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How to add new brushes to Photoshop

It's a way of giving your work an unmistakable imprint.
By
January 23, 2023

If you’re a professional or otherwise serious Photoshop artist, adding brushes expands your creative arsenal. You’ve got a few options, split between importing them or making your own.

How to add new brushes to Photoshop

Importing brushes

Importing brushes into Photoshop
Roger Fingas / Android Authority

This is the best option for most people, since it can take some experimentation to make a custom brush work well.

To import brushes:

  • Select the Brush tool in the lefthand toolbar.
  • Open the Brushes panel, accessed via one of the icons to the immediate right of the canvas. Hover over them to identify the correct button.
  • Open the “hamburger” menu in the panel’s top-right corner.
  • Within that menu, click Import Brushes if you’ve already downloaded ABR files, or Get More Brushes if you want to browse a curated selection.
  • However you decide to download an ABR file, double-click on it on your desktop while Photoshop is running. The brush will appear in the Brushes panel.

Creating a brush from an image

When you come across part of an image you think would be useful as a brush, all you need to do is select that area using any selection tool, then go to Edit > Define Brush Preset.

Note that you can’t change the hardness of sampled brushes. You can however adjust edge sharpness by manipulating the Feather value when painting.

Creating a brush from scratch

The Photoshop Brush Settings panel
Roger Fingas / Android Authority

This requires extra work, but if you want a fully custom yet general-purpose brush, here’s what to do:

  • Select the Brush tool in the lefthand toolbar.
  • Open the Brush Settings panel, accessed via one of the icons to the immediate right of the canvas. Hover over them to identify the correct button.
  • Choose a brush tip shape, or click on Brush Presets to go with a preset.
  • Customize your brush using the categories under Brush Tip Shape.
  • If you’re good with a particular category, click the lock icon next to it to prevent accidental edits.
  • When you’re done, open the “hamburger” menu in the panel’s top-right corner and click New Brush Preset.
  • In the same menu, click Save Brushes to keep your brush permanently as part of a new set.

Read more: How to add fonts to Photoshop