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Learn Photography

Photoshop Elements >

Brushes > Anything-you-want Brush

A related tutorial is Masking a Layer.

You can create a brush that does anything you want it to do.

Be sure to check off as you go along.

Do the following.

1) Open a photograph and create a Background copy layer.

Background copy


2) Rename the Background copy layer as Effect.



3) Click the Effect layer to make it active (highlighted).

4) Change the Effect layer in some way, such as:

• Press Ctrl + L for Levels

• Press Ctrl + u for Hue/Saturation

• Go to Enhance > Convert to B&W

• Go to Filters > Blur > Gaussian Blur, at the top of your screen.

• Or ?

5) Make sure the Effect layer is active (highlighted).

6) Create a layer mask.

7) Click the white mask in the Effect layer if it's not selected (blue border).

8) Press Ctrl + i.

The mask is filled with black.

All of the pixels in the Effect layer are hidden.

The effect you created on the Effect layer has disappeared.

You can now brush the effect on your photograph.

9) Select the Brush tool.

10) Make sure it's feathered.

If you haven't already done so, go to Feathered Brush.

11) Make sure the foreground color is white.

If you haven't already, go to Foreground & Background Colors.

12) Make sure the mask is selected in the Effect layer (mask has white or blue border).

13) Brush the areas on the photograph (not the mask) where you want the smooth skin effect.

Look at the mask.

Where you brushed with white is visible on the mask.

Finer Control

Shades of Gray

White reveals the entire Effect layer.

Black blocks the entire Effect layer.

You can brush with shades of gray.

Lighter shades of gray reveal most of the Effect layer.

Darker shades of gray block more of the Effect layer.

Brush Opacity

Instead of changing to different shades of gray, you can change the opacity of the Brush tool in options bar/Tool Options.

Make sure you:

• Have black (mask is white) or white (mask is black) on the Brush tool.

• Are changing the opacity in options bar/Tool Options, not at the top of the layers stack.





Be sure to change the opacity of the Brush tool, in options bar/Tool Options, back to 100% when finished.


Go to Clipping Masks.