Installing Photoshop Brushes (& GIMP!) Tutorial

Posted in: Tutorials | Tags: , , .
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • Google Plus
  • StumbleUpon
  • Tumblr
  • Reddit
Installing Brushes Tutorial
Photoshop 7, CS-CS6, CC

This tutorial will walk you through installing and using brushes from this site, and should be very similar to the procedure used to install brushes from just about anywhere. It is a beginner tutorial, so those just beginning Photoshop will understand it – but it’s not so tedious that more experienced users will be too bored.

For those that want to know how to install the brushes in GIMP, scroll down to the end of this tutorial or click here.

1. The Photoshop brushes on my site can be found here.

2. Once you have the file(s) unzipped (place it somewhere that you can find the files easily), you should see a file that has an *.abr extention. My brushes were made in Photoshop 7.0. They will work in Photoshop 7 and any Photoshop that came out after that (ie: CS, CS2, CS3, CS4, etc.). They will also work in GIMP 2.2.6+ (for GIMP installation, see below). They work equally well on both a PC and a Mac.

3.Now, you just need to place the *.abr file within the correct directory. Windows users, you can see the path highlighted in red just below. IF you installed Photoshop with the default path, this will be correct. If, for example, you installed Photoshop 7.0 on your C drive, the path would be: C:\Program Files\Adobe\Photoshop 7.0\Presets\Brushes

If you installed Photoshop differently than what it defaults to, you should still be able to find the Presets\Brushes folder within whatever directory you installed Photoshop.

Mac users, you probably installed Photoshop into your Applications folder, so check there for it. Then find Presets > Brushes (if you’re not sure where you installed Photoshop and all else fails, you can always do a search for the brushes folder on your system).

This is where you need to place the *.abr file (just copy/paste from wherever you unzipped it to).

4.Open up Photoshop. If you already had Photoshop open, you will need to re-open it. If you install brushes with Photoshop open, they will not show up until the next time you open Photoshop. Select the Brush tool (or really any other tool that uses brushes is just fine, this is just an example).

5.Up along the top, just under the top menu, there is a brush selector. It is here that you can change the size of your brush, as well as the brush itself. It is also here that you load up a particular brush set. Click on the small arrow just to the right of the brush itself. Like this:

6.Just to the right of the selection of current brushes, click on the arrow that points out to the side. A menu will come up that should list every set of brushes that you have in your brushes directory. To make my “lips and mouth” brushes active, for example, you would click on “SS-lips”. Photoshop will ask you if you would like to replace the current brushes. You have the option to simply click “OK”, which will do just that – remove the current active brushes from your brushes “palette” and load up the new ones. (Don’t worry, they haven’t disappeared! They can be loaded up again in the same manner in which we’re loading the lips brushes up now.) Your other option is to “Append”, which will append the lips brushes to the end of the list of whatever brushes you currently have active. Either will work, although I like to choose “OK” and have only one set of brushes open at a time.

7.Pick a color, open a new file, and click once somewhere within it. That’s it! To switch between brushes, you just use the scrollbar, click on the brush you want, and move the size slidebar to the right or left to make it the size you wish it to be. Just like with any other brush. To load another set of brushes, you would follow the same procedure. Voila!

Brief info on GIMP Installation

Installing brushes in GIMP is much the same as it is in Photoshop. The directory changes, and that’s about it.

First, unzip the file that you downloaded.

Place it into your GIMP brushes directory. For Windows users, it will be something like this:

C:/program files/Gimp(version)/share/gimp/(version)/brushes

Note: You can also place these into your Documents folder, where there will be a folder for GIMP custom content. Either place will work. Something like:


In Windows 7 (thank you, Annamarie, for the info!), the path looks more like this:


For Mac users, it should be within your GIMP directory, wherever you installed it. In most cases, it will be in your applications folder. So something like this:


Now it should show up whenever you open GIMP among your brushes. If GIMP was open when you installed these, you will need to either refresh the brushes (bottom right of the brushes window) or restart GIMP before they will show up.

If you are still having trouble installing GIMP brushes, you’ll need to find troubleshooting elsewhere. I am not a GIMP user, and this is the extent of my knowledge on how to install Photoshop brushes into GIMP.

Ubuntu Path: /home//.gimp-2.8/brushes/

  • http://geogle ashabonslea.p

    i want simple procedure for using photoshop

    • Stephanie

      This is about as simple as it gets when it comes to installing the brushes. Or are you asking for some other type of tutorial, showing how to use all of Photoshop’s tools?

      If so, that’s something… I can’t really do. I don’t even know what half of them do, because they don’t apply to how I use the program. :(

  • Cole

    Errg. I’m having issues instilling it into my GIMP.

