Organizing PS Brushes

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Organizing PS Brushes

Forgive me if this has been discussed, but I didn't find the topic in my search. I have tons and tons of brushes, what are you suggestions for organizing them?!? I find it hard to find brushes when I'm trying to use them.

Can't wait to hear some suggestions.

Thanks for asking. Brushes as well as other assets are important to keep organized.
You can create folders such as: trees, flowers, hearts, grundge, etc. This way you can find that item easier.
You can also get a program that will organize everything for you as well as view the brushes.

This is a good question. Do you use just a regular image viewer to view brushes, or are there special programs? I hadn't considered just viewing them in something like Picassa. I suppose a lot of brushes come with images so you can see what's in the brush file...

right now most of mine are either in a "brush" folder (I try to keep the sample images with the file so they are viewable in Bridge or Picasa) but some of them don't come with the sample images so some of them are installed and are just willy nilly in my brush palette in PS. It's a mess smiley

I don't use a lot of my brushes because it's just hard to know what you have. Maybe I'll put this on my to do for the new year. Does anyone have any tips?

I use a template from Digital Scrapper. You can then 'stamp' the image on a folder and have a detailed record of your brushes. I have so many brushes, that would otherwise get lost.

Lynda: The photo she has at the link you shared looks like a very interesting option, but it also looks like we would have to pay $8.99/month just to see the template and tutorial. smiley

I'm not a member of DigitalScrapper, so I can't see it, either.

Seems like the idea is just to create a new file, stamp each of the brushes on it, then save as a jpeg preview for the brush's folder, is that it? I try to do that now. Well, when I stop to think about it. Right now, my brushes are at least sorted into folders of broad categories, and that's as much as I've got. Like Marisa, a little "to do" organization for the new year.

Sounds like most have the same problem as I do smiley. I've started doing the "sample" of each image of the brushes to see if that will help. I have so many that it's so hard to keep them all organized but I think once I get all the "samples" done it'll be easier to see what I have. I tend to collect items and don't organize them until they are a mess. I need to clean as I go. Maybe that will be my New Years Resolution.

That folder template is cute, but I guess not necessary and maybe distracting? It does seem like a good idea to "stamp" them on a blank canvas and then store it somewhere. This is going on my January to do. I'll make a little post about it then and we can all share our experience!

Checking a preview image is a great idea - somehow, that had never occurred to me, lol!

I did go through about a year ago, and re-name all of my brushes, so I could see at a glance in Photoshop whether it was commercial or personal use (with a "c", etc, in front of name)...but that's about as organized as I've gotten. I really should do things like keep brushes and fonts in folders, and then load only the ones I'm looking for into Photoshop as-needed...but I so often find myself going in totally different directions than I'd planned, that I feel like it's almost worth the extra boot-up time to have EVERYTHING right at hand. (At least, this is what I tell myself.) But having a preview list would be awfully helpful for knowing which lace brushes are in which lace brush sets!!

I've seen a tutorial somewhere (that I can't find again, sorry) that explained how to make a brush with the name of the brushset in it. It is quite easy, if you know how to make and load brushes (links to Marisa's tutorials on how-to's). If you've figured out how to make a brush, you can make one that has the title of your brush-set in an easy to read font, like Times or Arial. That way, you can load the brush with the title and put it in front of your row(s) of brushes in Photoshop. Hope I'm making sense here...

This doesn't tackle the lousy preview of the brushes, but at least you will be able to find the brushes inside your menu by name/title. I wish Photoshop would come up with some way to keep them in folders though, that would make life a lot easier...

Thanks Shannon, I've got some reading to do, those links seem to have some great info on them.

Want to check out all those links! Thanks for sharing!

Several years ago I bought this program called Preset Viewer from TumaSoft. It's $25 (now) but I had a discount code from somewhere. I flinched at the price, but I use it all the time and it has been worth the saved time/frustration in looking for a brush or pattern. It reads my hard drive and shows all my brushes but also my patterns, shapes, gradients, etc. in various views (thumbnail, full, filmstrip).

The other thing I do is rename brushes, adding something on the front end to group, ie, Christmas, and then create preset libraries. I wish I had learned to do that when I first started learning Photoshop because after you collect a bunch of brushes, which you tend to do early on, it is a huge job to go back and organize.

I organize my brushes in a low-tech clunky way, which means I often delay in adding new brushes to the organization system, but it's beter than nothing so far. I'll be interested to read these other resources you've all shared and check out the programs available for previewing brushes.

