NHS Designs

final brush

Graphic Design Tutorials

Custom Brushes

Define Brush Preset, Brushes Palette

STEP 1: Create a new file

  1. Create a new file:
    1. File > New
    2. Name: lastnamefirstinitial-scatter-brush.psd
    3. Width: 5 inches
    4. Height: 5 inches
    5. Resolution: 72 pixels/inch
    6. Background Contents: White
    7. Click OK.
  2. Create a new layer.
  3. Save the file in My Documents.


STEP 2: Create the brush shape

  1. Select the Lasso tool.
  2. Draw a very abstract shape on Layer 1.

Tip: Draw your shape fairly large. You can later size it down in the brushes panel. If you make it too small, it can lose quality when you try to size it up.

I achieved the hole in my shape by doing a loop.

Step 2 lasso


STEP 3: Gradient Fill

In order to show how varying values can affect the transparency of a brush, we will fill your selection with a gradient. The lighter the area, the more transparent the brush will be.

  1. Select the gradient tool.
  2. In the options bar, open the gradient picker.
  3. Select Black, White (the third one).
  4. Drag a gradient across the selection from top to bottom.
  5. Crtl-D to deselect.
  6. Save your file.

step 3 gradient


STEP 4: Define Brush Preset

Because the background color is white, we don't need to have the brush shape selected to create a brush tip from it.

  1. Edit > Define Brush Preset.
  2. Name your brush and click OK.


STEP 5: Modify Brush Behavior

Now that we've created our brush tip, we need to modify its behavior in the Brushes panel.

  1. Select the Brush tool in the toolbox.
  2. Open the Brushes panel (Window > Brushes).
  3. Click on Brush Tip Shape.
  4. Locate the brush you just created - it should be the last one in the menu (but it might not).

Step 5 tip shape

  1. Click on the words "Shape Dynamics" in the list on the left side of the Brushes panel.
  2. Drag the Size jitter slider all the way to 100%.
  3. Drag Angle Jitter and Roundness to 100% as well.
  4. Click on the words "Scattering" in the list on the left side of the Brushes panel.
  5. Make sure the Both Axes checkbox is checked.
  6. Drag the Scatter Jitter slider to the right to get an effect in the preview window (at the bottom of the panel) that you like.

step 5 scatter


STEP 6: New Tool Preset

In order to use all these modifications to your brush in the future, you'll need to save the Tool Preset. Unless you do this, you will lose all these scattering settings the next time you change any brush settings.

  1. In the Options Bar, click on the down arrow for Click to open the Tool Preset picker (see the top red circle below).
  2. Click on the right-facng arrow at the top of the picker to access the flyout menu (see the second red circle below).
  3. Click on New Tool Preset.
  4. Give the brush settings a name and click OK.

step 6 tool preset

Unfortunately, your brush preset won't be available after today because our computers are reiamged every night. However, it will create a permanent preset just about anywhere else.


STEP 7: Paint

Now let's try your brush.

  1. Turn off the visibility of Layer 1 and create a new layer above it.
  2. Select a foreground color and paint a stroke on the new layer.

step 7 paint

  1. This brush is probably too large for most uses. Reduce the brush size using the Options Bar or using the [ key on your keyboard.

step 7 brush size

  1. Create a new layer at the top of the stack.
  2. Change your foreground color.
  3. Paint a few strokes.
  4. Save your file and turn it in.

step 7 paint


Thanks to Layers Magazine for this tutorial idea by Corey Barker.

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