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Video Tutorial: Learn How to Create Your Own Set of Splatter Brushes for Photoshop

by Grant Friedman

on November 12, 2009

in Tutorials

Last summer I spoke at the Front-End Design Conference. During my presentation I demonstrated how to create a set of splatter brushes for Photoshop. Not too long after posting the video from the conference on this website I started receiving requests for additional instructions on how I create my sets. This tutorial is a detailed explanation of how to create splatter brushes in Photoshop.

Before we begin, I think it’s important to note that there are several methods that you can use to create splatter brushes. In my opinion however, the best way to produce these types of brushes is by using a combination of natural media and digital retouching. That means that in order to create your set of brushes that you will need several items.

Supplies

  • A can of flat black acrylic latex paint. You can purchase this at any hardware store.
  • A box of glossy photo paper.
  • A straw.
  • A scanner.
  • Photoshop.

Step 1: Creating the Splatter

The first step in creating a set of splatter brushes is to create the splat. To make things simpler, I created a short video demonstrating my process. Remember, don’t drink the paint!

Step 2: Scan the Image

After you have created your splatter, give it a good 24 hours to dry. This is really important because this kind of paint is not easy to remove and you wouldn’t want to damage your scanner. Make sure that you scan your image in at least 300 dpi.

Step 3: Image Adjustments

Once you have scanned your image and imported it into Photoshop, now you will want to make some adjustments. Each of you will likely experience different results but here are the basics.

  1. Desaturate your image. Go to Image > Adjustments > Desaturate.
  2. Adjust Levels to make the white areas whiter and the black areas blacker. Go to Image > Adjustments > Levels

splatter-5

Step 4: Retouching

This is the most tedious part of the process. Because scans aren’t always perfect you will have to select a brush and clean up undesirable areas. Use a black brush to clean up any reflections, artifacts, or imperfections within the splatter. Use a white brush to clean up the edges of the paper and to remove any specks that you don’t want included.

splatter-1

splatter-3

splatter-2

Step 5: Resize and Create

The biggest size brush that Photoshop will allow you to make is 2500 pixels wide or tall. This means that in most situations that you will have to re-size your image down to 2500 pixels. Once you do that, select the entire canvas > go to edit> and select Define Brush Preset. There is no need to make individual selections here. Photoshop will detect all the black areas automatically and create the brush on its own.

Final Image

Your final image should look something like this.

splatter-4

Conclusion

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial demonstrating how to create a Splatter Brush in Photoshop. This technique works really well and can even be used to create other types of brushes as well. Try experimenting with other types of paints, inks, and brushes to create your own unique set of brushes.

About Grant Friedman

Grant Friedman is a graphic design, blogger, and author. In addition to being the founder of this website, Grant is also the editor of Psdtuts, one of the world's most popular tutorial websites.