  • Shannon

    I have CS5…will this not load to it? I’ve unzipped the files (eyelashes, and eyeshadow) but I can’t get it to upload to my brushes. Will it do it, or am I doing something wrong? Thanks.

    • Stephanie

      These most definitely will work in CS5. Are you following these instructions? You have to put it into the right file folder, and then they’ll just show up in Photoshop. It’s really that easy. Try doing a search for other ABR files on your computer, and make absolutely sure you’re putting it in the same file folder as them. Sometimes Windows will have two Photoshop directories, which might be confusing. Also make sure you’re restarting Photoshop if you have it open while installing them. They won’t show up until you start it again.

  • Terry Mellway

    I have Photoshop Elements 11 and I am not able to get these brushes into my software. I downloaded them and closed out Elements then went and unzipped the files and right-clicked and it asked if how I wanted to open the files and I chose with Elements Editor. When I go to the preset manager there are lots of brushes there but not yours. What might I be doing wrong?


    • Stephanie

      You don’t want to open them by opening the file, like you do other stuff. Just like it says in this tutorial, ALL you do is put them in the right place, unzipped, open Photoshop, and you load them and use them from within the program.

      • joanna

        I dunno Stephanie – i unzipped the files and placed them in preset/brushes directory but the only way they “load” even after refreshing photoshop was to open each .abr individually. Then they loaded and were showing in brush options. But when I close out of photoshop and restart a project again, the brushes are all gone. Maybe a reboot. Beautiful brushes though, just tedious to load each time!!!

        • Stephanie

          That definitely would be tedious. I’m not sure what to tell you. It could be some settings in your Photoshop somewhere, or it could be an issue with file permissions in Windows (assuming that’s what you use). I very rarely hear of anyone with a problem like this, but usually it seems it turns out to be file permissions. They should absolutely show up with your other brushes, when placed in the correct folder.

          Double check to make sure it’s the RIGHT presets > brushes folder, as well. Some Windows installations install the damn things twice for some strange reason.

  • Kasey N Emily Kleinman


  • Jean Chen

    You are brilliant! Thank you so much.

  • frogmorton

    thank you!

  • asdfg

    I tried using them with CS6 and it says they’re not compatible with this version =(

    • Stephanie

      If it’s saying that, then there was some kind of problem in the extraction process. Because they definitely work with CS6, and all versions up past Photoshop 7 (including the new CC). They’ve been tested, so there’s something wrong somewhere else along the line if they’re not working for you. Try re-downloading, re-extracting, and then try using “Load Brushes” and navigating to the file. They should definitely work! Hope this helps.

  • Angie

    I downloaded the eyelash brushes and they are in the brushes folder. However when I started to use them they seem to be swirling around and are not steady. I created a new layer and when I try to click them in place on the eye they keep spinning around so I am finding it so hard to position them. Please help. Thanks.

    • Stephanie

      Well, now. That’s odd. Sounds like there’s some extra “styles” being applied to the brush, which shouldn’t happen. You could try re-downloading and re-extracting them and see if that fixes it. Also, make sure you are just clicking ONCE to apply them. Not with a stroke, like you would with regular brushes.

      If you’re just clicking once, quickly, and there’s still more than one set of eyelashes showing up, then the brush settings need to be tinkered with. Hit F5 to bring up your Brushes window (or Window > Brush from the menu). Make sure none of the things like “Shape Dynamics” and “Scattering” have checks next to them. They shouldn’t. If they don’t, then there’s no reason at all for the brushes not to be coming out just once, without moving at all from where you clicked.

      Hope this helps!

      • Angie

        Thanks Stephnie. They brush kinda keeps flickering and does not stay in place. I am just now going to re download and extract them. So hopefully the problem will go away. Also will check the brushes settings like you suggested.
        Thanks a ton for your reply. I am a novice in gimp jus abt learning all it can do. Any help will be greatly appreciated! :)

        • As

          Stephanie, I redownloaded and extracted the brushes but its still doing the same flickering rotating motion when I use it on a pic. I am unable to position it and its so frustrating! When I click, it only has one set of eyelashes showing u at a random place or position coz I am not able to position it on the eye due to its constant motion. Please help. I viewed a couple of videos too, but I noticed that their brushes are not flickering and so it is easy to positions them accurately unlike mine :(

        • Stephanie

          Ahh, you’re using GIMP. Well, the settings won’t be where I said they would be. I don’t know a thing about GIMP, I’m sorry. These will definitely still work in GIMP, but I can’t really help you troubleshoot anything when it comes to that program. I’ve just never used it, I’m sorry.

        • As

          Stephanie, I was trying to download the Valentines day brushes but the link does not work on the Photoshop support page.
          Can these be used in Gimp? If yes, then can you plz send me the link via email?

