Learn how to make your own brushes from your photos in Photoshop and a trick to make sure brushes paint correctly with light paint on a dark background and vice versa!

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Complete transcript of video:

Hello, I’m Helen Bradley. Welcome to this video tutorial. In this tutorial I’m going to show you how you can create your own photo brushes in Photoshop, and this works in practically any version of the Photoshop. For the brush that we’re going to create today I’m going to use a photograph. And I shot this in Singapore and we’re going to use this god shape as our brush. So the first thing I need to do is to make my selection. And I’m going to use the Quick Selection Tool because that’s going to work reasonably well here. And what I want to select at this stage is either the statue itself or anything that’s not the statue. And it’s actually going to be easier for me to select the not a statute pieces. So I’m going to start with those. And then I’m going to fine-tune it a little bit because I can see that there are areas here where I have captured part of the statute and not the other bits. So I’m going to add back in the statute bits that I’m missing here by just selecting over these at a bigger zoom. And anything that’s been selected that shouldn’t be selected I can remove. So I’m going to work around this shape and just make sure that everything that should be selected is selected. You can see that there are some missing bits here as well. With the Quick Select Tool I can switch between selecting and not selecting by holding down the Alt key so that effectively reverses the tool that lets me work very quickly through this shape to make sure that I’ve got everything I want and nothing that I don’t want. I’ve got some small problems here. But really the Quick Select Tool does a really good job of making your selection for you. I think I’m just going to remove this bit here. Again, it’s taken too much so we’re just going to go back and just fine-tune around the edges to make sure that we’ve got the bits that we want. So let’s call that done. And let’s just zoom out again. So now I have selected the bits that I don’t want, and I don’t have selected the bits that I do want. So I’m going to choose Select and then Inverse and that’s going to give me my shape. So this is the area that I want to convert into a brush. Now a brush is a grayscale shape, but that’s okay because Photoshop is going to take care of that for us. So to convert this into a brush all I need to do right now is to choose Edit and then Define Brush Preset. And here you can see that the brush preset is created for us. Now I’m a little bit worried because it doesn’t look like there’s quite enough contrast in that. So I might just cancel out for a minute. We might build a little bit more contrast into our brush. Perhaps Levels will help us. And yes it certainly will. Let’s just lighten this. And I’m not worried about the background because I don’t intend using that for the brush. What I am interested in is a little bit more contrast in the shape itself. I don’t mind that I’ve got some black blacks but I do definitely want some contrast and a bit more lightness in this brush. So let’s click Ok and now lets recreate out brush, Edit Define Brush Preset. You can see it looks a bit better now. So I’m going to call this Hindu 1. Now the reason why I’m going to call it Hindu 1 is because I’m going to need Hindu 2 in just a minute. Let’s put that to one side and let’s create a new document. This is 3,000 x 3,000 pixels in size, and I’m just going to flood it with black. Now let’s go and get white paint and go and get our brush. So I’m going to click the brush preset here and go down to the very last brush because that’s my brush, and I’m going to just size it up nice and big and just paint with it. And you can see that the problem is that I’ve got a negative brush. Now that wouldn’t be an issue if we were painting on a white background. So let’s just create a white background. And now let’s go and switch colors, and this time I’m painting with a black brush. And you can see that that’s just fine for a white background but as soon as I try to paint light on dark I have some issues. That’s why I left this image open still because if I invert this I can now create a second brush. So let’s just go back to something that’s not a brush here, and what I’m going to do is invert the image. So I’m going to choose Image Adjustments Invert. And that turns it into a negative of itself. And now if I create a brush from it, I’m going to call this Hindu 2, and click Ok, we’re going to get a very different brush. Let’s go back now, add a new layer, fill it with black, again because black is the foreground color, just Alt Backspace on the PC, Option Delete on the Mac, switch to white as my foreground color, pick up my brush, go and get my new second version brush to size it up nice and big for my image here, and click once. And you can see now I’m getting a positive brush so I have a positive and a negative version of this image that I can use as a brush from now on in Photoshop. There is one thing to be aware of with brushes and that is that you’re going to lose this brush if you reset your Photoshop preferences. So for any brushes once you’ve created them from time to time you should come in here and choose Edit and then Presets and Preset Manager. What you want to do is go to brushes. Although there are presets for everything that you can create in Photoshop go to your Brush. And I’ve got two of them here, actually I’ve got a third one that I created earlier today. So I’m just going to select all three of these brushes and I’m going to save these. And I’m going to call them Helen set. They’re save as ABR files, and I’ll click Save. Now not only are they saved to disk but they’re also now in a format that I could share with others. So there you have photographic brushes in Photoshop. Don’t forget to make a positive and a negative one so that you can paint with any color on any color background in future. I’m Helen Bradley. Thank you for joining me for this Photoshop video. Look out for more of my video training on this YouTube channel.

Helen Bradley