Loading and Using Brushes


In this lesson, we’ll learn about

  • Brushes in Photoshop Elements
  • Loading Brushes (Permanently or Temporarily)
    • Copy/Paste the Brush to the Photoshop Elements Presets Folder
    • Load Brush Temporarily

Brushes in Photoshop Elements

Loading and using a brush (.abr file) is a mystery to many scrappers. This is why most designers include .png files in addition to .abr files.  You can use either file type to get the same result on your layout.  When you think of a brush think of a stamp.  If a file is very specific to a kit or it is something you don’t think you’ll use at another time or with a different kit, then using the png file is fine.  But there are many brushes that can be used again and again.

If you decide to use the brush later on another layout it may not be easy to find. You may not remember which kit a particular brush is in.  This is a good reason to load and use the brush in Photoshop Elements.  In this tutorial, I will demystify the process for you.

Load Brushes (Permanently or Temporarily)

The first step is to download, unzip and store the file.  I have a folder on my computer for Actions, Brushes, and Styles.  If a brush came in a kit I move it to this folder.  It’s up to you if you keep it with the kit or move it.  Remember, if you move it the png files will still be with the kit. To load the brush, simply locate the brush on your computer.



Load Brush Permanently

Open the folder and find the .abr file you want to load.  Instead of moving the brush to the brush folder in Photoshop Elements, I copy and paste to the brush folder.  This way I still have the original saved in another location in case something corrupts the other folder.

Find the brush where you saved it on your computer.  Right-click> Copy (Ctrl+C)


Go to C:> Program Files> Adobe> Photoshop Elements 14> Presets> Brushes


Paste the .abr file here.  Right-click> Paste (Ctrl+V)



Now when you start PSE you’ll find the brush you just loaded in the Brush drop-down list. When you select the brush and hover over your layout you’ll see a larger image of the brush.  Add a new layer, click anywhere on your layout to place the element on your page.

Using Brush1


The element is just like any other.  It has a bounding box so it can be moved, resized, rotated or anything else you’d do with an element.  You can also adjust the opacity as needed.



Load Brush Temporarily

There is an alternate way to load and use a brush temporarily.  Using the Brush drop-down menu select Load Brushes.  This method allows you to load the brush for use but if you load a different brush it replaces the first.   If a brush is very specific to a kit that it came with you may only want to use it when you’re using that particular kit.  In that case, there is no need to move it to the Photoshop Elements Presets folder.




The brush (.abr file) can be used with the Brush Tool or the Pencil Tool interchangeably.  The brush color is selected the same as any other tool.


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