Making a Photoshop Brush Part II: Texture Brushes

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A long, long time ago I wrote a detailed tutorial on how to make a Photoshop brush. Today, I want to show how to make a texture brush. It's one of my favorite ways to add texture to a design, without the need to mess with merging images and blending modes on top of that. Let's get started.

Making a Photoshop Brush Part II: Texture Brushes

Start with a cool texture image.

Making a Photoshop Brush Part II: Texture Brushes
Starting texture image

The Setup

If you want to make a large brush, the maximum size is 2500 pixels (height or width, either one) Also, if you are running CS1 or earlier, your max size is probably 1000px. So with that said, you can create your file. Then place your image and get it positioned.

The Secret of Brush Making:

Our next step is to convert our image to black and white. Why? Because when making a brush, Photoshop treats pure white as 100% transparent, and pure black as 100% opaque. This is great because it means we don't have to do any clipping and the images we use to make brushes can be very complex and still turn out decent.

White to black gradient

Convert to Black & White

There are multiple ways to convert to black and white but I like to either add an adjustment layer or simply go to Image > Adjustments > Black and White.

Converting to black and white

Make your adjustments until you're happy with your image. (doesn't have to be perfect)

Adjusting the black and white settings
Texture image after conversion to black and white

Additional Adjustments

Next, you have a lot of adjustment options, but I find the tweaking the “Levels” usually gets the job done. (Image > Adjustments > Levels) or CMND/CTRL + L.

Adjusting the levels
Image after levels adjustment

Final Step:

Once you're happy with your image simply go to the Edit menu and select “Define Brush Preset.”

Define brush preset

Name the brush if you want and then click “Ok.”


Now you have a brand new texture brush in your brushes palette. And you can do things like go from this:

Blank image

To this in a single click:

Image after brush applied

It's not a complicated process, but I've found texture brushes to be the most useful in my toolset. Hopefully, you can too. Oh, and don't forget to save your brushes from the brush palette menu or you'll lose all your hard work!

Making a Photoshop Brush Part II: Texture Brushes