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Affinity Photo and import Photoshop brush ABR tutorial

affinity Photo and import of Photoshop brushes

A quick guide for Affinity Photo and importing / loading / adding Photoshop brushes in ABR format into Affinity 1.5 1.4 etc. ABR Photoshop brushes can be used in Affinity Photo. You can use the most recent versions of Photoshop brushes ABR and not the earlier format files. The Photoshop brushes ABR are imported / loaded / added via the Affinity Photo view and studio command 'brushes' panel. Once you in the brushes panel, go to the right side menu and use the import command to import the ABR into Affinity Photo. This is a great way to access 1000s and 1000s of amazing Photoshop brushes in Affinity Photo. Once you have imported the ABR Photoshop brushes, a message will be displayed. You can then select the brushes via the panel and the correct category. You can then modify the Photoshop brushes imported designs such as changing the size as well as scattering etc. You can also then export the brushes from Affinity Photo. You can also import PNG files into Affinity Photo via the brushes panel. This tutorial shows how you can load ABR files (from the web or your own brushes) into Affinity Photo and how you can then modify the ABR designs. The tutorial also shows you how to re-save the strokes to the Affinity Photo format

  1. Start up Affinity Photo

  2. Go to the view and studio command

  3. Select the brushes. You will now see the brushes panel.

  4. Go to the right side menu of the brushes panel

  5. Use the import command. you will see a dropdown with menu options such as a create a new category and 'import brushes' select that

  6. Browse for the correct format ABR file.

Earlier formats of ABR

Affinity Photo import of brushes will reject an early format ABR files (sadly, they clearly are not supported which is a pity as my site has quite a number in that format). It will take a few seconds or more to import the Photoshop brushes into Affinity Photo depending on the the number of the brushes etc. This does mean you have access to millions of great new brushes in Affinity Photo via the well established ABR format. If ok, you will see the message on the right. Of course, it would be great if you could just drag and drop the brushes sets into affinity photo and it would import them all in one quick go

ABR for Affinity Photo

imported ABR files from Photoshop

You must be using a recent ABR format file, you cannot import ABR format files from Photoshop 6 etc. The Photoshop brushes import into Affinity Photo will only work with the most recent format of Photoshop ABR brush specifications. The latest versions in Photoshop CC etc should import fine into Affinity Photo.


Please note that many of the brush sets on the site are older ABR format files and you will need to use the PNG or EPS files. Please let us know if that is an issue

Brushes panel and imported ABR brushes

brushes imported into affinity photo

You will now see the ABR format Photoshop brushes imported into the panel and you will be able to select the individual presets. The category for the Photoshop brushes will be the original name but you can always use the rename feature in the menu to give it a more useful name. You can also delete the category to get rid of all the brushes. The brushes will be displayed with their size and a rough idea what they will look like when applied in default. Once you have added the strokes, simply apply them using the standard tools as you would with any of the other brushes supplied in the application.


  1. Select the paint brush tool in the toolbar (as on right)

  2. Select the brush in the brushes panel

  3. Apply

Brush size in Affinity Photo

brushes editing in affinity photo

The imported Photoshop brushes may be very large. The brushes on my site such as are often about 1000 x 1000 or more and most of the brushes in Affinity Photo are normally about 50 x 50 but you can always re-set the size of the brushes. As the original Photoshop brushes are not affected, you can set the size of the brushes as well as the spacing for the import brushes and also other dynamics such as rotation and jitter etc and store that as part of the new brush so you have a more useful and responsive brush set for your toolkit (which is ultimately the whole point of any brushes imported into Affinity Photo or any other application)


  1. view menu

  2. studio

  3. brushes command

  4. select the correct category of brushes

  5. double click the import brush strokes in brushes panel

  6. edit the brush settings such as size etc


or just set the width via the panel along the top when using the paint brush tool etc

Old ABR files and import

If you have an old ABR format file and you have Photoshop then you can still load or import the ABR into Affinity Photo but you will have to go through one extra stage and you will need Photoshop CC for that


  1. Start Photoshop

  2. window menu and brushes presets

  3. Go to the brushes presets panel

  4. load brushes set (old legacy one) via right side menu

  5. save brushes set


You now have an update to date ABR file that can be imported into Affinity Photo

Export of Photoshop brushes imported

export command

You can also export the brushes imported via the same menu and the export command saves the set as a afbrushes format file for possible future re-import into the application


  1. go to the brushes panel

  2. select brushes and delete ones you don't need

  3. use the export brushes command

Import of PNG format (or other formats) into Affinity Photo brushes

new intensity brush PNG in affinity Photo
  1. View menu of Affinity Photo

  2. Studio

  3. Brushes

  4. Right side menu

  5. New intensity brush

  6. select a PNG file

  7. Open


The brush is imported into the current category. Right click the brush in the brushes panel to change the category, name, edit the settings etc

Other tutorials

1. how to use the mirror filter in Affinity Photo for amazing symmetry designs in seconds

2. how to use the lens distortion filter in Affinity Photo for some truly weird distortion image effects tutorial

Free brushes for Affinity Photo etc

Free brushes

Sources and references

1. Affinity Photo brushes