GIMP, the popular free pixel-based image editor, comes with a few decent brushes, but they are pretty limited if you want to do more than the basics. Fortunately, GIMP makes it very easy to install and use Photoshop brushes in versions 2.4 and later. Just put the brush file in the right folder.
However, for versions of GIMP older than 2.4, you will need to convert Photoshop brushes manually, and a tutorial is probably still available. However, it is best to download the latest version; the program is still free, and updates usually improve stability and capabilities. For example, an important improvement over older versions is the ability to organize and tag brushes so that they are easier to use and find. Installing a Photoshop brush is quick and effortless, and if you know how to do it, the practice could be addictive.
What are Photoshop Brushes?
In its simplest form, the Photoshop Brush tool is used to draw lines and shapes of any color on a layer in your document using strokes. Once you’ve selected a brush, you can simply click the left mouse button once or hold and drag the cursor across the page to create multiple markers at once.
Why are Photoshop Brushes Useful?
Despite the term “brushes”, you can use brushes for much more than just reproducing physical media such as paint. In fact, brushes can be used for everything from textures and patterns to lighting. The ease of use and versatility of this tool makes it a handy resource for both the novice and experienced designer to add depth to your projects.
How to Install and Use Photoshop Brushes in GIMP on Windows 10
Download Photoshop Brushes
Look for a brush to download. The only thing you need to know is that the brush file itself has the extension ABR. It may come in a zipped file, in which case you have to unzip it first, but that’s all you have to do.
How to use Photoshop brushes in GIMP
The trick to using a Photoshop brush in GIMP is to move it to the brush directory/folder that GIMP has. This is a simple action for copying files, and the only trick is to know which directory to copy the file to.
Open the File Explorer and navigate to the following location Replace “Your Username” with your current username in the folder path.
It’s a good idea to create a new folder for the brush and give the folder the same name as the brush itself, or a name that tells you what type of brush it is. For example, if you have multiple sets of brushes for leaves, you can create a single folder called “Leaves” and put them all in it. Folders act as tags and make it easier to open/select a brush in GIMP.
After inserting the ABR file in the above location, open GIMP. Select the Brush tool, and you will see the default brushes displayed in the Brush Selector tool. The new brushes should also appear here, but if they do not, right-click in the tool and select Update Brushes from the context menu.
You can use the search bar in the Brush Selector tool to search for your brush. For example, type “sheets” to search for brushes in the Sheets folder.
This works for almost all Photoshop brushes. It’s rare for you to have a compatibility issue with a brush unless it’s more than ten years old. However, it is best to use the latest version of GIMP, because older versions may not work with all Photoshop brushes.
CCNA, Web Developer, PC Troubleshooter
I am a computer enthusiast and a practicing IT Professional. I have years of experience behind me in computer programming, hardware troubleshooting and repair. I specialise in Web Development and Database Design. I also have a CCNA certification for Network Design and Troubleshooting.