Photoshop: Define Brush Preset

Our project theme this semester is “the strange”, so I know already that I will be distorting a lot of images. Adobe provides a lot of very interesting tools for its users to alter their images, but sometimes, you don’t always have exactly what you need. You can create your own brush patterns in photoshop to make a custom effect that you can save and use for other projects.

I wanted to create a natural looking hairy grapefruit. Open your image in photoshop, and create a new layer (SHIFT+CTRL+N in Windows, SHIFT+CMD+N for Mac)  If your layers palette is not open when photoshop opens, hit F7 to open the layers panel. For default settings, it appears on the right side of the PS window.

Now, to draw on the new layer, make sure it is highlighted in the layer menu and select the brush tool (shortcut B). Use the dropdown to customize the size and shape of the brush and draw your pattern with the mouse; I zoomed in and drew a hair.

Select the marquee tool (shortcut key M) and select the layer you drew on (CMD+click on mac, CTRL+click on PC)

You have to click on the portrait, or else it will not not work. Go to the edit menu and select define brush preset from the dropdown. If it is grayed out, this means that you did not select the layer correctly, or your selection is too big (2500+ px)


Name the brush pattern whatever you like, and you can start using it right away from the dropdown brush menu. New brush presets appear at the very bottom of the menu.


For me though, the hairs were too uniform, so I had to customize further. To do this, click on the brushes icon to bring up the brush menu .

There are a variety of options to alter various jitters and scatters to make the effect more natural. The bottom of the dropdown has a preview of your brush. One brush will not always work for different angles and effects, and I had to create four different brushed to make my image look right. I hope you use this tool well in your projects!



~ by fingoscrip on September 6, 2011.

One Response to “Photoshop: Define Brush Preset”

  1. So far, I think its a good post. Especially your last phrase about not knowing what I will need. I suggest explaining what you’re trying to do, and why the brush pattern is the best tool for the job. Definitely show a picture of the before and after.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: