop brushes

how to use image modes (CMYK etc) with Photoshop brushes tutorial
  1. Image menu

  2. Mode followed by CMYK (or LAB etc)

  3. Go to the brush tools in the toolbar

  4. Apply stroke in CMYK color mode etc

  5. To go back to RGB, just go back to the same image menu and select the RGB option

You can use the Photoshop brushes in image mode RGB as well as image mode CMYK and LAB. You can apply brush strokes in CMYK and then convert back to RGB image mode. You can apply Photoshop brushes to individual channels in the image modes of CMYK and LAB to create interesting designs. You can also use the Photoshop brushes to great effect with image mode RGB and 32bit per channel. The resulting conversion back to image mode 8bit RGB via HDR toning creates some interesting Photoshop brush effects. This tutorial shows you a number of steps of converting files to other image modes and using the Photoshop brushes in those image modes. The tutorial also shows the result of HDR toning from image mode 32bit to 8bits per channel. You can use the Photoshop brushes in CMYK / LAB and other color / image modes / models as well as RGB.

CMYK Color / image mode and Photoshop brushes

 color CMYK image mode photoshop brushes

You can also apply the brush stroke to CMYK's color channels

  1. Image menu

  2. Mode

  3. CMYK

  4. Channel panel

  5. Select individual cyan, magenta channels via the channels panel.

  6. Add brush strokes


You can use the dabs in CMYK to create some truly extreme color effects, especially combined with the black channel.

LAB color image mode and Photoshop brushes

 color lab image mode photoshop brushes
  1. Image menu

  2. Mode

  3. LAB

  4. Apply the brush stroke to LAB image

You can also apply the strokes in different colors to LAB channels L and AB channels via the channels panel


The generated dabs seem to be a lot more subtle in LAB mode, more diffuse.

32 bits / channel and Photoshop brushes color RGB

photoshop brushes image modes color 32bit

The RGB option is available for 32 bits channel mode via the image mode menu. In 16 bits / channel RGB LAB CMYK are available for the strokes. Some of the filters are not available in the 32bits etc.


I have been using the default standard soft round brush stroke. With 32bit and 16bit channel, you also have the added feature of the HDR toning when you convert back to RGB 8bit so the results can be displayed on web pages etc and the HDR toning has a large number of presets as well as settings to either create very close to the same result Visually) in 8bit and 32bits per channel but you can also use the settings to invert / grayscale / added saturation etc.


The result can be very different from the actual generated brush strokes.


1. overlay and texture brushes

2. number brushes 1234567890

3. link brushes

Sources and references

1. Image modes

Video tutorial

A video showing the use of the strokes in Adobe ® Photoshop ® in CMYK LAB etc [Youtube]


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The graphic design products are priced in US dollars but they can also be bought in Euros, Yen, UK pounds, etc though please note that there may be additional taxes applicable which will be handled in the secure checkout. If you have any questions or queries about the products, please let us know and I will try and help by e-mail or via youtube etc. You can also add additional products as well as download protection and also purchase a physical CD via the The brushes and patterns etc work in a variety of applications and there are many freebie / samplers available to test them on your system before any purchase but again, if you have any concerns that the brushes etc will work with your favourite application, please let us know. The quickest way is probably to leave a message on our facebook page. The designs can be used as brushes and patterns and shapes etc but they can also be used just as images or layers as well as displacement maps or overlays or masks etc so even if the product is listed as a brush or shape, you can often also use the artwork as a layer and use the layer multiple times in the same project to create all kinds of unique and wonderful designs. The products on this site are copyright of Andrew Buckle but any products and artworks you create with these items are your copyright.