How-To Create Custom Brushes

So today, we look at how to create custom brushes in photoshop and it is really simple, but you will have to take the time to explore a bit more as we cannot cover every possible outcome or combination in a single post. With that said let’s jump in.

The Brush Design

Firstly, we need to decide how the initial shape of the brush will look like and to do this we also need to think of what we want to use the brush for and what effect we want to get out of our new brush.

For demonstration purposes, we will create a speckled brush that can be used for texturing skin or creating rain drop debris or blood spatter if you get creative.


Open a new document about 1000px x 1000px at 300dpi. You can use different settings, but this is what I normally use.

Now create a new layer then just start putting spots on the canvas with a normal hard round brush until you feel you are happy with the design. Feel free to erase and re-apply paint as you wish. Happy accidents can happen at any moment.

You can even make a simpler brush to create a more specific final brush design

Brush Made To Create The Final Brush
Brush Made To Create The Final Brush

Try not to overthink it and just see where it takes you.

Final Brush Design
Final Brush Design

Defining Our Brush

Define Brush Preset
Define Brush Preset

Now that, that is out of the way and we are happy with our brush design. We head over to the “Edit” tab and go down to “Define Brush Preset”. A window will pop up and this is where you can name your new brush.

Now The Fun Starts…

Now the fun really starts. Open the “Brush Settings” window and then you will see the following window.

Brush Settings At First Glance
Brush Settings At First Glance

The main window will show you the following:

  • Size – Determines the brush size in pixels
  • Flip X & Y axis – Allows you to flip the brush design across one or both axis
  • Angle – Rotates the brush tip
  • Roundness – This allows you to adjust the width of your brush tip
  • Hardness – Determines how feathered the edges of your brush are, 0% meaning soft edges and 100% meaning hard edges.
  • Spacing – This allows you to set the distance between brush tips
My Brush Tip Settings
My Brush Tip Settings

Okay, so above is the settings I used to create my final brush but let’s look at a summary of the options available to us on the left side.

  • Shape Dynamics – Allows you to change how the shape of the brush reacts and this is where you apply the calligraphy effect
  • Scattering – Allows you to apply a scattering effect and the strength count of the effect
  • Texture – This applies a texture layer on top of your brush stroke and you can change how the texture reacts to your brush
  • Dual Brush – This blends two brush shapes together and can give some very unexpected results
  • Color Dynamics – Allows your brush color to give a variety of color based on the foreground and background color. You can also fine-tune how the color reacts
  • Transfer – Allows you to change how the opacity of the brush reacts
  • Brush Pose – Changes the pose of the brush and can override the main brush tip settings to fine-tune the initial pose of the brush tip
  • Noise – Adds noise to the brush strokes
  • Wet Edges – Adds a stroke around the brush tips to simulate a wet edge
  • Build-up – Makes the brush build-up on itself when the pen is pressed down even when not moving the pen around
  • Smoothing – Enables the smoothing function on your brush for when you want smoother strokes. For when you want those long crisp lines
  • Protect Texture – Protects the texture when brush presets are applied

You will see that each menu up until brush pose has more sliders to give you more control over the effect like the following:

  • Size Jitter – Sets the percentage of randomness on the size of the brush
  • Minimum Diameter – Sets the minimum size allowed by the randomness
  • Angle Jitter – Sets the percentage of randomness on the Angle of the brush
  • Roundness Jitter – Sets the percentage of randomness on the Roundness of the brush

As you can see they are pretty self-explanatory and if you do not know what a specific slider does just hover over the label with your mouse then Photoshop will give you a brief explanation of its function.

And that’s it…

Thanks for joining in on this How-To Friday and I am looking forward to next weeks session. If you have any questions leave them in the comments below.

Feel free to download the brush tip we made above for free right here.

Get more free resources under the Zen Resources Tab.

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