Alibony Lessons for Photoshop Elements, Lightroom, and Digital Photography

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Photoshop Elements: Make a Brush From a Custom Shape

Adobe® Photoshop® Elements 6

August 28, 2008

Make a brush from a custom shape. Converting the shape to a brush provides more versatility in using the shape. For example, by changing brush options, you can quickly make a decorative border or create a scatter effect with the shape in its brush form. In this lesson, make a brush from the heart shape.

Hearts brush

Create a Brush

To create a brush from a custom shape:

  1. From the Edit menu, select New, then Blank File. Create a new blank file with the dimensions of 100px width and 100px height.
  2. Press D to set the foreground and background colors to the default of black foreground and white background.
  3. Select the Custom Shape tool and select the heart shape from the Default shapes.

    Select custom shape
  4. On the options bar, click the arrow to the right of the leftmost shape thumbnail to view custom shape options.
  5. In the Custom Shape Options dialogue, select Fixed Width and enter the desired height and width. Setting a fixed width allows you to create brushes that are a uniform width and height.
  6. Click to draw the shape.
  7. On the options bar, click Simplify to change the shape from a vector graphic to a raster graphic.

    Shape options
  8. From the Edit menu, select Define Brush.
  9. In the Define Brush dialogue, enter a name for the brush and click OK. Your brush will now be available for you to use from the Brush Presets palette.

    Define Brush

Refine a Brush

When you first create a brush, the brush gets the default brush options that are applied to all brushes. You can apply special brush options to a brush, then save it again to create a new brush with the special options applied. For example, you can create a new brush from the heart brush that you can use to create decorative borders.

To create a heart border brush:

  1. Create a new blank file.
  2. Press D to set the foreground and background colors to the default of black foreground and white background.
  3. Select the Brush tool, then select the heart brush that you created above.
  4. On the options bar, change the size of the brush, if desired.
  5. On the options bar, click the paintbrush icon at the far right to open the Brush options dialogue box.
  6. In the Brush options dialogue box, select the following options:

    1. Set Fade, Hue Jitter, and Scatter to 0.
    2. Set Spacing to 125% or more. Spacing is a percentage of the brush diameter and determines the distance between brush marks. Increase this setting to increase the distance between dots.

    Brush options
  7. On the options bar, click the arrow to the right of the brush thumbnail to view the Brush Presets palette.
  8. Click the double-arrows to the top right of the Brush Presets palette.
  9. From the menu, select Save Brush.

    Save Brush
  10. Enter a name for the new brush and click OK.

Tips

After you define new brushes, you should save them in a new brush set using the Preset Manager. If you do not save the brushes in a new set, you will lose them when you switch to a different brush set.

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Updated on July 31, 2013