LearnQuick Tip: Using Brushes & Patterns in Photoshop


writes on September 24, 2012

In this Treehouse Quick Tip, Allison Grayce teaches us how to load and use brushes and patterns in Adobe Photoshop. Allison is a web design teacher at Treehouse. From brand strategy and user interface design to creative writing and front-end development, she has a passion and appreciation for complete brand experiences. Allison holds her BFA in Web Design & Interactive Media. Twitter: @allisongrayce.

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Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Allison Grayce. In this Treehouse quick tip, we are going to learn
how to load and use brushes and patterns in Adobe Photoshop.

I am looking to use some brushes in my design using texture and grunge.
There tons of brushes and patterns on the Internet that you can find, but
I’m going to find my favorite brushed by Liam McKay, function subtle grunge
brushes. I am going to go ahead and download them form Designmoo, which I
will link to in the description box.

Go ahead and extract the zip folder, and inside should be an ABR file. Copy
that file, go ahead and navigate to applications, Adobe Photoshop CS6, in
my situation. Click on presets, brushes, and go ahead and go ahead and
paste the ABR file into this directory. The brushes already in here are
Adobe’s default brushes.

So you can go ahead and close the finder here and minimize your browser and
head back on over to Photoshop. Select the brush tool from your toolbar by
pressing B on your keyboard, or just clicking on it in your toolbar.
Navigate to your options bar and click the drop down arrow. Go ahead and
click the gear button here, or in your case, depending on which version of
Photoshop you’re using, this might be an arrow and click replace brushes.

We’re going navigate to the directory, where we paste our ABR file and we
are looking for function subtle grunge. Go ahead and click open, your new
brushes will now appear in the scrolling area in the drop down menu of the
options bar. Go ahead and select one of the brushes. I am going to add a
mask to the shape that I want to apply the texture to. To preview the
brush, press the caps lock button on your keyboard.

So I am going to head on over to the layers panel and add a mask that I
want to add texture to. In this case I am going to add texture to the grey
circle. So go ahead and press the add layer mask button right here and
making sure you have black as your foreground color, go ahead and click on
the canvas to apply the texture. You can just click around to add more
texture, press control Z to undo the texture. It’s really just a matter of

I think that looks pretty good. Now I want to add texture to the
background. I want this texture to be a repeating pattern. My favorite
tile wall patterns are from Tileables, and I am going to navigate to their
website and download a repeating paper background. You can either download
the entire pack here, or you can just click on one, open image in the new
tab. I am going to copy this image, bring it back into Photoshop, create a
new document and paste the image.

Now that I have the tileable image, it’s time to define it as a pattern.
You do so by going to the menu bar at the top and pressing edit, define
pattern, and feel free to name this pattern as you wish. I am going to make
this document a little bit larger. You can delete the solid color
background, create a new layer, making sure that layer is underneath the

Go ahead and choose the paint bucket tool from your toolbar and navigate on
up to the options bar. Click the drop-down menu next to the thumbnail here,
and you will see your new pattern. Go ahead and select that and you can
click on the canvas and we are done.

By using brushes and patterns we’ve pushed this design to the next level.
Now that you know how to load and use brushed and patterns in Photoshop,
the endless looks you can achieve with these tools are only limited to your
imagination. Using these tools will create a tactile and artistic feel,
setting your design apart from the rest.

[Recording: If you would like to see more advanced videos and listen to
more videos like this one, go to teamtreehouse.com and start learning for


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