Would you like to add a little holiday sparkle to your blog or website, but don’t have suitable photos? Why not take the photos you do have and make them holiday themed with a snowflake or two?
There are thousands of Photoshop brushes available to buy online. They are easy to use and can transform the simplest image into something seasonal and fun. Watch today’s video to see just how easy they are to use.
WHAT ARE PHOTOSHOP BRUSHES?
Photoshop brushes do many things. You can paint, draw and write with them, use them to lighten, darken, sharpen and blur, select areas and create masks, or you can use them like a stamp.
Most of us will never need to tap into their full potential, but we can use them to add a festive or fun touch to our images.
Photoshop comes with a range of brushes already loaded into the presets. To add a new brush, you will need to download the file onto your computer — it will come as an .ABR file — and then load it into your presets.
All of your presets, including brushes, styles, gradients and patterns, are accessed via the Preset Manager. Here you can delete brushes, save sets or upload new brushes.
Today’s video uses a snowflake brush. If you want to follow along with the video, you can download the brush from the Resource Library.
This video will show you how to:
- Select a new brush and set its properties in the Brush Panel.
- Vary the size, opacity, spacing, spread and angle of the brush.
THE STEP BY STEP
LOADING THE BRUSH PRESET
- Download and save your snowflake brush.
- Select Edit - Presets - Preset Manager.
- Select Brushes from Preset Type.
- Click Load and navigate to where you saved your new brush file.
- Click Open and when you return back to the Preset Manager, select Done.
- The brush will now be available to you when you choose the Brush Tool.
SETTING THE BRUSH PROPERTIES
- Before you start painting, make sure you create a New Layer above your photograph layer. This is the layer you will paint on, just in case you need to make any changes.
- Choose the Brush Tool from the Tool Bar on the left-hand side.
- On the Options Bar at the top, change your brush to the snowflake. You’ll need to scroll down, as this will be right at the bottom of the list.
- Double-click on the Foreground Colour at the bottom of the Tool Bar and select the colour for your snowflakes. This can be changed later, if you need to.
- Open the Brush Panel on the right-hand side of the screen. If you can’t see it listed in the Panels, go to Window - Brush (shortcut F5).
- Under Brush Tip Shape, set the Size of your brush to suit the image you are painting on. To check, just over your mouse over the photo to see its size.
- Just above the preview screen at the bottom of the Brush Panel, you will see Spacing. You need to separate the snowflakes, so set this to around 200%.
- Select Shape Dynamics from the Brush Panel options. Here you can vary (jitter) the Size and Angle of your brush.
- Set the Size Jitter to below 50% if you want a uniform size for the snowflakes, or above 50% if you want more variation in the size.
- Set the Angle Jitter to 30%.
- Check you are still on your new, blank layer.
- Click and drag across your photo to paint on the snowflakes.
- If you want to place individual snowflakes, just click down once and let go, just like using a rubber stamp.
RECOLOURING THE SNOWFLAKES
To change all the snowflakes to the same colour, use a Colour Overlay on the snowflake layer:
- Double click on the layer.
- Select Colour Overlay.
- Click on the Colour Swatch.
- On the Colour Picker, select or type in the colour you want.
- Click Okay and Okay again to return to the photo.
You can also recolour individual snowflakes by making use of the layer’s transparency:
- To lock the transparency of a layer, look just above the top layer in your layer stack. You will see Lock: followed by a chequered box (plus other options). Note: you don’t use the padlock option here, as you want to lock the transparency, not the whole layer.
- Make sure you have your snowflake layer selected and then click on the chequered box. You will see a padlock appear on the layer.
- Change your Brush to a solid, round brush.
- Set the Opacity and Flow to 100%.
- Change the Foreground Colour to a colour you would like to use.
- Paint over individual snowflakes.
- Continuing changing the Foreground Colour and Painting.
BEFORE & AFTER
As you can see, brushes can make quite a difference to an image. A distinctly non-holiday photo has a festive feel with a scattering of snowflakes.
You could use this to jazz up your product photos if, for example, you are running a sale or promoting them on social media.
HAVE A GO
Sometimes, you have a great product or article image, but it doesn’t necessarily reflect the season. Photoshop brushes allow you to give almost any photo a holiday feel.
If you don't want to set up a holiday photo shoot or buy stock images, this can be a great time and money saver. Just scatter around your snowflakes and your images will be transformed.
Would you like to have a go? You can download the snowflake brush used in the video from the Resource Library.
Just load it up, start painting and have fun.