I have 12x12 jpegs that I add to with each brush as I get it, and label each collection of stamps with the brush name. I also make new brushes that are collections that make sense to me, like I have one called "All_arrows" and one called "All_dates" - I make those by loading all my arrow brushes at once (and making sure no other brushes are loaded) and doing "Save brushes" and making a new brush. I know I could be using preset libraries, like Tina mentioned, but I don't know how yet, so this is the quickest way for me to actually get it done. I find I use my own brush "collections" way more often than the originals - it's just important that I've already made the jpeg with the original stamps and brush name so I can properly credit the brush if I use it on a layout I share online.

I've done the same thing with styles - I have "All_shadows.asl" and "All_glitters.asl"

Thanks Tina for the link. The TumaSoft viewer Breeze allows the end user to view more than just brushes. If you have patterns, shapes, styles, plus. The viewer will show you them.

I use ACDsee -
The program came with my scanner or camera and I am perfectly happy with it. All I have to do is click on the item and it will open it in ACDsee. There is also a part that will allow for quick edits.

What is also nice is that you can view PSP tubes here also and save them as png, jpg, etc.
You can also save the brush image as a png, jpg, etc.

A nice feature if you do not have Photoshop and you like the brush.

As to storing and organizing brushes as well as other resources I maintain a good file system.

For brushes I rename them and put a grouping name at the beginning such as trees, flowers, borders. This way they will all be organized together. When I want to use a particular type of brush it is easier to find. I view them in ACDsee viewer to make sure it is the brush file I want. With CS6 you do not have to keep your brushes in the Adobe Photoshop folder. You can load the brush from anywhere on your computer. Nice, this way you can also create folder for each different type within a brush folder and you don't have to rename the brushes. You can also keep an image of the brush for easy viewing.

Some points to consider about brushes. You may not want to keep all of your brushes in the Adobe folder. Many new computers are now coming with 6 or more gigs of memory, but most of use are still limited to 4 gigs of memory.

When Photoshop opens it does open all of your brushes that you have in the brush folder of Photoshop. If there are a lot of brushes you are already starting Photoshop with less memory to work with. Photoshop is know to be a memory hungry program. It does allow you to work with huge files and when you start creating a layout it may grow 2, 4, or even more in file size while working. This is not the final saved file size.

So I have always found it best to only load what I want to work with.

I use Photoshop Elements and am quickly getting more brushes than I can manage. I looked at the suggestions and am considering trying to load them as I use them. I did group them into categories already. I appreciate all of the suggestions. I've looked at some of the links too. Thanks everyone!

Lou Anne I'm kind of like you - I'm getting a huge collection (I use Elements too). I have to clean up my files soon or I'm not going to be able to find anything.


I use ACDsee... What is also nice is that you can view PSP tubes here also and save them as png, jpg, etc.
You can also save the brush image as a png, jpg, etc.

Thanks for this awesome tip! I had no idea you could edit a PSP tube and save it as a jpg, png, etc. I see tubes I really like sometimes but didn't want to deal with the hassle of another program, ...but since I already own ACDSee... LoL

Would you mind sharing a mini step by step tutorial with us? smiley {pretty please} smiley
You always amaze me at the knowledge you have stored up about all of this! Thanks for always being so quick to share it with us.


...It does seem like a good idea to "stamp" them on a blank canvas and then store it somewhere. This is going on my January to do. I'll make a little post about it then and we can all share our experience!

Have you done this yet? I can't seem to find it but didn't want to miss it if you had... I still haven't decided how to handle the organizing/maintaining of all of mine either. smiley

Not to throw water on your project. If you have a lot of resources, you may want to consider a brush viewer to view all of your brushes. It will allow you to view all of your resources and see how they would look on paper. There are also combination viewers/organizer.

@Shawna: I'm still thinking about how to organize. I'm looking into a viewer. Tina posted here about a sale going on, so I'm considering that...

Brushes can be an addiction. It is hard to keep them organized and to know what all I have. I'm looking forward to seeing a tut on how to improve my non-system.

Shawna: and everyone a nice free way to organize. I was going through the folder of software and found that the abrViewer I used to use was never reinstalled on my new laptop. This is free. You can view each brush within a set and it will even with just a click save jpgs of each design within the set. Saves you from having to load a brush set and create a contact sheet for that set.