Viewing Your Brushes
It can be frustrating having a lot of brushes, but not remembering where they are or what they are. As you can see from the view of the Photoshop Presets Editor above, it can be difficult to ascertain exactly what a brush looks like even with the large previews. (OK, the butterflies shown are easy, but little text or grunge brushes can be difficult!) It’s also difficult to remember what brushes you have that aren’t loaded. Here are a few suggestions for easier ways to view and find your brushes.
Applications For Viewing Brushes
There are quite a few applications available that are a big help in finding and previewing your brushes.
Brush Pilot is a nifty little application for Mac users that allows you to preview all your Photoshop brushes. When installed, it will automatically find all instances of brushes on your computer and even on external hard drives. It shows you where the brush is located as well. Have a look at the screenshots to see more features in action.
If I had one feature on my Wish List for this app, it would be a way to also tag brushes so you could find them by subject easier. Having a file structure for your brushes could handle this.
Another handy feature about this app is that it will allow you to export brushes to .png format. If you are someone who prefers using .png overlays and you get brushes that do not come with them, this is a time-saver. In fact, I’m hoping this will be a great addition to my own workflow!
If you are on the PC platform, a quick search turned up these freeware programs, abrMate and BrushView. I haven’t used these, so if you have any experience with them or another application, please leave a comment!
An Alternative Method
Another way to organize and view your brushes would be using the .png files that come with many brushes and either viewing them in Adobe Bridge, or even better, an image database program. With an image database program, the advantage is that these images would be organized with your other stock assets and you can give them keywords.
Adobe Lightroom (pre Lightroom 5) for example does not support .png files. If you want to import the .png files into earlier versions of Lightroom, you’ll need to convert them to Photoshop or Tiff files.
Also, I’ve had reports that the Photoshop Elements Organizer doesn’t see the transparent .pngs very well. Check out ACDSee for database programs that handle transparant .png files very nicely. These programs are often used by Scrapbookers as they generally have a lot of .png files. While I use Lightroom for my photography and Raw processing, my own plan is to create a separate database using either ACDSee or Canto’s Cumulus single user edition (this program is expensive, but I already have a license, and I like this database) for my graphics. The nice thing about this method is that I could then see all my .png files and I could also have my stock and graphics catalog open at the same time as Lightroom. I just like the idea of having my stock graphics in a separate catalog from my photographs. The keywords are different and I like to keep 3rd party graphics clearly separate from my own.
Using one of the brush viewers above would be a nice compliment to database method for finding brushes and for creating .png files if your brush set does not come with one.
What about you? How do you tame your Photoshop brushes?
Check the brushes you see above or my other Photoshop brushes. I also have a few free brush sets. Check the Freebies category.Shop For Brushes