Installing Photoshop Brushes (& GIMP!) Tutorial

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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