Photoshop Class: Quick and Easy Brushes!

I use Photoshop all the time, but I hadn’t ever made any brushes.  I figured there are a ton of good brushes out there, why make my own? And I figured it was complicated.  But then I realized how easy they were to make, and that they could be really useful web work, using them basically as ‘stamps’ to create graphics that you use over and over. I used this technique to make the swirl for the Foodwhirl logo into a brush I could use whenever I needed it — easy peasy!

Here’s a quick 2 Step tutorial on how to easily make them, hope you find it useful!

Example 1: Make a brush with transparency, from scratch.

Open a new file and create your shape. I created a 2000×2000 pixel file, Grayscale, with a transparent background (White background is fine too). Then I drew the black oval filling most of the space, and added a gray swirl to it. I then Trimmed it down to just the shape. Either white or transparent will show up as transparent on your brush. Shades of gray will be semi-transparent.

Then I Defined the Brush Preset : Go to the Edit menu, pick Define Brush Preset.  Enter a name, and you’re done!  (Click to see these screenshots larger)

Now you’re ready to use it! Just pick the brush-it should be at the bottom of your Brushes dropdown, pick the size, pick a color, and use it..

Example 2: Make a solid brush from an existing image.

So, what if you have an image that you want to make into a brush?
In this example, I wanted a brush of the Twitter bird.
I snagged the image from Twitter, turned it grayscale, and inverted it. Now it’s got a gray background and black center. The black center is what I want (black will be solid), but I want it surrounded by white. So I’m going to use Levels to get it just black and white.
Click on “Create New Fill or Adjustment Layer” on the Layers box, and choose Levels.

Then move the sliders until your image is just black and white. (You can darken or lighten grays this way, just play around with it).
(Zooming in helps)

Then just Define a New Brush Preset, and you’re ready to go!