Chapter 1 | Introduction 1 Videos (2:19m)
  • 01 - What are Custom Brushes?
    Custom brushes can be used to create beautiful visual effects and even make difficult tasks, like cutting out subjects, easier than ever.
Chapter 2 | Tools & Techniques 7 Videos (2:19h)
  • 01 - Using a Pressure Sensitive Tablet
    A computer mouse can be a great tool, but a pressure-sensitive tablet can take your Photoshop skills to the next level. See how Aaron uses his to get the most out of the Brush Tool.
  • 02 - Helpful Keyboard Shortcuts
    From selecting the Brush Tool to quickly changing the size and hardness of a brush, we'll show you all of the keyboard shortcuts that will help you work faster.
  • 03 - Brush Tool Settings
    Learn how to change Brush Settings to create a brush perfect for any situation.
  • 04 - The Brush Settings Menu
    We take you through every option in the Brush Settings Panel. Learn about spacing, shape dynamics, jitter, and more!
  • 05 - Save & Load Custom Brushes
    Learn how to load custom brushes into Photoshop as well as how to create and save out your own to use later. Follow along as Aaron breaks down the process while he makes a custom dodge & burn brush.
  • 06 - Creating a Custom Brush Shape
    Create your own custom brushes from any shape using these methods.
  • 07 - Getting More Brushes
    Aaron covers some great resources to discover new custom brushes that you can use on your photos.
Chapter 3 | Custom Brush Examples 8 Videos (3:48h)
  • 01 - Rain
    Learn how to create your own custom brush (or use ours!) to paint rain into any image.
  • 02 - Snow
    Paint realistic snow using a custom brush made up of random shapes that mimic the natural shapes of snow.
  • 03 - Dust & Atmosphere
    Dust and atmosphere can shift the mood of an image while allowing you to play with how light enters the scene.
  • 04 - Short Hair
    Get the perfect cutout by painting in realistic hair and details using custom brushes in Photoshop.
  • 05 - Long Hair
    Watch as Aaron creates an advanced custom brush that can be used to recreate long hair.
  • 06 - Smoke
    Create a dynamic smoke brush that will allow you to add stunning visual interest to an image.
  • 07 - Stars
    Learn how to create a custom brush that will help you add stars to any night sky.
  • 08 - Grunge & Vintage Textures
    Whether you want to create a gritty album cover or a vintage photography, learn to use these custom brushes to add realistic textures a photo.
Catalog  >  PRO Tutorials  >  Photoshop Tutorials  >  The Amazing Power of the Brush Tool in Photoshop

The Amazing Power of the Brush Tool in Photoshop

From painting beautiful visual effects to making perfect cutouts of a subject, the Brush Tool can do it all. Learn how to create and load custom Photoshop brushes to add realistic rain, snow, and smoke effects to any photo.

You’ll even learn how to paint in natural hair detail when placing a subject into a new background. Best of all, our entire library of over 35 Photoshop brushes is included in this tutorial!

16 Video Tutorials | 25 Sample Images | 37 Photoshop Brushes

Starting at $8.25/month – Unlimited Streaming
$49.99/once – Instant Download



Vintage & Grunge

Give any photo a vintage or grunge look with our custom brushes in Photoshop. (Ripped blue jeans not included.)

Find the Perfect Brush for You



The Magic of Photoshop Brushes

The Brush Tool might be the most flexible tool in Photoshop. Learn how to create and use custom brushes to paint stunning effects into any image or perform difficult tasks like cutting someone out of their background.

Create a Brush for Anything

Even though we include over 35 custom brushes free with this tutorial, you will also learn how to create your own using any shape or image. Whether you need to create a brush to match the hair of a particular person or you want to make your own unique effects, we show you everything you need to know.

The Brush Settings Panel

We take you through every checkbox, drop-down, and menu, so you can get the absolute most out of any brush. Add randomness and optimize settings, whether you’re using a pressure-sensitive tablet or a mouse.



Amazing Effects

Turn a light rain into a downpour. Transform a night sky into a star-filled landscape. Most tools in Photoshop only let you change parts of a photo that are already there. We show you how to make realistic elements from scratch and literally paint them into any image.

Star Brush

We all don’t have the gear for great astrophotography–but anyone can make beautiful, bright night sky with Photoshop! Our custom star brush will give you the power to paint with stars and fill up any dark sky.

Cloud Brush

Clear skies can be great for your tan, but maybe not so much for your photos. Learn how to create natural looking clouds using a custom brush made from a picture of a real cloud. Quickly add visual interest to any sky or landscape image.



Smoke Brush

Paint in realistic smoke with unbelievable texture and definition with custom brushes in Photoshop. Whether you’re turning a photo into a dynamic action scene or you just need to add a little mood to a room, our smoke brush will make it possible.

Grunge Brushes

Sometimes all an image needs is a little bit of texture. If you’re going for a gritty, grunge look or a washed out vintage style, we have brushes that will make it easier than ever.

Create Mood & Atmosphere

Rain. Snow. Smoke. Fog. Enhance any environment, add visual interest, and turn an ordinary photo into an extraordinary one by adding photo-realistic effects with the Brush Tool.


Download Over 35 Custom
Photoshop Brushes

Our exclusive Photoshop brushes are your key to advanced effects like rain, snow, smoke, and clouds. Plus, for the first time ever, learn how to recreate hair, helping you to create flawless cut-outs of your subjects – no matter the background.

Realistic Hair from Scratch



Recreate Hair. Any Length, Shape, or Color.

