How to Make a Brush in Photoshop From an Image

Updated on April 4, 2019
JohanaPS profile image

Johana is a freelance graphic designer who loves to write tutorials about Photoshop, InkScape, MockoFun, Gimp, etc.

Create a Brush in Photoshop

In this quick tutorial for beginners I am going to show you how to create a brush from an image in Photoshop.

Step 1 - Open Your Photo

In Photoshop you can easily create custom brushes using photos or textures.

I will use this Graffiti Background Image to create a custom brush.

So, add the photo in a new layer in Photoshop.

Step 2 - Resize the Image

There is a maximum brush size possible, which is 2500px x 2500px.

So, if your image is larger than 2500px, go to Image > Image Size and scale the image to maximum 2500px (height/width). Otherwise, you will not be able to create the brush.

Step 3 - Turn Image to Black and White

The brushes are made in grayscale in Photoshop, so the color is not important.

For that reason, I will add a black and white Gradient Map adjustment layer.

Brushes are made in Grayscale so areas that are white become transparent (0% opacity), areas that are black become 100% opaque and any other color turns translucent (opacity somewhere between 0 and 100%).

If the black and white color stops are close, you get an image with 100% white and 100% black. If you want gray areas you have to separate the color stops.

Depending on your image you might have to adjust the location of the color stops.

For this image, the location of the black color stop is 14%, and the location of the white color stop is 16%.

Step 4 - Merge the Layers

Press Shift-Control-Alt-E to make a copy of the visible layers merged.

The image now looks like line art. If you want, you can use this Photoshop action to create line art images, that can be turned into brushes.

Step 5 - Clean the Line Art

Pick the Brush Tool and use a hard round brush to paint over the areas that you want to hide. It is important to use the color white (#ffffff).

Make sure the edges are 100% white otherwise you will get a square/rectangle brush.

Step 6 - Create the Brush

When you are sure that the image looks ok, go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and give your brush a name for example "graffiti brush".

If you go to your list of brushes, you will see the new custom brush that you've just created.

Your brush is now ready to be used. You can use any color you want for the brush, you can change the size, etc.

So, now you know how to make a brush in Photoshop from an image. You can use any image you like as long as you follow these tips.

What Photoshop brushes do you use more often?

See results

© 2019 JohanaPS


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    • JohanaPS profile imageAUTHOR


      16 months ago

      It is similar but to create painting brushes you have to make other settings like Shape Dynamics and Spacing.

    • hrymel profile image


      16 months ago from Baltimore, MD

      Is this a similar process to how artists will create custom painting brushes?


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