Technique Thursday - Photoshop Brush Basics

Thursday, March 17, 2011
I received a question this week from a photoshop user who has been creating scrap pages for over 2 years.  She was afraid it was a stupid question and I reminded her that there are no stupid questions only stupid answers.  
She asked how she can use the abr file for brushes as she had never done this before.
So this week I want to show you how easy it is to load brushes into your photoshop program.

There are several ways so let's go through them and you can decide which way is best for you.
Open your photoshop.

Option 1: 
In the brush panel, click on the little drop down box in the right hand top corner to access the menu.  
Browse to your .abr brush file and click on the file to highlight and click LOAD.

Now they are the bottom of your brushes in your panel.

Option 2: 
From the top menu, EDIT>PRESET MANAGER
Click on LOAD
Again, browse to your .abr brush file, click on it and click on LOAD.

Option 3:  My preferred method for CS.  I'm on a Mac, but I believe this works for PC too. 
As I am browsing my brush files in my brush folder using Finder on my Mac, I simple click and drag the .abr file I want to my PS icon to load it automatically.  Or I just double click the .abr file and it automatically loads into photoshop also.

Now if you have an older version of photoshop and you can not use .abr files don't fear, there's a solution.  
Open the png file that came with your brushes.  Most designers will include them also.
Command/Control Click on the layer icon to select everything on that layer.
Give your brush a name and click OK.
Now your brush is in your palette and will stay there until you remove it.

If you do several of these and want to save as a set. 
Select the brushes you want to make into a set by clicking on each of the brush icons holding your CTRL/CMD+clicking on each one.
Select "SAVE SET"
Name it and browse to the folder you want to save it to.

NOTE: Brushes can not be larger than 2500 pixels wide or high, or just about 8" in a 300ppi canvas.  So if you are creating a brush and the Define Brush Preset is grayed out, most likely that is why.  Or you don't have your item selected. ;)  

WARNING  You can have too many brushes loaded into your palette and it will slow down your program and possibly crash your photoshop AND you WILL loose all the brushes that you created since you started your program.  I'm saying this from experience!  

I'm a brushaholic!  This especially happens when I have lots of very large brushes. And I create many many brushes to use while designing.  When there's a hundred brushes in that panel, I know I will soon bog down or crash and have to unload ones I'm not using.
I can reset and load only the brushes I want to use OR I can old my ALT/OPTION key down on each brush icon in the brush panel and delete only so many of these. 

Hope this was informative and if you ever have a question, know that we are here to help.  You can email the shop in the contact us page or ask in the help forum.  Remember, no question is stupid. ;)

Till next time,


  1. CraftCrave said...:

    Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [18 Mar 01:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria

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