How to make a brush in Photoshop yourself | Lesson | Photo, video, optics


The brush in Photoshop is an indispensable tool not only for a digital artist, but also for a photographer. Repainting objects, working with masks, retouching dodge & burn — here a brush is used in one way or another.

But what if you want to quickly add hair or eyelashes, add freckles or texture to the skin, light or shine to objects, birds in the background, grass or smoke? This can also be done with brushes.

We’ll show you how to create a brush in Photoshop from your own drawing and from stock images.

You can create your own unique set of brushes for Photoshop that suits you (and then sell it to subscribers)! / Source:

How to make a brush in Photoshop from another picture?

Want a brush with realistic strands of hair, clouds, smoke, flying birds or highlights? If you haven’t graduated from art school, then drawing this from scratch will be an overwhelming task. But Photoshop allows you to quickly create a brush from any image — photos, drawings, vector icons and logos.

1. Open a photo or drawing in the program.

2. Just in case, create a duplicate of the layer. For this on the layer background in the palette Layers right click and select Create a duplicate layer / Duplicate Layer. An alternative is the hotkeys Ctrl + J.

3. Click the left mouse button on the resulting copy. Convert an image from color to black and white. To do this, go to Image / Image – Correction / Adjustment – ​​Black and white / Black&White or press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + U.

B/W translation is needed to understand what the brush will be like and whether it needs to be finalized / Illustration by the author

Everything in the image that becomes black becomes a brush, white remains transparent. That is, if you create a brush from a photo of black birds on a white sky, then the birds will turn into a brush, and the sky will disappear.

4. Refine the future brush if the result did not satisfy you. This is not required, but a possible step.

What can be done:

  • Invert the image so that the black becomes white and the white becomes black. To invert colors in an image, press the hotkey Ctrl + I.
If you leave the future brush in its original form, without inversion, then where the glare is, there will be a transparent area / Illustration by the author

Why is this needed? For example, you want a brush with smoke or a beam of light (as in the screenshot). White smoke or light cannot be photographed against a white background to be visible. That is why all such photographs will look like this: a light object on a dark background. But, if you simply discolor such a photo and turn it into a brush, then where there should be smoke or light, there will be an empty space and only the background will remain.

  • Refine the picture with the Levels tool.
In order to find the level, go to Image / Image — Correction / Adjustment — Levels / Levels, standing on a layer with a discolored blank / Illustration by the author

Your task is to move the sliders so that the picture becomes more contrast — the dark becomes blacker, and the light becomes even whiter. This is important if there are a lot of gray areas on your future brush after converting to black and white. If white = transparent and black will form a brush shape, then everything gray is translucent.

After working with the levels, the future highlight brush has become more contrast / Illustration by the author

If you do not need translucency, remove it, increasing the contrast of the future brush. For example, you want a moon brush, and because the sky is not completely white (of course, after inverting colors!), An unnecessary haze appears around the moon.

  • Remove everything that you do not need on the future brush with a brush! Yes, yes, you can take white color and paint everything that you don’t need with the simplest round brush.

For example, if you want to create a brush not from the whole photo, but from its part (for example, in the picture the smoke comes from a cigarette, and you only need smoke), then you can simply paint over the cigarette, leaving only the smoke.

Preparation for the future brush-light. With a white brush we paint over the candle, with a black one — the wick inside the flame / Illustration by the author

5. The future brush is almost ready. To turn an image into a brush and save it, go to Editing / Edit — Define brush / Define Brush Preset .

Immediately after the program will prompt you to name the brush — do this so that you can easily find it / Illustration by the author

Ready! The created brush will appear at the very bottom of the list with the rest of the brushes. To find it, take a tool Brush (hotkey B) and left-click on the drop-down list on the tool settings panel.

All brushes you create will appear in this location / Illustration by the author

How to make Photoshop brushes from your drawing?

If creating a brush from ready-made pictures is boring, you want to stand out and create something of your own and completely for yourself, make your own brush from scratch! We’ll show you how to do it below.

1. Create a new document of arbitrary size: File / File — New / New (hot keys Ctrl + N).

It is important that the canvas is white. To do this, select Layer Fill / Background Contents — White / White / Illustration by the author

2. Draw your future brush. To do this, take on the toolbar on the left the most common Brush (hotkey B).

Be sure to draw only in black or gray if you want the brush to be translucent somewhere / Illustration by the author

3. To convert the drawing to a brush, go to Editing / Edit — Define brush / Define Brush Preset.

The program instantly reads the image and before saving it will offer you to name the brush for convenience / Illustration by the author

Click OK. The brush you’ve drawn will appear in the Brush tool’s drop-down list.


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