        • Stephanie

          I’ve fixed the link via my site for now. There should be a download button now, just like on my other pages.

          I’ll contact Photoshop Support about it, as well. Thanks for the heads up!

  • SE

    Just a heads up to any GIMP users, .abr files will work in GIMP even if they’re uncommon for GIMP brush files. Also, the brushes will appear huge in GIMP once fired up even at the default size of 1. To use the brushes, I found it helps a ton to instantly lower the size of the brush to something very small like 0.5. It helps stop most of GIMP’s lag and the brush flickering on the screen. The brush should then work like all normal brushes without flickering or lagging. Without decreasing the size immediately, GIMP will likely lag out because the brush is going to be around several times bigger than your computer screen.

    I saw some people on this thread have some trouble so I hope this helps in the future :) I don’t know a thing about photoshop but I’m pretty okay with GIMP.

  • SmileSoUCanLive

    why can’t i Extract inside gimp??

    • Stephanie

      If you’re asking what I think you’re asking, GIMP wasn’t made to extract files. You need to extract it using your operating system. Then put it in the right place on your computer, and it’ll just be there in GIMP when you open it up.

  • Claire Shaw

    These are great! Thanks so much!

  • Jannatul Ferdous

    The most clear in describing tutorial on installing the photoshop brushes till now. Thank you indeed!

  • andrea evarientos

    thank you very much :) instructions were easy to manipulate ty

  • Adhityo Prathama Adji

    just wanna help those ppl who use this in gimp path not in C:/program files/Gimp(version)/share/gimp/(version)/brushes but C:/program files/Gimp(version)/share/gimp/(version)/brushes/texture add ABR file that u extract from stephanie in here.ima using GIMP v 2.8 and it works fine.

    • Stephanie

      Thanks for the update! This was written several years ago – perhaps the path changed? Looks like they just added that “textures” folder. I’ll look into this to make sure it applies to all brushes and then update the path. Thanks so much!

  • Davilyn Eversz

    I am running Mavericks OSX. I downloaded the brushes, opened the zip, ran it, and it is in the Applications folder. I right clicked and it says it opens with Ps, and indeed when I ran the App, Ps opened. But I’ve looked in Brushes and all I see are the standard numbered ones.

    • Stephanie

      Yeah, you don’t run it by just double clicking on it. If you follow the tutorial above, it explains what folder to put the ABR file in (Photoshop > Presets > Brushes). Then restart Photoshop, and it’ll be listed there automatically. Let me know if you have any further trouble :)

      • Davilyn Eversz

        I spent 30 minutes looking for that folder in my “Go folder find”. It says there is no such folder.

        • Stephanie

          That is the oddest thing, I have NO idea why these wouldn’t be working for you. I use these on my Mac, in Photoshop CC 2015, and did when I was running Mavericks, as well (although I’m using Yosemite now).

          I didn’t know about that CMD+click trick, thanks for that! Did you close and re-open Photoshop after putting them in the folder? That is literally the only reason at all that I can think of that they wouldn’t be showing up in your list if you’ve got them in the right folder.

          Alternately, you can try using “Load Brushes” instead of choosing them from the list (since they’re not showing up on it!) and navigate to them that way.

          You absolutely don’t need to use Edit > Presets > Add (although I understand why you did, given that you were probably trying everything). Just move the ABR file, unzipped, into your Brushes folder, and that’s all it takes. But you do need to restart Photoshop after putting them in that folder, like I said.

          If they won’t load up using “Load Brushes”, then there was some sort of a corruption during the download or extraction process. Try re-downloading and extracting again, and don’t use any fancy extraction programs. Just let Mavericks do it (which it probably already does when you download it).

          Let me know if any of this helps!

        • Davilyn Eversz

          Gee I feel like I’ve been through a war – LOL! I ended up, after more tinkering around, just downloading the file again and sure enough, the first one was corrupted, the second try put them easily into the Presets after I loaded brushes. I will now guard these Flame Brushes with my life, for they were hard won – LOL! Thanks for all your help Stephanie – I was in a serious time crunch in a Project and it escaped my mind that it just might be a corrupted file. By the way, you should check out Affinity, it is really a nice program – their Selection Refinement is worth the $49 all by itself.

        • Stephanie

          Whew, so glad you got it working! Crazy how it can be something as simple as that. Thanks for letting me know :)

        • Davilyn Eversz

          Nope, still not working. The Sparklies loaded – numbers 28-13, right? But the Flame brushes don’t. It says in your tutorial that the Flame brushes are preceded by the word Flame, and then a number but nothing is loading into brushes that is labeled that way. It says its already loaded but I can’t see anything there. I spent awhile in the Adobe Forum this morning and all they could offer was the advice to reset brushes and reload. Which I’ve already done numerous times.

