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Blog . How to Make a Custom Photoshop Brush

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How to Make a Custom Photoshop Brush

10/21/13  |  Posted by Jordan Charlton  |  Posted in Digital Creativity

Right out of the box Photoshop already has a lot of brushes to offer, but one thing that will help make your art more unique is learning how to make your own brushes with unique textures. Don't get me wrong, it is easy and convenient to use brushes that you find online, but what if you're looking for a certain brush? You could spend hours looking for one that is kind of close to what you want but then you waste a lot of time that could have been spent working looking for a brush. Plus, making your own brushes make your art more unique because that brush is something you personally own and it's unique to you. It will set your artwork apart, because instead of using a grass brush that thousands of artists have downloaded for free, you will have a unique one that no one else will have.

Getting Creative with Gesso

This technique is very simple and doesn't take much time to do at all. What you'll need is some gesso, paper (preferably something sturdy like Bristol), a sheet of thinner paper (I like using tracing paper for this), and a pencil or stick of charcoal. So what you want to do is use the gesso to make your texture. You can get as messy as you want with it, just have fun. When you go to apply the gesso though keep in mind what kind of texture you're trying to achieve. You can even use various objects to stamp a pattern into the gesso. When you have your pattern and the gesso is dry, take your thinner paper and place it over the gesso texture. Rub on top with your charcoal or pencil. After this step, take and scan your final rubbings into the computer.

Defining the Brush

Next, you want to take your rubbings into Photoshop. You want to unlock your background layer which should also be the scan of your image, and to do that you double-click on it in the layer panel. Make any adjustments to it to make sure it's how you want it to look. I just used the levels adjustment layer on it quickly. Next you want to go over to the channels tab, then click on the “Load channel as selection button” while having all the channels selected. This will select all of the dark areas. Go back to the layers tab and go to your texture layer and hit delete. All you should be left with is a selection with the dark areas from your texture. What I did next was I just cleaned up the edges of my image real quick so that I was just left with what I wanted in the middle. Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset. And there you have your brush! You can then make edits to your brush using the Brush Presets to make it even more unique.

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