Photoshop brushes, both free and premium, are widely available. You will find you’re often spoiled for choice when it comes to a particular type of brush for Photoshop and rarely will you fail to find what you’re looking for. The same can’t be said for GIMP which isn’t as popular as Adobe’s photo editing app. There just aren’t that many brushes available for it but you can use Photoshop brushes in GIMP so it’s not that big a deal. Here’s how.
Download Photoshop brush
Look for a brush to download. The only thing you need to know is that the brush file itself will have the ABR extension. It may come in a zipped file in which case you will have to extract it first but that’s all you will need to do. For this article, we’re using this falling leaves brush from Brusheezy.
Move brush to GIMP brush directory
The trick to using a Photoshop brush in GIMP is moving it to the brush directory/folder that GIMP has. This is a simple copy file action and the only trick is to know which directory to copy the file to.
Open File Explorer and navigate to the following location. Replace ‘YourUserName’ with your actual user name in the folder path.
It is 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 a few different brush sets for leaves, you can create a single folder called ‘Leaves’ and put them all in there. The folders serve as tags and make it much easier for you to open/select a brush within GIMP.
Once you’ve pasted the ABR file in the above location, open GIMP. Select the brush tool and you will see the default brushes appear in the brush selection tool. The new brushes should appear here as well but if they don’t, right-click inside the tool and select Refresh Brushes from the context menu.
You can use the search bar in the brush selection tool to search for your brush. For example, enter ‘leaves’ to look for the brushes inside the leaves folder.
This will work for almost all Photoshop brushes. It’s rare that you should have a compatibility problem with a brush unless it’s over ten years old. It is however best to use the latest version of GIMP as older versions may not be able to work with all Photoshop brushes.