Creating brushes

In this step you'll learn how to make an ordinary brush as well as a colored one. (No animated brushes in this tut.)

Now we've seen the differences in how these 2 brush types work. They are also created differently. Ordinary brushes are made in greyscale - that is black/grey on a white background - while colored brushes are RGB images with a transparent background.
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I'll show you how to make each brush starting with the ordinary one.

Open up a new file with a white background. File -> New -> advanced options...
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Note that I'm working in RGB... I won't convert to greyscale untill I've finished the brush image.

Use tools, text, gradients or photos to create a brush image. Do not use work that is copyrighted! Smudge, blur and anti-alias as much as you like. Using the gradient tool can also create some cool fading effects. Remember the black parts of your image become solid color, the greys will appear semi-transparent (the lighter the more transparent) and the white will not be seen at all. For this tutorial I've draw some some black and grey strokes with the paintbrush, then I've smudged a lot back and forth and finally used a filter.
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When I've got an image I like I crop the image to get rid of blank space. Use the crop tool or select the part you want to keep and then choose Image -> Crop Image. I've also resized my image: Image -> Scale Image...

There's a max size for brushes in Gimp, but to be honest I have no idea what it is... but if you make a huge brush and it won't work, try making it smaller.

Ok, so I've got my image ready. I only need 3 important steps before I can use my brush.
1. Flatten image: If you've only got one layer you can skip this step. Otherwise choose Image -> Flatten Image
2. Convert to greyscale: Choose Image -> Mode -> Greyscale.
3. Save as .gbr: Choose File -> Save as... (from the menu on the active image) and click 'Browse for other folders' to find the folder you'll be using for brushes. Now type in a filename for your brush - this will not be visible in Gimp, so the name doesn't have to look flashy or make sense. It's a good idea to put in your initials somewhere in the filename - I'll name this brush 'desTutBrush.gbr' ALWAYS add the .gbr to the filename!
When you press 'save' you'll be prompted for a spacing value (this is a percentage) and a description. For this brush I put '25' and 'Random by des'.
Note that this description is the name that will appear in Gimp - and the brushes are sorted alphabetically after their descriptions. So if you're doing a series of brushes and you want them to appear next to each other in the brush dialog you must start with the same word. In this case I could name any other brushes 'Random#2' and 'Random#3' or 'Random by des #2'. You get the point ;) Also, if you're dead set on demanding credit when people use your brushes it will be a good idea to have your name or initials appear somewhere in the description.

Alright... Now my brush is succesfully saved. I press the update button on the brush dialog and I now I see the brush... nifty!
My random brush works like this when tested with a purple foreground color:
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Now on to the colored brush:
Open up a new image with a transparent background:
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Use tools, text, gradients or photos to create a brush image. If you're working from an existing photo or graphics be sure to work in RGB mode: Image -> Mode -> RGB. Do not use work that is copyrighted!
For this super quick color brush I'll go with a selection filled with a gradient. When I'm happy with it I will crop and resize (Ok, so I'm not all that happy with it, but it's just to show you how a brush is made... feel free to make a prettier one).
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When the image is ready there is only 2 important steps left:
1. Flatten image: If you've only got one layer you can skip this step. Otherwise choose Image -> Flatten Image.
2. Save as .gbr: Choose File -> Save as... (from the menu on the active image) and click 'Browse for other folders' to find the folder you'll be using for brushes. Now type in a filename for your brush, and when you're prompted a spacing value and a description.
For this brush I put '50' and 'Random#2 by des'.

When my brush is succesfully saved I press the update button on the brush dialog. My random colored brush works like this when tested:
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And here's a screen shot of both my brushes in action:
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That's it. Now enjoy your brushes ;)


/end of gimp brush tutorial/

made by desdemona. email me with any comments or suggestions
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