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Posts tagged “Free Photoshop Brushes


Image of Magnolia Avenue in St. Augustine, FloridaThis week’s blog is basically a simple tip on getting a textured border to match your image effect, and the video shows how to create your own border brush. National Geographic cites the above image as one of the “Most beautiful Streets in America” – Magnolia trees with Spanish Moss shade the street near the famous Fountain of Youth located in St. Augustine, Florida. In earlier blogs I discussed using plain double-edged layer styles for a clean-edged look on regular photographs. Dave Cross has some great tutorials on more creative edges and adding some great looking borders that he teaches on KelbyOne and in his still excellent book Photoshop Finishing Touches. But when I am creating a “painterly” look, these really do not do add to the image and I am left with a feeling that the image is unfinished. Since most watercolor images have a light border around them, I had created one that I liked a lot, but it still was not quite the effect I was looking to get. (See Related Blogs at bottom – some with free download links for styles and frames.) Therefore, I have come up with this little workflow to create the perfect artsy border each time.

The trick to getting a this beautiful edge on your image is to:

1.  Create a New Layer on top of your final post-processed image.

2.  Select the Paintbrush Tool using a similar brush that was used to paint in the image, (or create the one in my video), and paint an edge around the photo – you do not have to paint at 100%, but also try 50 or 60% brush opacity and make sure that you are a little sloppy so that it looks like an actual painting showing bits of the underlying canvas.

3.  While still on the border layer, this time switch to the Eraser Tool and select the same brush from the Brush Preset Panel. I set the brush size a little less in the Eraser Tool and painted back around the painted border rough edges. This creates a really nice natural edge look. All brushes in the Brush Preset Panel can be used with any type of brush tool – eraser, smudge, sharpen, mixer, clone stamp, pattern stamp, etc. – very handy.

4. Now go back and forth between the Paintbrush Tool (B) and the Eraser Tool (E) until you get the border you want. A quick tip is that if you hold how the E tool very quickly and paint, it will return to the Paintbrush Tool when you release the key. This can make creating the border very fast.

As a last optional step, add a Bevel and Emboss layer style (double click on the black part of the layer in the Layer panel) and click on the words Bevel and Emboss. The above border was set to Style Inner Bevel, Depth 75% and Size 17 pixels. Contour was check with Range 25% and Texture Pattern was set to a Gesso Pattern by John Derry at Scale of 250% and Depth of +75%. Experiment with the pattern as this can really help blend the border into the photo if a plug-in was used to add the effect. Below is a video link showing how I created the second image’s border using the basic steps above. (Does not show up in RSS Feed – need to open blog to run You Tube Video.)


Image of a shop display in St. Augustine, FloridaSince I am pretty new with creating videos, just bear with me on this, but I do like the brush created in it. I hope you will be able to enjoy painting borders just like this one. Try different base brushes and playing with the Brush Panel settings. I hope to be able to create some more nice painterly brushes as I learn more about the various settings. Once again, it is fun to add your own spin to your images. Have a good week!…..Digital Lady Syd

Post-Processing Info:

Image 1: The original was taken from a moving trolley bus so it was a good candidate for a “painterly” look. Photoshop CC’s Shake Reduction filter helped the blurriness just a little. Next I followed Ian Barber’s Photoshop Soft Light Glow video to add a really nice lighting effect (the Gaussian Blur Radius was set 143). Next some major clean up removing posts and signs and a Levels Adjustment layer to add some contrast back. Alien Skin Snap Art 4“s Impasto Vignette preset was used with a mask set at the end of the road to add a little more detail. Next Topaz (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) ReStyle Treehouse preset was added with no changes. Painted the border with an oil brush using the same brush in the Eraser Tool to get the same edging effect. I think it now looks like how I want to remember it!

Image 2: I was please this image turned out so nice since it was behind glass. Just the basic adjustments in Lightroom. In Photoshop OnOne (see my Tidbits Blog sidebar for website link) Perfect Effects 8.1 was opened and an orange and blue Split Tone filter was applied with the Balance set to 74, and an Detail Adjustment Brush was used to sharpen up the birdhouse and glasses. Shadowhouse Creations released Texture Set JJ – several really nice free textures last week including the Texture 5 shown here. An really nice brush from David Cole Complete Digital Painting Techniques called wax resist was used to paint back in the items in a layer mask on the texture (click here to download these brushes). This book is older but is still quite relevant to the basic digital painting techniques being used today. A Curves Adjustment Layer and Levels Adjustment Layer along with a couple clean up layers were added before the border was added as shown in the video.

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How To Make Frames or Borders
Digital Lady Syd’s Free Layer Style Frames
More Border Fun!
Feeling Like a Walk on the Island
Soft Painterly Effect

That Flaming Fire Brush!

I admit it – I have certain people that I think are brilliant when it comes to Photoshop creativity – one is the totally awesome Russell Brown and another one is NAPP guy, Corey Barker. They never let you down when it some to discovering new things to do in Photoshop. This week I listened to this short video on Corey’s website, Planet Photoshop, called “Creating Exploding Brushes.”  This first image basically looks very similar to Corey’s but I loved the effect. The cloud brush created in the tutorial was used as the background texture – I used my SJ-Cloud Brushes Set Cloud 4 brush. You may download my SJ-Firebrush used for all these images.

This image uses BB Brushes and Mists Sampled Brush 3 to add a fog feel behind the cloud of flames created in this image. This silhouette is from a set called People Silhouettes by redheadstock at deviantArt. A grunge effect was added with OnOne PhotoFrames (see website link on sidebar of my Tidbits Blog).

