Tuesday, March 1, 2011

How to recolor brushes when they're not .abr files

Anne Hargreaves asked, in her comment to Hey! It's Tuesday!:
How have you coloured them? I could do it if they were brushes - I'm sure I'm missing something obvious!
Hi Anne! The kind of brushes that I make usually are transparent .png files, instead of the typical .abr file (which are commonly called brushes) you might find. Mostly I don't bundle them as .abr, because many of my brushes take up a full 12x12" page (3600 pixels to a side), and the maximum size for a Photoshop brush is 2500 pixels. However, recoloring them is a breeze!

There are many ways to do this.

Simplest: Open the file, and change the color fill by choosing the color you want as your foreground color, then pressing shift+alt+backspace (for Photoshop CS & PSE).

Second: change the color by locking the transparency on the brush layer (in your layers palette window up at the top, to the right of "Lock", click on the little box with gray & white squares), then simply painting over it. This is particularly nice when you use the clone tool and pick up specific parts of a photograph to paint with.

Third: Use an adjustment color fill layer. Click on the little gray/white circle in the layers palette window, and choose "Color." Pick your color when the dialog box comes up, then clip this layer to the brush layer (ctrl+alt+g in CS+, ctrl+g in PSE). The nice thing about this option is that you can change the blending mode on the color layer, as well as on the brush layer, so you can achieve some really intricate coloring. (Note: you can also use the Layer-->New Fill Layer-->Color command from the menu at the top of your screen to do this).

Fourth: Clip a photograph or paper to the brush by using the ctrl+alt+g (CS) or ctrl+g (PSE) command.

Those are the 4 most basic options I can think of at the moment to help you use the brushes that I often include in my kits or as element packs. They are a TON of fun!


  1. Hi Heather
    Thank you so much for this! I can now go ahead and play!


  2. The one I use is from Blending option (right-click on the layer) - tick Color Overlay and pick color. Blending mode Color or Normal depending if I want the texture to show, etc.
    From the Blending Options I often like adjust bevel or embossing to give it more depth...

  3. Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [02 Mar 12:00am GMT]. Thanks, Maria


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