Free for All: Oodles of Photoshop Effects Brushes

Photoshop is a good tool for digital painting, whether you’re creating something from scratch or modifying an existing image. Even a solid-color background can be dramatically enlivened with light streaks, halftones, smudges, or textures. The possibilities are limited only by the imagination… and by the time you have to create complex effects. I can’t help you with the former, but the resources in this article will cut your effects creation time significantly.

You can use these 105 Photoshop brush sets — 1,845 individual brushes — to achieve artistic effects. All of the brushes are free for personal and commercial projects, and you can use them with Photoshop CS3 through CS5. I divided them into seven categories so they’re easier to browse, and I even threw in several brushes designed specifically for use with products from Wacom and other tablet manufacturers.

How to Install Photoshop Brush Sets
Follow these instructions to use the below brush sets:

1. If the download file is a Zip format, extract the .ABR file from the Zip archive.
2. Move the .ABR file to a permanent location on your computer. This could be into the Photoshop Brushes folder (full paths below) or a central location you create for Photoshop brushes. To place it in Photoshop’s existing brush folder, move or copy the .ABR file:
Windows: C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Photoshop CSxPresetsBrushes
Mac OSX: Applications/Adobe Photoshop CSx/Presets/Brushes/
3. Open Photoshop and select the Brush tool.
4. On the Options bar, click the down arrow beside the brush shape preview. This will pop open the controls for brushes.
5. From the brush control popup, click the right-facing arrow in the top right corner and select Load Brushes.
6. When the Load Brushes dialog appears, navigate to the location where you placed the .ABR file and then open that file.
7. Photoshop will ask whether you’d like to replace the brushes already in the brush palette or append to them, adding the new brush set to the end of the list of brushes. Typically you’ll want to append.
8. Start brushing!

Natural Media: Watercolor
Watercolour Stroke (4 brushes)

Hi-Res Watercolor (8 brushes)

Watercolor (38 brushes)

Water Color Blobs (17 brushes)

Watercolour Stroke (14 brushes)

Fudgegraphics Watercolour Set Two (25 brushes)

Grungy Watercolor (10 brushes)

Soft Watercolor (8 brushes)

Watercolor Splatters (32 brushes)

High-Res Watercolour 2 (7 brushes)

High-Res Watercolour 1 (7 brushes)

Natural Media: Spray Paint
Spray Paint (20 brushes)

Spray Paint (20 brushes)

Hi-Res Spray Paint (10 brushes)

Spray Paint Vol. 1 (25 brushes)

Splatters (27 brushes)

Messy Spraypaint (10 brushes)

Natural Media: Other
Rolled Paint Set 2 (10 brushes)

Grunge Splatter (20 brushes)

Wax Crayon (7 brushes)

Melting Texture (8 brushes)

Simple Smudges 2 (32 brushes)

Painted Strokes (25 brushes)

Paint (25 brushes)

Paint Strokes (19 brushes)

Markers (15 brushes)

Smudges (7 brushes)

Essential Brush Strokes (100 brushes)

Paint Textures (9 brushes)

Finger Paints (12 brushes)

Real Media (13 brushes)

PackSix: Paint Brushes (5 brushes)

Kakeami Brushes for Manga (19 brushes)

Manga Style (6 brushes)

Textures (7 brushes)

Painted Borders (9 brushes)

Biggie50 (49 brushes)

Marker Pen Scribbles No. 1 (84 brushes)

Angled Marker (12 brushes)

Another Natural Media (70 brushes)

Realistic Paint (12 brushes)

Oil’ish Paint (5 brushes)

Oil Painterly (8 brushes)

Mateu7’s Ink (45 brushes)

Crayonishious (19 brushes)

Horizontal Smudges (18 brushes)

Fractal (6 brushes)

Sun, Star (9 brushes)

Starburst (4 brushes)

Simple Swirls (17 brushes)

Abstract Fractal (12 brushes)

Light Streaks (6 brushes)

Lens Flare (20 brushes)

Metal-CX (6 brushes)

Abstract CT (6 brushes)

Glow I (11 brushes)

Abstract Light Vol.1 (25 brushes)

Abstract Light Vol. 2 (25 brushes)

Night Lights (6 brushes)

Sui Generis (10 brushes)

Ecol (5 brushes)

Light Effect (29 brushes)

Shining Swords (7 brushes)

Lighting Effects (50 brushes)

Mystical Light Effects (20 brushes)

Go to page 2 for MANY more Photoshop brushes!

Posted on: September 28, 2011

5 Comments on Free for All: Oodles of Photoshop Effects Brushes

  1. Love the content, but I don’t understand the management of brushes. What to do with an .rar as opposed to an .abr? How do you preview what brushes are in a pack? When you append a brush set, the list of open brushes just gets longer and longer, making it very slow to open. Can you append just one of a group? How do you delete a group of brushes from active all at once? An extensive tutorial would be great.

  2. can I suggest the use of a newfangled entity some people are using – the internet, and more specifically GOOGLE… failing that Pariah will be over later to hold your hand through the whole process…

  3. Actually, you raise some very good questions. CreativePro and I think they need to be addressed, so right now I’m writing up a short tutorial to answer those questions and a few more. I can’t say for sure when it will publish, but possibly next week. When it does publish I’ll post a new comment here linking to it.

    Pariah S. Burke |

    Empowering Informing Connecting Creative Professionals.™

    Designer; author; consultant; trainer; publisher; InDesign, InCopy, Illustrator, Photoshop, Acrobat/PDF guru.

  4. Great this is really nice!

  5. LOL.


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