advanced photoshop

Feature preview: A complete guide to brushes

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Magazine previews, by Anna-lisa Saywell

Everything that you need to know about Photoshop’s powerful brush engine, customising brushes and adapting them to your needs

Feature preview: A complete guide to brushes

The brush engine in Photoshop is very powerful, but the menus and palettes that are associated with it are easy to understand once you know what options you need to look out for.

3. Create your own brush

Custom brushes are the best way to make your paintings more personal and are really easy to create. You can turn any photo into a brush, but ideally you want the shape to be on a plain background, for a more defined brush.

■ Create a file: In Photoshop, create a new file and set it to 2,500 x 2,500px, which is the largest your brush can be – it’s best to go big as you can always use it at a smaller size. Set it to Grayscale as brushes are monochrome.

■ Import your picture: Now open your photo and paste it into your new document. Use the adjustment tools to edit the levels, contrast and brightness so that the details of your brush are crisp and defined.

■ Define your brush: When you are happy, go to Edit> Define Brush Preset. You can then save it to your Brush panel ready for future use. Group all of your custom brushes into a new set so that you can find them easily.

This is just a sample of what’s included. Read more in Advanced Photoshop 120, on sale now at and