10 Essential Adobe Photoshop Brushes You Should Own
To celebrate ten years of Envato Tuts+, we’re giving away this essential pack of Photoshop brushes! Learn how to create your own, and find more inspiration from our trusted tutorials.
10 Essential Brushes You Should Own
Do you love Photoshop brushes? So do we! Create magical paintings and manipulations with incredible, high-resolution brushes. In this collection of essentials, I’ll show you various basic and texture-based brushes every designer should own.
How to Create Custom Photoshop Brushes
To build the ultimate toolkit, you’ll need amazing Photoshop brushes. They’re super easy to make, and you’ll be glad you made them in the long run.
Here is the method I’ll be using to create most of these brushes. Feel free to leave any questions for more clarification.
I’ll try not to play favorites here, but after painting for nearly ten years, I generally stick with a basic round brush. Here’s the reason:
1 Round Brush = Many, Many Brushes
You see, the Round Brush stands alone. It’s the first brush you’ll get to know and the one you’ll never put down. But you also won’t want to! You can use it for photo editing, painting, calligraphy, and so many other cool projects.
Here are a few examples of the type of magic you can make with a round brush:
This splatter was created using the bristles of a paint brush to flick paint onto paper. If you need some ideas for how to use this brush, consider trying it out on an explosive effect. Or add more debris to a post-apocalyptic scene with just a few clicks.
Learn how to create Gothic photo manipulations with blood and splatter. Give this fun tutorial a try:
When it comes to creating the actual brush, keep it simple sweetheart! Here I used Photoshop’s ShapeTool to create a multipurpose circular brush.
This brush can be used to create awesome tube designs or texture for clothing and metal. Keep the Brush Opacity between 70–100% to accentuate the pattern, or at low levels like 1–20% for a bit of grunge.
7. Art Brushes
Whenever you want to feel like Da Vinci, just open Adobe Photoshop. You too can feel like your favorite traditional artists, even with digital software.
Art brushes are used to create beautiful artistic effects. They simulate traditional art strokes and are used in collaboration with normal round brushes. Check out these tutorials for more painting inspiration:
The best way to create these brushes is to go back to the basics.
Use a simple brush along with acrylic paint to paint several brush strokes. Scan them into your computer or just take a quick picture with an iPhone.
Here I’ve created two different brushes made from the same paint stroke. The first is the original paint texture, and the second mimics the actual art form. Experiment with both to find the style you like.
8. Star Brushes
Another popular trend highlights the spectacular outer space. Star brushes allow artists to paint dozens of tiny star dots in fewer steps.
Want to see them in effect? Master beautiful star and flare light effects with these tutorials:
Select the Brush Tool (B) and use a Hard Round Brush at 100% Opacity to create many small dots on your canvas. Then use the Polygonal Lasso Tool (L) to follow the same steps as before to create your custom brush.
Add small clusters of stars to your landscape paintings for realistic night-time environments.
9. Realistic Hair Brushes
Google recently told me that our hair contains 100,000 hair follicles. 100,000!
Will you be painting them all by hand? I certainly won’t!
Use hair brushes to make the process easier! Yes, it’s true! You can paint dozens of hair strands with a single brush stroke. Learn how to paint realistic hair from these tutorials:
To create a Photoshop hair brush, the process is pretty simple. Use the Brush Tool (B) again, at full Hardness and Opacity.
Paint four black dots in a row. Capture these dots as a custom brush. Then enable Pen Pressure under the Shape Dynamics and Transfer settings for a fluid result.
Use this efficient hair brush to save valuable time!
10. Nature Brushes
Build a forest without ever drawing a single tree. Nature brushes are essential for a fast painting workflow.
And the best types of brushes are usually in the form of a silhouette. These brushes can be used to paint background bushes, flowers, and more. Learn how to work with natural brushes with these tutorials:
For this brush, I used this 3D object from Envato Elements. After downloading the tree at the angle you prefer, pass it through the Threshold filter at a high level. Enjoy a clean silhouette effect that can help you overcome depth of field issues.
Nature brushes can also be made from high-quality stocks! Check out this video to create a custom leaf brush set: