Photoshop offers plenty of brushes by default, but most of them are roughly round in shape. What if you need a square brush, for example for pixel art? In this short tutorial, I'll show you how to get a square brush in Photoshop and what to use it for!
What You'll Learn in This Square Brush Photoshop Tutorial
- How to get a square brush in Photoshop (the square brushes set)
- How to make a square brush in Photoshop from scratch
- What to use a hard square brush for
- What to use a soft square brush for
1. How to Get a Square Brush in Photoshop CC
In the past, Photoshop used to have a special default brush set filled with square brushes of many sizes—perfect for a pixel artist. But since the CC versions, they have disappeared from the library. The good news is, they're still available—you just have to dig a little!
Take the Brush Tool (B) and open the Brushes panel. Click the icon in the upper right corner.
Close to the bottom, you'll find the Legacy Brushes option. Click it, and then click OK.
Scroll down the list of the brushes until you find the Square Brushes set. That's where you'll find your Photoshop square pixel brushes!
2. How to Make a Square Brush in Photoshop
But what if you need a big square brush, for other purposes than pixel art? Resizing the brushes from the set is not a solution, because at a bigger scale they're not as square as they seem. So let's make our own Photoshop square brush together!
Create a New File. Make it square—3000 pixels wide and high. Choose black for the Background Contents.
Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset. Give it a name.
Now you have a huge square brush! But what would you need such a brush for?
Let's say you have a photo like this, and you want to crop it temporarily. You can use a Layer Mask for this job, then take a big Hard Round brush, and draw over the edge while holding Shift.
Similarly, you can use the Rectangular Marquee Tool (M) and fill it with black.
Both ways work pretty well, but a simple square brush beats them both!
If you take your big square brush, Photoshop will show you its outline. This outline can be used to quickly visualize the cropping just by hovering over the photo.
And the actual cropping is achieved with a single click! This may not seem like much, but when you're working with lots of photos, this really can add up in the long run!
3. How to Create a Soft Square Brush in Photoshop
OK, but what if you want to achieve the same effect, but with soft edges instead? Here's how to do it!
Create a New File the same way as before. Go to Layer > New > Layer From Background. Then press Control-T and resize the layer content to 90%.
Go to Filter > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Adjust the Radius to the level of softness you need.
Go to Edit > Define Brush Preset and give it a name.
Now you can use your square brush the same way as before, but this time you'll get a blurry edge instead!
To make things even faster, you can paint over the area you want to keep (hold the Shift key to keep the edges straight)...
... and then press Control-I to reverse the mask and get a nicely feathered cropping in seconds!
Now you know how to make a square brush in Photoshop and what to use it for!
Other Photoshop Brush Tutorials
If you're interested in Photoshop brushes, you may also enjoy these tutorials:
- How to Make a Heart Brush in PhotoshopMonika Zagrobelna14 Feb 2022
- How to Create a Leaf Brush in PhotoshopAbbey Esparza26 Oct 2020
- How to Create a Bubble Brush in PhotoshopMarko Kožokar02 Feb 2021
- How to Make a Cloud Brush in PhotoshopMonika Zagrobelna08 Dec 2020
- How to Make a Sparkle Brush in PhotoshopMonika Zagrobelna10 May 2021
- How to Make a Brush in Photoshop From an ImageDaisy Ein31 Jan 2021
- How to Make a Chain Brush in PhotoshopMarko Kožokar05 Mar 2022
- How to Make a Bokeh Brush in PhotoshopMarko Kožokar02 Mar 2021