Turning Stamps Into Brushes

I’ll be doing this in Photoshop 7.0, but the procedure should hold for earlier versions of Photoshop as well as for non-compatible programs like Paint Shop Pro. When I say something like “open files in Photoshop”, I mean to perform the action in whichever program you have. The exact commands I use will refer to Photoshop 7.0. It is up to you to find the equivalent in your program. Keep in mind, though, that most programs are built in a user-friendly, sensible fashion. If you’re having trouble finding the command, check the Help Contents.

Begin by downloading and unzipping the file of stamps using a program like WinZip. Open all the extracted pictures in Photoshop. Check your brush menu to see what set of brushes is currently open. I keep a special file of brushes available just for the definition of new brushes.

Finding the brush menu

Which folder's open?

Click the little sideways arrow in the upper left corner for the larger menu of brush files to appear.

When in doubt, just pick one of the files of default brushes and note which one it is. Then return to the first picture. I’ll be using stamps of my starburst brushes for this tutorial. Select Edit –> Define Brush. Pick a name (or don’t, it doesn’t matter) for the brush. Repeat this for the other pictures.

Once you’ve done that for all of the brushes, you just need to define those brushes as a set. Go back to the brush menu via that little arrow again. This time, select Preset Manager. Do not under any circumstances, select a brush file. If you do, the brushes you defined will be lost and you’ll have to start over. That may not be horribly bad for someone working with stamps, but if you’ve just defined an original brush and you lose it that way, you will be extraordinarily aggravated. Trust me.

Preset Manager

This is what the Preset Manager looks like in Photoshop 7.0. You’ll see tiny pictures of all the brushes in that file, including the ones you just defined. Select the ones that you just defined by holding down the Shift key and clicking each one. When they’re all selected, hit the Save Set button and give the new brush file a name. It’s usually helpful to include the original brush artist’s name in the file, so that you know in the future who to credit. For example, the brushes that I’ve made all start with “gnome_”.

That’s it! Now the new brush file will show up in your brush menu after you restart the program. There’s not much to it. 🙂

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