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How to Load and use Brushes

1) Download your brushes into a folder on your harddrive that is easy to find again. Make sure all of the brushes are unzipped. Keep window open. Make a note of where you downloaded your brushes from and always credit their creator, if not per each project then on your website.

2) Open My Computer and hunt for Program Files on your main harddrive.

3) Click on ADOBE

4) Click on your Adobe Photoshop folder

5) Click on Presets

6) Click on Brushes

7) I actually created a new folder in there that I titled "My Brushes" then copy and paste/drag your brush files into the new folder.

8) Restart your computer and open Photoshop.



1) Open a new or in progress PS file and click on the brush in your tools palette.


2) Click on the Brushes tab located top right hand corner of screen:

3) To access your new brushes click on the CHEVRON located next to the title of the tab at the top of the brush menu. This will bring you to the full menu of brushes that you have uploaded. Generally I go into “My Brushes” and rename the files before I finish uploading them in order to make them easier to locate. Most artists put their name at the beginning of their files – I put it at the end so that my brushes can be sorted by type – IE all of my clouds are together, etc.

4) Select a brush you want to play with, you’ll be asked what you want to do with it – click on APPEND.


5) Click on the main menu again to examine your new brushes. The brush will be sized by how large/small the artist originally created it.


6) Your normally round tip brush will now be turned into the brush shape that you have selected. You want to create a brand new layer, place it where you’d like the brushes to appear on your project. In this case I wanted the brushes to populate behind the center photo so I inserted the new layer below the center layer but above the layers for the top 2 photos.

7) Changing Brush Direction – if you want the brush to be used differently than how it was loaded, it’s easy to change it. Open up the brush menu and click on the top line that reads “BRUSH TIP SHAPE.” This will bring you some editing tools.

8) If you click on the “FLIP X” button it will take your brush and flip it like you’d flip a quarter – what was on the right side is now on the left side.

9) If you click on “FLIP Y”  - it will take your brush and flip it on end so that top will be on the bottom.


10) You can also change the direction of the brush by playing with the circular, directional arrow tool. This will either make your brush narrower/wider or place it in any custom direction that you want.


11) You can change the dynamics of the brush by playing with the rest of the tools such as spacing, coloring, etc. I generally don’t use those settings but prefer to insert my brushes onto my project and then alter them after I’ve placed them where I want them. To do this, goto your project Layer controls and double click on the Layer where you’ve painted the brush that you want to alter. This will bring up your control box. Paint brushes work the same as photos, you can apply any of the advanced Blending tools on them.

12) IF you stay on the Blending Options DEFAULT tab – you can adjust the Blending Mode to give an immediate, dramatic change in your brushes appearance. If you have layers below that layer they will also change in appearance.

For this one I’m taking the dark green brushes and selecting LINEAR DODGE

See what it did to them? It lightened the brushes, removed the original color and picked up highlights from the photo below.

13) You can adjust the opacity by moving the OPACITY slide bar under GENERAL BLENDING and under ADVANCED BLENDING’S “Fill Opacity.”

14) Advanced tools –  You can also use the advanced tools such as emboss and drop shadow to give different FX to your brushwork.


Ultimately there are no set rules on what to do w/ brushes once you get them loaded – but the creative possibilities for customizing them into your artwork are endless! Enjoy!


Tutorial written by RedKryptonClark @