        • Stephanie

          I’m not sure what you mean by “numbers 28-13″… the sparklies brushes are named things like “grouping#”, “single#”, “scattering#”, “accent#”, etc. If you download the image pack (it’s a text link below the row of download/help/buy buttons), those are the JPGs that I use to make the brushes. They have the same names as the brushes end up having.

          At this point, the only problem I can think of is an issue with your Photoshop installation. I have hosted this website for 10 years and had hundreds of thousands of downloads, and NEVER had anybody that had this kind of trouble installing them. I’ve suggested to you (I think!) all of the problems that people have come across in all those years, and they don’t seem to be the issue. That seems to me to suggest extraordinary circumstances, and so an installation problem is all I can think of.

          But speaking of the image packs, those are also your solution, if you can’t get the brushes working. Download those and open them and choose Edit > Define Brush Preset to make it into a brush. It’s tedious, but it should absolutely work for you.

          What does it say to you if you download the brushes onto your desktop and choose “Load Brushes”… or better yet, “Replace Brushes”? “Replace Brushes” should completely remove any open brushes and replace them with ONLY my set. If it doesn’t give you an error message, they should be there. If it does, let me know what it says, if you would?

        • Davilyn Eversz

          Well I figured out what was happening. Nowhere in any tutorials of brush loading did it say they are imported as a Grouping outside of the brush panel of default brushes. So I looked farther down the flyout menu and there they were, listed by .abr name. So then I figured I must have to append those to the default brushes and everything worked fine. I just assumed it looked at the .abr file and automatically imported it into the brush defaults – but now I see that wouldn’t be as good as an idea as the way it was done, in separate categories (and a first for Ps, something that is actually intuitive). See because I was wondering “well you can’t open the .abr file to see what the brushes are called” and now the question has been answered. They are separate until you append them – LOL! Live and learn. I can see why absolute newbies have such trouble. Never loaded outside brushes before, now I can do it asleep – LOL! So now I see by clicking on a Flame Brush, it then gives you the number of that brush.

        • Stephanie

          It should be pretty clear if you’re just choosing the name of the brushes from the menu, as it doesn’t append them — it completely replaces them. The photos in this tutorial, while extremely outdated as far as the version of Photoshop go, show exactly what should happen with the brushes when you load them just how it shows here. The very top brush should be the first one of my set. It shouldn’t be appending them to the existing set unless you’re choosing “Append” instead of “Ok.” (which this tutorial also mentions)

          Regardless, I’m very glad you got them working and that you can find them. :)

  • jlcronin

    How can I use the brushes in my paint shop pro 7 and 8

    • Stephanie

      You would need to download the image packs, available for most brush sets just below the row of buttons. Then make them into brushes in PSP yourself. They’re not compatible any other way, but that’s precisely what the image packs are for. :)

    • jlcronin

      Thank you!

  • CraftyLefty

    Hi. I was able to install this in GIMP with no problem, but I can’t install in in PS CS6. When I go to add the .abr file, I don’t have a brushes folder.

    • omar sherif

      Unzip The Folder Then Extract The Brush With Extension (.abr) And Copy It To ( C: / Program Files / Adobe / Photoshop CS6 / Brushes / Presets )

    • Stephanie

      What Omar replied with is correct (Thanks, Omar!), which is what I say in my tutorial (minus the CS6 part, but that’s implied given the version of Photoshop). If you’re using any brushes at all, then you need to have a brushes folder somewhere. Try using the search function to find the Photoshop folder (you may have more than one if you’re using Windows) and then find the presets folder from there. Or try searching for “presets”, as that’s a pretty unique name.

      Make sure it’s unzipped and is the ABR file that you’re putting there. Then, make sure you’ve restarted Photoshop, if it was open when you installed it.

      Hope this helps!

    • CraftyLefty

      Yes, I know how to unzip the folder, etc., that’s self explanatory. My problem was that there wasn’t a brushes folder anywhere. At first, I had tried making one, but of course that didn’t work. I then followed the path that showed up in the prompt when trying to load your brushes. It was in a completely different place. I copy and pasted the .abr file where the brushes folder was located and it works. I was determined to make my first eye last night lol. Thanks for the reply. :)

      • Stephanie

        Great! So glad you got it working. The brushes folder’s location is dependent upon where you installed Photoshop, so it can definitely be different! My tutorial’s path is for the default location that it installs into if you don’t change it. Or at least, what it used to install into if you don’t change it. I haven’t used Windows for many years now. Thanks for letting me know you got it working, and let me know if there’s anything more I can help with. :)