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Easy Steps To Create Your Own Brushes in Photoshop

Knowing how to make your own brushes comes in real handy when working in Photoshop. Learn how to create your own brushes using references and simple adjustments in the brush panel. Let’s get started!

Software: Adobe Photoshop CS6 Extended

Difficulty: Beginner

Completion Time: 30 minutes

Images Used For This Tutorial

Abstract hand drawn watercolor background for background or textures: 11686240 © Olga Popova

Stock Photo - Abstract hand drawn watercolor background, for backgrounds or textures

Isolated set of black ethnic tribal feathers: 25633723 © Liudmila Horvath

Vector - Isolated Set of black ethnic tribal feathers

Smoke isolated on black background:33456095 ©rangizzz

Stock Photo - Smoke isolated on black background

Easy Watercolor Brush

Step 1

Open up your watercolor reference in Photoshop. We’ll first need to adjust the paint splatter to show more detail.


Add a new adjustment layer of Brightness/Contrast. Adjust the Brightness to -46 and the Contrast to 29.

Step 2

Now go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and give your brush the new name, “Watercolor Brush.”

Step 3

Click to select the option for Pen Pressure Sensitivity for Opacity, and have fun trying out your new brush!

Simple Scatter Brush

Step 1

A scatter brush is perfect for creating a cool, randomized effect. Open your feather reference into Photoshop and use the Lasso Tool (L) to select one feather. Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset, and name it “Feather Brush.”

Step 2

Let’s go to your Brush Panel (F5). Select the Scattering option and place a check mark for Both Axes. Then select Brush Tip Shape, moving the Spacing to 30%.

Step 3

Have fun trying out your new scatter brush!

Realistic Smoke Brush

Step 1

For this last brush open your smoke reference into Photoshop. For the best brush effect, we need to invert the picture so that the background is white and the smoke is gray. To do this, go to Image > Adjustments > Invert.

Step 2

For more contrast in the smoke, add an adjustment layer of Levels. Set the Shadows to 14, the Midtones to 0.75, and the Highlights to 212.

Step 3

Once you’re done, merge the layers together. Experiment with different colors for a delightful smoke effect.

All done! Creating custom brushes in Photoshop is just that easy! Follow these simple steps and have fun making your own!

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