Define Brush Preset in Photoshop

Define Brush Preset in Photoshop

In this Photoshop Lesson, we’ll learn about ‘Define Brush Preset command in Photoshop‘ as well as ‘How to create Brush in Photoshop’. Define Brush Preset command is available under Edit menu in Photoshop.

My name is Lalit Adhikari and we are at LTY. Let’s begin!



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What is Define Brush Preset

Define Brush Preset command helps in creating a custom Brush in Photoshop. In other words, creating a custom Brush Tip for Brush tool in Photoshop.


Where is Define Brush Preset

Define Brush Preset command under Edit menu in photoshop
Define Brush Preset command

Define Brush Preset command is under the Edit menu in Photoshop.


Where are Brush Presets in Photoshop

Brush Preset Pickers
Brush Presets

Brush Presets are available in option bar of Brush tool in Photoshop as shown below.


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How do you Define Brush Preset in Photoshop

Follow the steps to Define Brush Preset in Photoshop:

  • Select the object or image layer which needs to be converted into a Photoshop brush
  • Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset… Following dialog box will appear
Define Brush Preset dialog box
Define Brush Preset dialog box
  • Enter the desired name and click OK.
  • The selected object or image will be added as a Brush Preset in Photoshop.

How to Create Brush in Photoshop

Follow the following steps to Create Brush in Photoshop:

Step 1: Create a New Document in Photoshop

As usual, we will begin by creating a New Document in Photoshop. For this tutorial, I’ll create a document with 300 pixels of Width and Height with Resolution of 72 ppi and Color Mode set to RGB. Background contents must be set to White.

New Document dialog box in Photoshop
New Document dialog box
Initial size for custom brush

Photoshop allows us to create brushes as large as 5000 by 5000 pixels but it doesn’t mean you should. At that size, the brush will require a lot more memory and processing power from your computer which can slow your system down considerably. For typical work, you’ll want to create brushes much smaller.

The size at which you initially create the brush will become its default size. It’s important to note that brushes we create ourselves are pixel-based brushes which means they’re essentially images and behave exactly the same way as regular images when it comes to resizing them.

Brushes will usually remain crisp and sharp when we make them smaller than default size but if you increase their size much beyond the default, they’ll become soft and dull looking.

The recommended idea is to create your new brush just large enough to suit your needs which may involve some trial and error. The 300 x 300 pixel size I’m using here usually works well for me.


Step 2: Select Brush Tool

Now, you’ve the freedom to draw anything using your brush tool with any of it’s brush preset. For the sake of simplicity and as this Photoshop Lesson is about creating an understanding of how to create a brush rather than creating a particular brush, I’ll be creating something random without any meaning.

To learn the use of Brush Tool, you can read our Photoshop Lesson on ‘How to use Brush Tool in Photoshop‘.


Step 3: Foreground color must be Black

We created our New Document with Background Contents set to White. The reason behind it is that, all the Brushes in Photoshop are Grayscale which means that a brush can contain only black, white or shades of gray in between.

Remember: Areas filled with white become transparent, so you won’t see them when you’re saving the brush or painting with the brush.

Areas filled with black will be 100% visible and if your brush includes various shades of gray than those areas will be partially visible depending on how close they are to black or white with darker shades of gray being more visible than lighter shades.

Photoshop paints using the current Foreground color, the default for the Foreground color is black. You can see the current Foreground and Background colors by looking at their color swatches near the bottom of the Tools palette (the Foreground color is the swatch in the top left).

If your Foreground color is set to something other than black, press the D key on your keyboard to quickly reset both the Foreground and Background colors to their default values of Black and White respectively.

Foreground & Background Colors in Photoshop
Foreground & Background Colors

Step 4: Creating random lines and dots in document

I’ve created horizontal lines and few dots with varying width and opacity as shown below.

Random lines and dots painted in Photoshop to define brush preset
Random lines and dots

Step 5: Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset…

Define Brush Preset in photoshop
Define Brush Preset

The following dialog box will open up in Photoshop. Enter a name of your choice. Click OK

Define Brush Preset dialog box in photoshop
Define Brush Preset dialog box

As we have our brush tool selected, the new Brush Preset will automatically apply to it. To test our new Brush Preset, I’ll close the current document and create a new document with 1920 px by 1080 px of Width and Height respectively.

If it’s not automatically active for you then open Brush Preset Picker.

Brush Preset Picker
Brush Preset Picker
Brush Preset Picker dialog box in photoshop
Brush Preset Picker

Scroll down the list of available Brush Presets, newly created brushes will appear at the bottom of the list then click on the thumbnail to select the brush.

New Brush Preset Defined in Photoshop
New Brush Preset Defined

With the new Brush selected, I’ll paint few random strokes in the document.

Random strokes painted in photoshop using newly defined brush preset
Random strokes painted

It could be modified using the Brush Settings panel as discussed in one of our previous Photoshop Lesson on, ‘Brush tool in Photoshop‘.


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What is a Preset Brush in Photoshop

A Preset Brush in Photoshop is a saved Brush Tip with defined characteristics such as size, shape and hardness. We can save preset brushes with the characteristics we use often.

When we change the size, shape or hardness of a preset brush, the change is temporary. The next time we choose that preset, the brush uses its original settings. To make our changes permanent, we need to create a new preset.


How do you save a Preset Brush in Photoshop

Follow the steps below to save a Brush Preset in Photoshop:

Step 1: Select Brush tool

Brush Tool in Photoshop
Brush Tool

Step 2: Open Brush Preset Picker

Change size, hardness and roundness of the brush as per your requirement.

Option for roundness of brush in Brush preset picker in photoshop
Roundness of brush

Step 3: Create a new preset from this brush

Click on the ‘Create a new preset from this brush’ button in the Brush Preset Picker.

Create a new preset from this brush in brush preset picker in photoshop
Create a new preset from this brush

After we click OK, a box will appear with following checkboxes:

  • Capture Brush size in Preset
  • Include Tool Settings
  • Include Color
New Preset Brush dialog box
New Preset Brush dialog box

I’ll be selecting all the checkboxes. Then click OK.

Step 4: Again, open Brush Preset Picker

Scroll down and we’ll notice a new Preset Brush being saved.

New Preset Brush in Brush Preset Picker in photoshop
New Preset Brush

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Why I can’t click Define Brush Preset

Your Define Brush Preset command maybe disabled because of one or more of following reasons:

  • Maybe the size of brush you are trying to save is more than 5000 px by 5000 px in Width & Height.
  • Everything is white in the document. Hence you are trying to save a transparent brush which couldn’t be done.
  • Maybe the selection or layer you are trying to define as brush is empty.

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