First used the Gradient Tool to create a radial gradient using Graphix 1’s Muted 6 gradient. Next two different palm trees brushes by Midnightstouch were added. Char Ultimate Grass Brushes and Obsidian Dawn’s Grasses & Plants Brush No. 9 were used.  My Firebrush was used to make a background texture, without the layer style used to create the fire effect. A little Warp Tool on the brushes and that was it for this image.

I started this image by painting a sky with the Photoshop chalk brush using a color I really like for skies (#c2d0d8). A tree from MelBrushes Winter Trees and Falln-Brushes Tree Brushes Set 2 (Dead Tree 1) from deviantArt were added. The tree leaves and the bushes were created using the SJ-Firebrush by just dabbing a bit on the leaves with small size of brush and using a couple different hues – can always a add Layer Mask to trees to hide some of the branches. Also the foreground was created using the Firebrush and the bush, from The Grasslands set by Midnightstouch at deviantArt. The birds are from Obsidian Dawn’s Bird Flying Group. Put a frame on it and it is done. All very easy to do and lots of fun!

This image was created using two of Caleb Kimbrough’s fabulous free textures, Summer texture 4 and Subtle Grunge Example 3. I used my SJ-Soft Blending Brush to create the flower stems and the SJ-FireBrush at a small size to create the flowers. I used Nik’s Color Efex Pro Graduated User Defined filter using a reddish hue for the sky and a Vignette Frame from OnOne PhotoFrame (see website link on sidebar of my Tidbits Blog).

This turned out be just sort of a fun blog – wanted to show that if you get an interesting brush to play with, you can get some really cool effects and it is a lot fun. Experiment! (Digital Lady Syd’s Rule No. 1) You can get some surprising results!…..Digital Lady Syd

Just Plain Fun Brush Effects!

This week I am going to show pictures I basically created from scratch some of the great Photoshop brushes available for free download. You might get a really nice special effect to fill that space on your wall. A few weeks ago I did a blog called “How to Create Photoshop Brushes from Objects or Text” which contains basic information on how to make and save your brushes and might be useful here.

This image was created using Vintage Grunge Brushes by alex16 at DeviantArt, the great Summer Texture8 by Caleb Kimbrough (one I use a lot – love the warm tones in it) and some plain ole splotches and lines I made just by playing with the brush settings in the Brush Panel. Please note that on the DeviantArt downloads, please be sure you look at the terms each individual requires – these people work very hard to bring you all the many free downloads and you should be kind enough to follow their terms for use. Most have very reasonable requirements such as letting them know when you used their items and back-linking to them on your sites.

Once again, brushes from DeviantArt were used to create this image. The flowers were created using Flowers 1 Brush Pack for Photoshop from Texturemate using flower01.png and 03.png brushes. These are really nice large flower brushes that I also used in an image in my linked paintbrush blog above. For the grunge background, abstract grunge brushes pack 2_by xaliasx at DeviantArt were used. Finally a layer style was created using a Pattern Overlay called Noise (in Adobe Photoshop CS5’s Texture Fill pattern set) at 100% opacity and 1000% scale, an Inner Glow using a cream color at 75% opacity and Size of 144 pixels, and the basic Stroke at dark gray, inside and 4 pixels size.

The Fantasy Look was made by selecting a Radial Gradient called Singing the Blues by cazcastalla (Blues21) centered on the flair (my 3 Lens Flare brushes – SJ-Brush Flare). The snowflakes background is from Obsidian Dawn (SS Glitter Photoshop Brushes – snowflakes-glitter brush), the clouds uses several of my clouds SJ-Cloud Brush Set that contains 6 brushes can be downloaded here), white fog from DeviantArt  BB-Brushes Fogs and Mists using Sampled Brush #11. The Female Figure was supposed to be from an image I found on DeviantArt, but was unable to get permission in time to use their photo for this blog, so I improvised with clip art from a book called Dragons & Wizards. The clothing had to be painted in so I used a soft blend brush I created (can be downloaded here). I think in the end it may be as nice as my first attempt. When I get permission, I will post for comparison. Finally a cracked texture effect, I used the one from PhotoFrame plug-in but there are many out there that will give a similar look, was added. Pretty easy and fun to do!

I found this really nice pack of grass brushes and had to experiment. This is what I ended up with. I really love the colors and the image of the girl – and it was a fairly easy image to create. Used my cloud brushes that can be downloaded above, Midnightstouch Grasslands Brushes at DeviantArt (really nice grass and plant brushes), Charfades Ultimate Grass Brush Set (more very nice brushes), Obsidian Dawn’s Flying Bird Brushes (always the best brushes), papyrus brushes in Trees by Horhew Brush Set. The beautiful young lady is from an image called “By the Window” from Eirian Stock at DeviantArt.

This final brush painting was once again created after downloading these great Photoshop Daily Chinese Painting Brushes. Used my Textures – Pastel Watercolor for layer 2  by creating a watercolor texture for the background (see “Create a Colorful Paint Background in Photoshop” by which is a really fun tutorial to do.  I created a Texture Dots texture and then applied the Plug in Galaxy Warp-Flare Warp to the composite. Painted using the Chinese painting brushes one side of flowers, duplicated the layer and merged. Added a few layers styles, adjustment layers, and the frame from PhotoFrames. That’s it.

Sometimes it seems that the images are so complex you forget to see the beautiful colors and the simplicity of a design. Photoshop brushes bring this back into perspective when creating a document. And it never ceases to amaze me how much you can actually create with brushes, whether from others or your own. Hope you got some ideas on what to do when you just need to try something different. It seems I tend to make these images when I discover new brushes to try out. Maybe you will find some inspiration from the ones I mentioned here. Have fun!…..Digital Lady Syd