Using Photoshop Brushes

Photoshop Tools Menu

To use photoshop brushes, you must first select one of the brush based tools from the tools menu. There are quite a selection to choose from but for this tutorial we will concentrate on just using the airbrush tool Airbrush Tool.

Select the airbrush from the tools menu and then select a photoshop brush to use. You can load downloaded Photoshop brush sets from the Internet more details on loading Photoshop brushes available here.

Once you have selected a brush to use, there are a number of settings you can alter to produce different effects.

Adding a new layer in Photoshop

One good way to keep full control over the image is to use photoshop layers, these give great control over an image. To create a new layer click on the small icon at the bottom of the layers palate (figure 1) then click on the new layer, this selects it for use. Once you have spayed an image with a photoshop brush you can alter the opacity of the image by reducing the number in the opacity settings (figure 2). this is handy if the created image is too dark or if you want to overlay the image on top of another image.

opacity settings for layers

Here is an example using a set of photoshop brushes showing what happens when you change the opacity settings on a layer, as you can see the smaller the number the more faded the image becomes.

Another good reason for using photoshop layers is that if you mess up on a layer you can delete it and the rest of the image is still ok. And another tip is to Duplicate Photoshop Layers then turn its visibility to off so its safe then work on the other layer, if you make a mistake on one of them up delete it and turn on the safe version and try again.

Airbrush Options

Another way to control the use of the photoshop brush is to alter the settings of the brush itself. In photoshop 5.5 the brush options are displayed in a floating palate, to access this double click quickly on the tool you want to view the options on. Again there are quite a few settings to choose from but the main one is the pressure of the brush.

Now we have covered some of the basics select a Photoshop brush, add a new layer to the document, select it and press the mouse button, the longer you press the mouse button the stronger the image will become. Another technique to try is spraying e.g. white over the dark colours and build up layers, you can always change the opacity of the layers to add a transparent ghosted effect to the image.