Today we will be looking at free brushes for Photoshop and Krita. I have a great list of essential brush sets and bundles here, which won’t cost you a penny to download. We will then take a look at how to install our new brushes and switch sets. So without further delay, let’s start today’s lesson.
There are nowhere near as many brushes currently for Krita as there are for Photoshop. However, those that I have found have been of high quality and are easily adjusted. Krita uses brush sets and bundles for installation of brushes. The best place to start downloading is the resources page over on Krita’s site. I’ve probably downloaded most, if not all of the resources on this page and can attest to the high quality of these add-ons. Ignore the Cazu brush set on the resources page, as this link does not work. I have found an alternative working link for you below. Choose a few brushes here that sound interesting to you and download them. Don’t unzip any downloads just yet. Make yourself a folder on your desktop for now, and place those newly downloaded files in there.
A few more brush sets that you might find useful are…
RZV Bundle (V0.04). A wonderful all-round set of brushes which I find myself dipping into frequently.
GD Quest (Lite/Free Version). Scroll down the page to find the free version of this set. The free version is so good, you have to wonder what the paid version is like.
Comics & Cartooning Bundle. So many inking tools here. Perfect for nailing that line art.
Modular Brush Set (V.5.0). Another fabulous set of brushes, which is diverse and very useful.
Kami Hair & Smudge Brushes. Want hair? Download this brush set. Fantastically simple yet very effective.
Krita Mix Brushes Bundle. A great set by Deevad here, the master of all things Krita. This goes perfectly with your pre-installed brushes. Natural brush strokes are what this bundle is all about.
Pastel Crayon Brushes. Guess what this set does? Yup, a lovely pastel crayon textured brush set. Not much more needs to be said about this really.
Hushcoil Bundles. This is a pay what you can set. You have to give an email address to download these, but it really is worth it. A huge selection of brushes split up into easy to understand bundles.
Cazu Brush Set (V3). This is a Github download, so things are a little different here. In the same folder where you have been saving your brushes, make yourself a separate folder called “Cazu”. In there put three subfolders; “brushes”, “paintoppresets” and “patterns”. On Github, you will see correspondingly named folders. Choose one, click to open a new page and start downloading. This is going to take a while and you need to assure that you are placing these downloads in the correct folders. So only brushes in the brush folder. This will avoid headaches when it comes to installing later. I promise you, this is worth the hassle. This is one of my most frequently used brush sets in Krita and there’s a stunning variety of brushes on offer here.
Installing Bundles & Brushes
I am going to teach you how to manually install your assets. We will be using the same roaming folder that we used in your last lesson.
On Windows 10, you need to navigate to C:\Users\USERNAME_HERE\AppData\Roaming\krita. Remember to replace “ USERNAME_HERE” in the address with your own login name. Krita works with bundles, brushes, paint top presets and textures to create brush sets. Most, if not all of your new downloads will be in a zipped format. Making sure you have Krita closed, navigate back to the temporary brush folder that you made earlier. Inside there, make another folder. This is where we will individually place our files before unzipping them. Go ahead and choose a file and unzip in that new folder.
Krita makers are nice and will place their assets in clearly marked folders, such as this modular brush set. You can see everything in this zip file is a bundle, so straight away we know which folder to place these files in. This applies to brush, paint top settings and to all other add-ons. Simply check the name of your folder upon unzipping. To install, just drag over your unpacked files to the correct corresponding locations.
Bundle files are also formatted as .bundle, which is handy for identification purposes. Brush formats are a bit more tricky. Krita uses .png, .gbr and .gih format for brushes. Textures will be formatted as .pat, .png or .jpg. It is important to install all of the files given in an individual download in order for a brush set to work properly. Pay attention to how those folders are marked and you can’t go wrong.
Switching Between Brush Sets
Krita deals with brush sets in a completely different way to Photoshop. In essence, it loads all of your brushes at the same time. This can be a little overwhelming at first, but there are ways to tame a large brush collection using tags. We will look into creating our own tags in a later lesson.
For now, open up Krita and make a blank canvas. Any size will do. If you have installed the workspace I gave you last time your screen should look exactly like mine. Your toolbox is docked on the top left of your screen and the brush tool is the first icon on the second row. Select this tool to paint on the canvas. Krita can show brush sets by tag or bundle, which helps to narrow things down. To have a look at one of your newly installed brush packs, navigate down to the Brush Presets panel (bottom left of your screen). You will see from the above screenshot, that I currently loaded “All” brushes. If I wanted to change this to a certain brush set, I would click the little arrow next to the word “All”.
