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The (hidden) power of Photoshop brush tool

In this micro tutorial, I will describe my favorite features of Adobe Photoshop Brush tool. To learn all features, you can simply open Brush palette (Window menu - Brushes), change each setting and try the result when you draw a stroke. The first setting is Tip Shape. You can choose from pre-loaded shapes or you can create your own... more on that later!

Brush Tip Shape has one interesting setting: Spacing. It  is usually around 20-25% but when you set it larger than 100-150% you will get very different result.

Using Shape Dynamics checkbox, you can randomize sizes and angles of brush dots.

Using Scattering, you can randomize locations of brush dots - as you draw a straight stroke, dots are added randomly around your mouse.

You can use Count setting to control amount of dots.

Dual Brush is very interesting feature, which will get you very different results depending on which brush and which mode you choose. Compare the two lines on this screenshot - first line made with simple brush, second - with Dual Brush enabled.

You can use Color Dynamics to randomize (or fade, or control with tablet pen) brush color. I  do not use this often, though :-)


Wet Edges is simple and self-explanatory feature :-)

The most exciting thing is that you can easily create your own brush. Let's make a star brush for example. Create new image with transparent background (square for our star). Set foreground color to Black, switch to Shape tool (U), select Polygon tool on toolbar, open Polygon options, check Star checkbox, set Indent sides = around 90%, and sides = 4.

Draw a shape, rasterize it (Layer - Rasterize - Shape). Select all (Ctrl-A).

Go to Edit menu - Define Brush preset. Choose name for new brush, click OK.

Now, when you open Brushes palette window (from Window menu), you can see your new brush in Brush Tip Shape list.

Now you can enable and adjust Size Jitter, Scattering and Color Jitter, and with single mouse move, get result such as this!

Another example - I took the shape of snow flake, created brush preset from it. With Size Jitter, Scattering and Color Jitter, this is what single brush stroke looks like.

And another example - heart-shaped brush. Again, this screenshot made with only one brush move!

← Dolphins - making of Quick and easy way to add snowflakes to your design →

Comments 50

sandeep singh yadav · 5 November 2008
great one man.....

Im:) · 9 November 2008

shilpa · 12 November 2008
Very nice and effective.

Gansukh Turbat · 18 November 2008
nice as usual

Mindy Johnston · 21 November 2008
hey, that's awesome. thanks so much for this tutorial... i always learn so much from you!

DAmoon KhODaparast · 2 December 2008

nabila · 23 December 2008
me gustaria que todos ustedes hablaran español por que yo no se nada de ingles grasias

JAi · 9 January 2009
Fantabulous thought

Gismo · 27 January 2009
Nice, thx

Meredith · 6 February 2009
Thank you!

Julie - Venezuela · 11 February 2009
Me encantas, eres súper súper creativo!! I love you, you are very very creative!!

Lawrence77 · 19 March 2009
wow! cool!

Loren · 1 June 2009
Really Great!!! Thanks :D

penq86 · 14 June 2009
Very nice tutorial. It really helps :)

Павел · 16 August 2009
Хоть и знал єто, но спасибо!;)

PS-Newbie · 12 September 2009

dindigala · 6 October 2009
Excellent!!!. a very good one, that helps for various design... Thanks vlad...

гы · 29 December 2009

ak · 21 January 2010
Super tutorial. Tks for sharing this secret.

... · 13 February 2010
fajnie ale mogło być lepsze;-]

imran huda · 17 March 2010
spread the knowledge,great stuff.keep it up.

Liliana Martinez · 22 May 2010
Thank you.

NENAD · 1 November 2010

dorin · 10 March 2011
multumim! (that's thank you in Romanian)

Felipe · 9 May 2015
I like this, thank you for sharing!

Janko Falli · 6 November 2008
super :)

me · 6 November 2008
nice! thanks for the "tip"

JaMa · 16 November 2008
Good guide, thanks

Samantha · 17 November 2008

Xocoo · 26 November 2008
Nice job

photoshop · 28 November 2008
absolutely splendid...............

Nicky64 · 8 December 2008
I LOVE YOUR WORK YOU ARE VERY GOOD designer Nice job Good guide, thanks

· 9 December 2008
Thank you, wish you could show how you created that Milky Way wallpaper (plz).

Elenka_ZP · 13 January 2009
Хорошие иллюстрации =) Спасибо =)

tosho · 30 January 2009
thanks vlad, you are the man :) javascript:void(0)

Alexei · 9 February 2009
Very inspiring, Tovarish!

· 3 March 2009

mnesie · 26 March 2009
unglaublich! danke

· 4 June 2009
Love it!!! Thanks!

Om Vaishnav · 29 June 2009
Hi..Friend..thanks for this important guides about brushes.. and how's your life going on...?

el · 11 September 2009
hiya i have adobe photoshop elements but i cant seem to get onto the expanded version on the brushes palette is there anything you can do to help?

BABUR · 25 November 2009
Pingooooooooooo................ Great....

WaZZuP · 19 December 2009
man, thankz a lot!! now I`m able to do that too :D great work thankz

diego rojas · 27 January 2010
tas creativamente muy cabron!! thanks.

satjune · 24 February 2010
Very nice article

alim · 4 April 2010
this is great, thanks for sharing!

pfotenkater · 15 August 2010
болшое спасибо, vielen dank, thank you very much

Ди · 26 November 2010

Julia · 21 March 2011
Coolies man :D

Robin · 21 October 2016
I love to work on Photoshop! Why? Because can be waste your extra time by playing with Photoshop. Thanks for showing me the hidden power of brush tool. And I think this can help me to make some beautiful backgrounds! This site offers some video tutorials. So, what do you think about it? Can I follow their tutorials to learn more about photoshop?

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