Installing Photoshop Brushes (& GIMP!) Tutorial    

Installing Brushes Tutorial

Photoshop 7, CS-CS6, CC
Photoshop Elements 2+


This tutorial will walk you through how to create brushes in Photoshop. It details how to create the brushes themselves and save them into a set.

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/