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Making a Simple Custom Brush in Adobe Photoshop CS3

It's the end of July and all the back-to-school and Christmas in July ads are telling me to get ready for the fall season. This is the time when I start to build up my stock of digital scrapbooking products. Fall is my busiest time of year and some of the most popular themes for digital and traditional scrapbooking are Fall, Winter and their various holidays. One way to build a coordinating set of background pages and embellishments into digital scrapbook page kits is to convert some of your favorite images into Photoshop brushes and use the brushes to create common design elements. The image I will use for this tutorial is one of my favorite pumpkins.

You can make a brush from an image of any size up to 2500 by 2500 pixels. However, when deciding on what size to use, keep in mind that an image or a brush made from an image will loose their quality when you try to enlarge them beyond the size of the original source image. So you will want your source image to be as large as the largest brush tip setting of the brush you wish to make. For example, most digital scrapbooking products are created for 12 x 12 inch papers and 300 dpi. Therefore, that will probably be the largest size that I will need my brush tip to be.

When you create a new brush, start with a blank image with a white background, Color Mode set to Grayscale and the largest height and width. You can use a white background instead of a transparent background because Photoshop will change your source image to grayscale during the process of converting your source image into a brush preset. Any part of the image that is white, including the background, will become transparent. Any black areas will be 100% opaque and the various gray areas will be semitransparent. We can get a good idea of how the brush will look, if we convert the source image to grayscale now. I already have the source image open in Photoshop. It will be automatically converted to Grayscale by copy/pasting or dragging the source image layer on top of the white background. After we do that, we can make any adjustments such as Shadow/Highlight and Brightness/Contrast. After we are satisfied with our source image, there are only a few more steps.

1. Click Select, All from the Menu bar. The Feather value should be zero.

2. Click Edit, Define Brush Preset and give your brush a name.

3. When you open the Brushes Palette, you will see your new brush at the end of the list.

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Content copyright © 2015 by Diane Cipollo. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Diane Cipollo. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Diane Cipollo for details.


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