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By Celeste Smith

Photoshop Brush Basics

Brush up on digital brushes for scrapbooking!
eZine image: 

Brushes are really amazing tools that are built right into Photoshop Elements software. Whether you're new to digital, you're a savvy digital user, or if hybrid is more your style, gain insight into this easy and versatile technique PLUS get 3 free brushes to download! 

Check out these great digital scrapbook page examples, then read the instructions at the end of the article to learn how to do this yourself! It’s easier than it looks.

You use brushes every single day—tooth brushes, hair brushes, even paint brushes. So it’s about time you tried using digital brushes on your scrapbook pages, whether full digital or hybrid is more your style!

Brushes are really amazing tools that are built right into Photoshop Elements. I like to think of them as stamps, but unlike stamps, digital brushes are easily resized, re-colored, and can be faded as well. (And there’s no mess!) Both paper and digital scrappers can easily utilize brushes to add a bit of pop to their pages. Check out these great examples, then read the instructions at the end of the article to learn how to do this yourself! It’s easier than it looks.
 

LUCKY ME, LUCKY YOU

I'm a lucky scrapper and get to work with a plethora of talented digital designers each month. Three of the brilliant designers from twopeasinabucket.com have provided us with some free Photoshop brushes to download and try on your scrapbook pages.

Shelley Castillo of Sugar Pop Sweet Design is sharing this lovely vintage floral brush with you. This detailed brush looks wonderful on photographs, but would also be fantastic for the background of a page or printed and used as an element on a paper layout.


vintage floral photoshop brush

Vintage Floral Freebie

Free digital brush for Photoshop Elements to download from Shelley Castillo of Sugar Pop Sweet Design. Click here to download.

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Shannon Dombkowski added the brush to this stunning photo of her daughter. While Shannon used the brush for a digital page, you could just as easily print the photo with the brush on it and create a hybrid page! Doesn't it look just like a stamp?


You are so beautiful scrapbook page

Supplies:

brushes (Floral Freebie by Shelley Castillo, Digi Essentials 9 alpha brushes by Karla Dudley available at Design House Digitals) • papers (Month by Month April Papers by Shelley Castillo available at Two Peas in a Bucket) • kits (Organic Baby by Vinnie Pearce, Collage Craft by Polka Dot Pixels, Dwell in Possibility by Michelle Underwood, available at Two Peas in a Bucket) • DJB Jamie Script font • 12x12 Digital Layout by Shannon Dombkowski

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The next brush set is a fun flourish designed by the wonderful Becca Bonneville of Tickled Pink Studio. This is another brush that would work well on photos or on a page.


flourish photoshop brush

With a Flourish

Free digital brush for Photoshop Elements to download from Becca Bonneville of Tickled Pink Studio. Click here to download.

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I love how Mary Rogers looked at this brush and thought sprinkler! How fun! She added the brush to her page four different times using four different colors. I think the brushes really add so much whimsy and playfulness to her design.


Sprinkler Fun scrapbook page by Mary Rogers

Supplies:

brush (Flourished Sampler by Tickled Pink Studios) • kit (Summer's Edge by Scrap Originals at Two Peas in a Bucket) • papers (White Foundation Papers 01 by Vinnie Pearce at Two Peas in a Bucket) • shape templates (Cutups Summer by Katie Pertiet at Designer Digitals) • Borders (12x12 Artist Edges No. 2 by Anna Aspnes at Designer Digitals) • You are Loved, Honey Script, and Pea Shelly Belly fonts • 12x12 Digital Layout by Mary Rogers

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Our last designer is the fabulous Lauren Reid of XO Lauren. She contributes this fun paint splatter brush for you to download. Paint, ink, and mist brushes enhance the texture on a page with absolutely no mess and no fear of ruining anything!


Paint splatter free photoshop brush

No-Mess Digital Paint Splatter

Free digital brush for Photoshop Elements to download from Lauren Reid of XO Lauren. Click here to download.

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I decided to use one of the paint splat brushes on a hybrid page. I opened Photoshop Elements and opened a digital template. Then I added the brush and printed it out with the template blocks showing on the cardstock. Then I measured and cut my papers to fit over the template blocks. The paint splatter adds an element of fun to the layout and I didn't have to wait for it to dry!


Silly digital scrapbook page with paint splatter by Celeste Smith

Supplies:

brush (Paint Splat by XO Lauren) • digital template (Topography Set no. 6 by Valorie Wibbens at The Lilypad) • cardstock (Bazzill Basics) • patterned paper, die cut, buttons (Crate Paper) • stickers (Heidi Swapp) • Another Typewriter font • 8.5x11 layout by Celeste Smith

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How to Download and Use Brush Sets


Step 1: LOAD 'EM UP

The first thing you need to do is download a brush set. At the end of this article, I’ve provided links to some free brush sites as well as some fantastic freebies from Two Peas in a Bucket Digital Designers. Once you've found a brush you like, simply click the image or download link (depending on the site) to start your download. When your download has completed, you may need to un-zip the file by right-clicking the icon and choosing “Extract All.” Then select a location and click save.

Now you can place your brush (the .abr file from your zip packet) in the appropriate Photoshop folder. For PC users, this folder will generally be located on your hard drive in Program Files > Adobe > Photoshop Elements 7.0 (or whatever your version of Photoshop may be)  > Presets > Brushes. Once you've found the appropriate folder, simply drag and drop the *.abr file. (Mac users, drag-and-drop the .abr file into Applications > YourVersionofPhotoshop > Presets > Brushes.)

You can now open up your version of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements and select the Brush Tool. Click on the drop down menu. To the left of this menu you will find an arrow. Click it. Then click Load Brushes. Just double click on the brush set you would like to open, and you are finished. Your new brushes should now appear in the Brush drop down menu.

Step 2: GIVE IT A WHIRL

Open up a photograph or start a new file in Photoshop Elements. On the bottom left of the toolbar, set the foreground color (the top box) to your color of choice. In the Layers palette, create a new blank layer above all other layers. (Always apply your brushwork to a new blank layer.)

Now select the brush tool, and choose a specific brush from the set you just loaded. (Tip: to easily resize the brush, press the ( or ) keys to increase or decrease the brush size.) Position the brush and click the left mouse button once to “stamp” the design. Photoshop brushes are limited to a maximum size of 2500 pixels, however you can enlarge the stamped design.

Select the brush layer in the Layers palette. From the Image menu, point to Transform, choose Free Transform. Drag one of the corner bounding boxes to resize. It’s as easy as that!


Free Brushes to Download

Brusheezy
Obsidian Dawn
Brush King
Adobe Brushes

Whether you are a paper or digi scrapper, I hope that you see that brushes are easy to use and that you'll give it a shot on an upcoming layout!

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