The best free Photoshop resources

Our colleagues at Digital Arts have trawled the web to bring you the best free resources for Adobe Photoshop that every designer should own.

The recession may be nipping at the heels of creative studios, but that doesn’t mean that Photoshop artists should be reining in their ambitions. Armed with a broadband connection and a little know-how, it’s possible to download so much fantastic creative material, brushes, actions, PSD files, textures and plug-ins — for free — that your hard drive will be left gasping for air.

Freebies for Photoshop are experiencing a boom online. From dedicated sites offering quality ready-to-use layered PSD files for design and website creation, to thousands of brushes and actions that can give your work the edge, it’s highly likely that there’s a free version of whatever you’re after online.

We’ve grouped together some of the best examples of free stuff for Photoshop that are currently available: get ready to feel like a kid in a creative candy shop as you start exploring them.

However, take care when feasting on freebies. A quick Google search for free Photoshop brushes, for example, throws up thousands of options. As with all free content, quality varies wildly — both in terms of creative prowess and technical accomplishment.

It may be tempting to download everything, but a little time spent searching on Photoshop-related blogs for community recommendations on the best free content to download will save you from having to wade through the less-than-stellar materials.

You should also pay attention when downloading anything from the web. Some sites lure you in with the promises of ‘free’ content, only to hold the best stuff back as paid-for options.

And always ensure that you have decent anti-virus software in place, so that you’re don’t accidentally invite Internet nasties onto your hard drive. Always check the terms and conditions of your downloads to ensure you’re not breaching any copyright terms.

Free Photoshop textures

Textures breathe life into layered effects and flat scenes — allowing you to add anything from dirt, swirls, mould and metal, to paper and floral textures to your work.

Everything from oil stains to veined marble is available, and to kick off Jasen Robillard has selected 36 cool free textures on Flickr, all with Creative Commons licences — you can view the texture list with links to the high-res images at Abduzeedo, run by Digital Arts contributor Fabio Sasso, tinyurl.com/5kvjan.

If paper, canvas and metal are more your bag, then visit Tutorial 9, tinyurl.com/6ch57d, for 99 fantastic textures, including aged paper, peeling paint, watercolour, diamond plate metal, and wrinkled fabric.

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Beth Whattam

Digital Arts Magazine
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