Adobe Photoshop Brushes – Introduction

Ever stop to wonder about the vast array of brushes on offer within Adobe Photoshop and how to use and mix them?

From Photoshop version 7 onward there has been an explosion in the ways in which we (the users) can create and control the performance and output of the humble brush.

Brush collections
If you haven’t already noticed, when using the Brush tool, Stamp Clone tool, Healing Brush tool, etc, a collection of brush styles can be accessed via the control bar just beneath the menu system.

By clicking on the small drop down arrow next to the brush depiction, you are presented with a large scrollable list of brushes. From this drop down palette you can change the diameter and hardness of the brush. There is also a sub-menu within this palette (shown as an arrow within a circle), which enables you to, most importantly, load and save brush libraries.

Tip: For everyday photo restoration and tweaking work, use the brushes between the 7th and the 18th from the top of the drop down list as they are fairly plain but with a nice feathered edge suitable for most blending tasks.

Brushes floating palette
Not only can you choose, load and save brushes from the Adobe Photoshop’s options bar, you can also mix and match brushes via the ‘Brushes’ floating palette. To access this feature, click on the ‘Window’ menu and choose ‘Brushes’ from the drop down list. Within this dialogue box you will find a large collection of settings which will provide you with an infinite combination of brush effects. Settings include a method for mixing multiple brushes, randomisation of the size of output along any given stroke, randomisation of hue or tone and too many other features to mention in this article.

It is worth given the simple but important feature, the Brush a second look within Adobe Photoshop. You can easily, with very little experimentation, use Photoshop to create not only perfectly restored or manipulated photographic images, but also paintings that convincingly mimics real art materials and mediums.

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