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Resizing, Saving and Loading Brushes in Illustrator CS and CS2


Resizing Brushes

Because the artwork you create brushes from in Illustrator is vector, you can make the brush larger or smaller and retain the quality. This size might be fine for an accent, but maybe you want to use it to add a border to a page.


To resize brushes do one of these two things:

Double click on the brush in the brushes palette to open the options and change the size. You will be asked if you want to apply the changes to brush strokes already on the image, or leave the strokes. The difference is this: Apply Strokes applies the changes to all strokes using the brush on the image. It also changes the options for the brush so any further strokes you apply will have the new settings. If you choose Leave Strokes, the changes are not applied to any strokes currently on the image, but they are applied to the brush and will be applied to any strokes you add later. Important: You may have to change the spacing as well as the size. Make sure to click the preview box so you can see the effects of the changes on the brush stroke.

Use the Stroke Palette to change the width of the stroke. This method changes only the size of the brush for the currently selected stroke, and doesn't make apply the changes to any future strokes. If the stroke palette isn't open, open it from Window > Stroke.


Saving the brush

Now that the brush has been created it needs to be saved, or it will only be in the document in which it was created. If you don't save that document or use the brush in it, then it is gone forever. Follow these steps to save the brush so you can easily load it and use it in future projects.

Draw any line or shape and use the brush on it. If you forget this step, when you try to load the brush file later it will be empty!

Open the options menu of the brushes palette and choose Select All Unused.

Choose Delete Brush from the palette options menu, or drag the brushes to the trash can at the bottom of the palette. When asked if you are sure you want to delete the selected brushes, say yes.

If there are any brushes left other than the shamrock, it's because they're in use in one of the graphic styles. We will take care of them in a minute.

Do the same for the Symbols, Graphic Styles, and Swatches palettes. Options menu > Select all unused, then delete the selected.

If there were any brushes other than the shamrock left in the brushes palette, go back and follow 1 and 2 now to get rid of them. The reason we do this is to help keep the file size down as well as keep Illustrator from loading duplicate brushes, which takes up memory unnecessarily.

Now you can select everything on the page and delete it. The page will look empty but the brush will be saved.

Go to File > Save As and save your brush. I suggest naming it so you know this is a brush file, but any name will do. You can save it anywhere you like, or you can save it in the Illustrator/presets/brushes folder to have it added to the brush library lists.

Close the file.


Loading brushes in Illustrator CS and CS2

Loading brushes in Illustrator CS is a bit more convenient than in previous versions. In Illustrator CS you can load brush libraries directly from the brush palette options menu. Just open the options menu and choose Open Brush Library and select your brushes from the list. Of course, you can still load them from the windows menu by choosing Window > Brush Libraries and choosing the brush file from the list there.

The last entry in the list is Other Library. Choosing this allows you to browse your hard drives or external or removable drives for brush files to load.

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Main Tutorial Page
Scatter Brush Anatomy 101 for Illustrator CS and CS2
Pattern Brush Anatomy 101 for Illustrator CS and CS2



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