From my next screenshot, you will see, this brings up a menu which contains names of brush sets. This menu reads tags on brushes and allows you to narrow down the brushes on the screen to those you need. Try clicking on one of the tags you now see loaded in this menu and look through the brush set.
Searching For Brushes
As a note, most brush sets come with tags attached, but not all. If you can’t find a newly installed brush set by tag, it does not mean that it’s not working. Go back to “All” brushes and carefully scroll through all the brushes. The list is long, but they will probably be there.
There is a very handy search field at the bottom of your brush dock. If you start typing in here, you will notice that it automatically starts to filter your brushes. This is another great way to find a brush set without tags, as the search looks through brush names too. First, click “All” in your brush presets. Now try typing in “eraser” for example, to find each and every lovely eraser you have installed. Hitting enter clears the search field.
If you can think of a brush that you could need for Photoshop, it’s probably already been made. There are lots of sets out there to download and many of them are free. I’ve collected a few of the best here to get you started. Make a temporary folder on your desktop for now, and place your newly downloaded brush sets in there. We will go into installation in a moment.
Kadrirovanie Set. Ignore the fact this is labelled as a Krita brush set. This is saved in .abr format, which is a Photoshop brush set. This is a HUGE brush pack filled with everything from textures to tree stamps.
Aaron Griffin Art Brushes. I still can’t believe this brush set is free. A stunning collection of brushes for painting almost anything. Incredible quality here.
Egg9700 Photoshop Brushes 7.02. Another high quality, multi-purpose brush set from the folk at Deviantart. This set, Aaron Griffin’s and the next, are the three most used brush sets for me.
Fox Orian Illustration Brushes V3. This set is not only stunning but also thoughtfully laid out and beautifully created. Do not miss this.
Light Ray Brushes. A very specific set of brushes for created rays of natural looking light.
Watercolour Photoshop Brushes Set II. Delicious splotches in the style of watercolour painting. Great for achieving a hand textured look.
Finger Paints Brush Set. I’ve used this brush set in a few of my works. After all, what can look more handcrafted than finger painting? Wonderful textures here.
Installing Photoshop Brushes
There are a few places that you can place your newly downloaded Photoshop brushes and they will work. We will be using the same roaming folder location that we used last time for installation. The location of your Adobe roaming folder on Windows 10 is C:\Users\USERNAME_HERE\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\Adobe Photoshop CS6\Presets.
Copy and paste this location (remembering to replace “USERNAME_HERE” with your login name) into your Windows Explorer Address bar. Here you will find a list of folders where you can place various downloadable add-ons. As before, if you have Photoshop running, please close the program first. Double click on brushes (third folder down) and go back to your temporary folder where you’ve downloaded your brushes to. Anything that is zipped or compressed, unpack then drag over to your roaming folder. Taaadaaaa! You have just installed new Photoshop brushes. No really, it’s as easy as that.
When you boot up the program again you will now be able to switch brush sets. On the left-hand side of the screen, you will find your main toolbar. The 8th icon down is where your brush tool lies. If you have a tiny pencil icon there instead, don’t panic. Right-click this icon and then from the pop-up menu, select the brush tool. Now you have brush enabled, you can switch between brush sets. On the top bar, you will see a brush icon. Next to that, a brush preview with a number. Clicking the arrow next to the number will bring up a pop-up menu. This menu shows all the current brushes you can switch easily between. All the brushes in a particular set.
Switching Between Brush Sets
When we need to change our brush set, we do so by clicking the tiny cog icon on the top right of this brush set preview window. This brings up another window, which shows all the brush sets Photoshop can load. If you placed your files in the roaming folder as instructed, you will see wee divider lines in between blocks of brushes. The first block of brushes are the standard ones that come with Photoshop. Those after the divider line, are the ones you have just installed. This makes everything clear and easy to find. If you should want to use the standard sets, you can see quickly where they are without having to memorise what they are called.
To use another brush set, simply click the name of your desired set and a pop-up window will appear. To completely switch to another set just click “OK”. If you want to add this set to one that you are using, choose the “Append” option. So, since I often use a few brush sets together, I would choose the append option, thusly loading two or more brush sets at the same time.
We have unfortunately run out of time for today. I wanted to cover more set up in this lesson, but whew, we got through a lot anyway. Needless to say, we will be continuing with set up next time. I promise this wasn’t a cunning ruse to get you to come back again soon…or was it?
Your final instruction for today is play. Explore your newly downloaded brushes and have fun. Perhaps even tell us about your favourite, free brush sets in the comments below. Let’s get a list going!