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Dual Brushes In the Brushes Settings Photoshop Panel Tutorial Beginner's Guide

By Andrew Buckle, Video Tutorial Creator / Designer

Updated : 2021


Brushes are not cast in stone, they can be modified in countless ways and one of the more powerful features is the dual brushes feature, perhaps not the greatest name but it is still a super useful feature of Photoshop Brushes and can modify any brush in all kinds of unique ways.


As the dual brush is a combo, any number of combos are possible, even from your basic set up of say 100 brushes, clearly you could have dual brushes of 100 x 100 brushes (you can use the same brush but modify the settings to radically change it as you can modify the spacing, size, mode, scattering etc so even the 10,000 possible brushes from a basic set of settings would be impressive, add into the mix a variety of spacing and scattering settings and all kinds of different brushes can be created.


So where is the dual settings feature in the brushes settings, well the brush settings can be found via the window menu and you can then go down the left side and see dual brushes. Go to that panel and you will see a selection of brushes. This is not laid out in the standard brush panel, which is a pity. Still, you can simply select a brush in the dual brush panel and you now have a dual brush but it is quite possible little has changed as you may have the wrong blend mode or the wrong scattering etc (the scattered particles do not go extend beyond the current brush). Luckily there is a preview but the preview is fairly small, it is a pity there is no brush creator pad to work on to quickly try out the brush stroke (beyond on the document itself)


You can increase the size of the dual brush to create more sizable particles in the stream of particles, you can increase the size of the spacing so you can see bigger gaps between the particles or you can set it low and have a more concentrated dual brush.




You can scatter the dual brush particles beyond the brush by using scattering and especially useful is the both axes option.


You can increase or decrease the concentration by changing the count setting. Sadly there is no option to modify any of these settings by pressure, angle etc nor is there any hue / saturation feature as that would be impressive with brushes filled with colored particles.


The 'particles' mentioned being the brush dabs and they can be anything so you can have thin line brush strokes and spots and scratchy rough designs and much more.




The dual brush combinations can be great fun to explore and in many ways it is a pity that Adobe have never added a randomizer feature to their brush panel as it would be great to explore many different combos to create the perfect dual brush in Photoshop.


You definitely should not avoid the mode at the top of the panel. Try out all the modes with your dual brush as linear height is very different from darken. It does seem odd that Adobe didn't add erase / subtract as well as difference etc to the list. There is an erase like feature if you use the brush strokes on layers and then you will see linear height works and a negative space on the brush stroke.


It should be noted that the dual brushes depend on the original brush size, if you change that you will see more or less of the particles and if you change the spacing the combo of two brushes, the end result can vary greatly such as having pulse of brush stroke instead of a continuous stream of brush stroke.




The dual brushes are even more effective in Photoshop if you use them on a layer and then go to the layer styles panel and add layer styles such as bevels or shadows. Also, when the dual brushes are applied on a layer you can also change the blending mode of the layer and create interesting color combinations of the new dual brushes.


It should be noted that the dual brush is effective with the standard paint brush tool not the other tools. It is a pity that the dual brush does not work with all of them.