Cutting subjects out from their background has never been easier. Learn to make rough selections and recreate realistic hair for amazing detail.



Lighting Effects

Add light rays and improve exposure by brightening areas of a photo using environmental textures. Add a morning mist to a sunrise photo while bringing back some of the detail lost in the shadows of a photo.

Brushes for Hair

Whether your subject has short curly hair, long flowing locks, or just some stubble on their chin, we walk you through the process of creating custom brushes unique to their hair texture and style.

Cut-Out Subjects

Replacing backgrounds is one of the most common uses of Photoshop. But what do you do when your subject has long flowing hair in front of a complicated environment? Learn how to cut-out a subject using the Pen Tool and paint in new hair using custom brushes in Photoshop.



Get Creative!

Sometimes a good brush can help you work outside of the box. Try our custom watercolor brush to give your images a hand painted look or come up with a brush idea that’s all your own! There’s no limit to how you can use brushes for drawing, painting, or just simply adding realistic effects to your photos.

Import & Install Brushes

We include 37 exclusive brushes for you to download and use forever! Learn how to import, install, and start using brushes you’ve downloaded. We even show you some great sources to find new brushes for a wide variety of applications.

Everything About the Brush Tool

Learn how to get the most out of using a pressure sensitive tablet or a mouse, see how to combine the power of the Pen Tool and the Brush Tool, and master all of the most useful keyboard shortcuts that will have you working faster and more efficiently in Photoshop.

Class Instructor

Aaron Nace

PHLEARN Founder – Class Instructor

Aaron Nace is a photographer, Photoshop artist and founder of PHLEARN. He is the #1 Photoshop instructor in the world with millions of YouTube subscribers.


  1. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another great tutorial Aaron. Learnt a great deal more about the brush tool & the use of the brush settings. You made the tutorial easy and fun to follow. Hoping there are many more tutorials like this.

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great tutorial Aaron. What I love about your tutorials in general and this one specifically is that no matter how well you think you know a tool there is always something new to learn. This time around I think the section on creating hair when extracting a subject is incredibly useful. Top work as always (Y)

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    I love love loved it! Aaron is an amazing teacher who explains everything so clearly and to the point with his typical sence of humour. Learned so much today watching the entire 6,25 hours in one sitting.

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    Thanks for this great tutorial. It expends my knowledge about the endless possibilities and realy amazing power of the brush tool and I am going to use my Wacom tablet more in the future.

  5. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another great tutorial. Thanks

  6. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great to learn the subtleties of this essential and versatile tool. Another amazing tutorial .. thanks. Minor note – while creating the second Texture brush, the Levels check layer was left on.

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Very enjoyed!

  8. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great, very very helpful

  9. Rated 5 out of 5

    Thank-you so very much for putting this class together sure has answer several of my question of creating a custom brush

  10. Rated 5 out of 5

    Great tutorial. I binged watched it all the way through. I now have a much better understanding of the brush tool, which has given me a lot more confidence. Plus I am going to take the Wacom intuos tablet out of its box and start using it.

  11. Rated 5 out of 5

    I have been following PHlearn for a while now and my pictures went from snapshots to Award winning photos Thank you

  12. Rated 5 out of 5

    What a great tutorial! I knew some of the material because I’m a PHLEARN junkie, but the previous lessons were reinforced by seeing them again in a different setting. I also picked up new tricks which will make my composites much better. Thanks, Aaron, for another terrific learning experience.

  13. Rated 5 out of 5

    I have been following Aaron for some time now and have just upgraded to the annual membership. I did this because the help and quality of the tutorials have been of great benefit to me and my photography post processing has improved accordingly.

  14. Rated 5 out of 5

    Just a perfect tutorial, thank you!

  15. Rated 5 out of 5

    Thank you so much this helped me out alot I like working with brushes and I am new to all of this but you have made it so much easy to learn thank you again for all of your classes

  16. Rated 4 out of 5

    Overall the tutorial was quite helpful. It was well worth the time spentOne some sections he seemed to be doing a lot of trial and error and discarding most of the work. That is only useful if he explains why he discards the work. A couple of sentences to clarify “I don’t like that” would help the viewer who lacks experience learn. The stars section I found problematic, probably because I do astrophotography and “making” a sky offends me. However, if you are going to do it you should at least understand the basics. 1. Star trails would never be centered on the horizon. They (in the northern hemisphere) will be centered at Polaris. Anyone who sees a star trail centered on the horizon will know immediately it was generated. 2. The ringing of stars (which was done by an outer glow) is usually an artifact of stacking multiple images taken with color filters and is not something that you would introduce in an image if you wanted it to look realistic.

  17. Rated 5 out of 5

    Hi Aaron and the entire PHLEARN Team Best wishes for a wonderful and a happy, healthy 2019! What you’ve provided with the “amazing brush tools” tutorial is outstanding. It inspired my imagination when I was watching to it. It literally unleashed inspiration and creativity to use the brush tools to get to the next level. You did a great job, well done and thank you very much for sharing it. Andreas, Berlin – Germany

  18. Rated 5 out of 5

    Very interesting tutorial that I’m gonna use often, I have Wacom tablet so now I gonna play around with brushes. Micke from Stockholm

  19. Rated 5 out of 5

    So many amazing techniques and so clearly explained. Thank you so much, you are changing my Photoshop world.

  20. Rated 5 out of 5

    Another fantastic tutorial …. never knew the brush tool could be so versatile! Brilliant.


This tutorial includes 25 sample images, 16 video tutorials, and 37 custom Photoshop brushes. Download the sample images and assets at the top of the page.

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