Using special brushes in Adobe Photoshop is a great way of adding dynamic artistic effects to an otherwise average image. The Photoshop brush tool uses a variety of strokes to draw coloured lines and shapes onto a layer. The user simply chooses the brush then clicks and drags around the page to create the shapes and lines. Brushes can also be used to create various textures and patterns, as well as to create special lighting effects.
The Photoshop user can create brushes from scratch, or simply download and install them from online libraries. It’s a simple matter to search for free Photoshop brushes. The file usually downloads as a zip file; when extracted we find the .ABR brush file. This may be either dragged straight into Photoshop or you may go to the Edit drop-down menu and choose the Presets option of Preset Manager then Brushes and Load. The downloaded brushes can now be found in the top Control panel.
To work with these, first select the Brush tool, and use single clicks to create a single instance of the effect. Alternatively click and drag the brush around the screen to create a stroke or a scatter effect. Sometimes the effect is too large, whereupon you adjust the settings for size, opacity, blending mode and flow in the top Control panel.
An existing image can also be used as the basis for a Photoshop brush, for example to create a coloured spatter effect or a cluster of bubbles. On the Brush panel on the right hand side of your screen we find more advanced settings for Scatter, etc.
In this way Photoshop brushes can be used to enhance an otherwise bland image. When happy with the effect these brushes can also be saved as an automated action. These are often used for a repeatable task which can save you hours of boring, labour-intensive work.
For example, several photographs have been uploaded onto our computer from a camera. We want to upload these onto our company website but add an aesthetic brush effect beforehand. This is a simple matter using Actions in Photoshop. First we open one of the images within Photoshop. We then go to the Window drop-down menu and choose Actions and New Action whereupon a panel opens. We now press on the Record button and be very careful with the next steps since each one will be repeated in our recorded action.
We could first re-size the image via the Image, Image Size dialog box. We can also add brush marks, or borders, watermarks, and filters. We then save the resultant image to our Desktop. And finally select the Stop button. This created action will now be with this computer and can be used every time you open Photoshop. This is done by going to the File drop-down menu and choosing Automate and Batch. We choose a Source folder and a Destination folder, and click the OK button to perform the action. After a few minutes we can then go to the Destination folder and find copies of our images, re-sized and with the chosen brush strokes added. In this way we can combine custom made brush effects with the automated Action and Batch functions within Photoshop. The combinations are endless for the Photoshop user; it simply requires visual experimentation and patience to achieve professional-looking, stunning results.