How To 

How To Import And Work With Paintbrush Textures in Photoshop

The efficacy of Photoshop’s standard paintbrush tool becomes extremely more deep and complex once you begin to incorporate texture samples. While the software supplies you with a handful of interesting brushes, it also offers the ability to import your own brush textures through .abr files. We’re going to use one of these to apply a custom wear-n-tear effect to the bingo card we created for the “Pattern Overlay” tutorial.

1. Import a new paintbrush texture.
To begin, select the paintbrush from the toolbar - it’s the paintbrush icon located beneath the path / healing toolset. In the options bar, select the dropdown menu next to the brush size icon and then hit the “Settings” cog in the upper righthand corner. This opens a new dropdown menu - from here, select “Import Brushes...”

2. Select the new paintbrush texture.
You can now select any .abr file located on your computer and click “Open” to permanently import it into Photoshop.

3. Change the color of your brush.
We’re want to replicate the “white” areas of our image so that it looks like the ink on the bingo card is chipping away. To do this, we’ll double click on the foreground color of the color swatch and use the Color Picker window’s eyedropper to sample from a bright area in our original image.

4. Adjust the paintbrush parameter.
The paintbrush offers several settings to customize the application of this tool. You’ll notice a dropdown menu for blend mode and sliders for brush size, opacity and rate of flow. There are also buttons that enable a build-up effect or, if you’re using a tablet, allows you to adjust how stylus pressure affects size and opacity. With these all set, you can begin to “paint” this texture onto the image.

5. Paint the texture onto your image.
The goal here is to move the placement of the brush so that its inherent pattern isn’t too obvious. You can also make the brush more complex by switching between brush sizes by using the bracket keys and by re-adjusting the brush opacity and flow rates in the option bar.