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Old March 3rd, 2008, 11:19 AM
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Organizing Brushes

This is a rainy afternoon project that might help you manage the many brushes you have downloaded. I left only the original brushes in PSE and install all new brushes to a folder on my desktop called (cleverly) Brushes.

However, I have NO IDEA what any of the brushes look like simply by viewing their names, and browsing through 300+ brushes in PSE was tedious, at best.

I finally developed a system for managing and categorizing brushes that is working well for me. There is a time investment up front, but the payoff when it's done is big time savings! Hope it can help someone else!

1. Download the free ABR viewer from http://www.easyelements.com/abrview.html (Thanks Robert!!). There’s a brief video tutorial on the site the shows you how to use this simple and necessary tool.
2. Once it’s downloaded, open the ABRView brush viewer tool.
3. If your brushes are not stored in Elements, Add Another Directory and navigate to the location of your brushes.
4. Double-click the first brush file. The ABR viewer will create a new folder within the folder that holds the brush you are currently viewing, named “ABR View Images” with a series of .png files, number 000.png – 0xx.png. These are the thumbnails of your brush set. If you click through them, you might find that every other one is a miniature. I usually delete the miniatures. A bonus is that many brush designers include a brush with their credits, so you know where the brush came from. Keep this thumbnail for reference.
5. Now I’m left with a set of unnamed (but numbered) .png files in the ABRView Images folder.
6. Within the ABRView Images folder, create a new folder. (Right-click, new…folder). Name the new folder to match the name of the brush file you just viewed.
7. Drag all of the PNG images into the new folder. Sometimes, you will not be able to drag the last one because the ABR view is still “using” it. No worries. You can get it later.
8. Repeat with each brush, creating a new folder and moving the PNG files as you go. Remember to drag that last thumbnail from the previous brush view into its proper folder, if necessary.
When you are done, you’ll have a folder full of named folders, each with a collection of brush thumbnails.

Now for the USEFUL part (in my humble opinion)

1. Create another folder to categorize your brush files. I named mine AAPreviews so it floats to the top of the alphabetized brushes.

2. Within the AAPreviews folder, I created a series of folders that categorize my brushes, like Flowers, Frames, Grunge, Shapes, etc. Your folders will vary depending on the types of brushes you have downloaded.

3. Return to the ABR View Images folder. Open the first folder in your list and decide to which category or categories it might belong. I might have one brush set that might fit under Grunge, Flowers, and Nature, for example.

4. Right-click on the thumbnails folder and choose COPY.

5. Return to the AAPreviews folder and open the folder for the category of interest. Right-click in that folder and choose PASTE SHORTCUT. Repeat pasting shortcuts into any other category the brush fits.

6. Continue until you have categorized all of your brushes.

The upfront process of sorting, viewing, categorizing, may take several hours depending on how many brushes you have downloaded. However, once the job is done, you can say to yourself “I need a floral brush for this project”. Rather than trying to guess the brush type from its name, go to your AAPreviews folder, open Floral, and browse through the shortcut thumbnails. When you visually spot the brush you need, make note of its name and then load it up in PSE. When you download a new brush, you can easily add it and its preview thumbnails to your collection.

Hope this helps someone organize! I have 313 brushes in my external brush folder (YIKES!!) and spending a few hours organizing them now saves me TONS of times finding what I want!
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Last edited by vawitt; March 3rd, 2008 at 11:37 AM.
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  #2  
Old March 3rd, 2008, 01:27 PM
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Thank you SOOO much for taking the time to write this up for us! I have a brand new MacBook Pro and I'm waiting for FedEx to bring my new CS3 and Lightroom. I'd like to start out with an approach for staying organized instead of letting things get cluttered up and then spending hours getting organized. Your new system will be a big help!
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Old March 3rd, 2008, 03:12 PM
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A brand new, shiny computer. How fun! Have a ball!
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Old March 6th, 2008, 08:44 PM
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Thanks for that abr viewer. I did try to download another one, but it wouldn't work on a mac. I tried this one, and it looks like it will.... at least it downloaded correctly. I had started a thread about organizing brushes.... my brushes are just a MESS!!!!! I have them all showing up and for some reason they duplicated themselves (I of course, couldn't have made THAT happened ) I now have a folder on my desktop where I have stored additional ones. You are right, this is going to be a real rainy day project.... a blizzard project when I couldn't get out for days on end might give me the time necessary to organize my brushes. I sure hope this works!!!!

Janet... a new macbook????? Didn't you just get a new one last year?????

Haven't talked to you in a while...hope all is well!!!!

Thanks vawitt for the info, it is MUCH appreciated!!!! I have printed off this thread!
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Old March 6th, 2008, 08:55 PM
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Hope it helps, Colleen. It write more complexly than it actually is. I think it took me a couple of hours over a couple of days to get all 300+ filed & organized.

Have fun! Shall we send some snow your way to get you jump-started?

~Val in chilly IL
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Old March 6th, 2008, 08:56 PM
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Follow-up.... WOW!!! this is really cool....just what I need, now just to find where I have put all my brushes!!!

VERY COOL APPLICATION!! THANKS TO ROBERT! AND VAWITT!
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Old March 6th, 2008, 08:57 PM
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NO, NO, PLEASE NO, NO SNOW!!!! A MONTH AGO IT WOULD HAVE BEEN OK, BUT NOT NOW!!! Give me a rainy Saturday and maybe Sunday too!!!
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Old March 6th, 2008, 09:13 PM
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I am just a little stumped. I don't actually have the thumbnail of the brush itself showing up in the ABR folder on my desktop, I have the little jpg icon. Did I do something wrong? I am on a mac.
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Old March 6th, 2008, 10:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mom to 4 View Post
Janet... a new macbook????? Didn't you just get a new one last year?????

Haven't talked to you in a while...hope all is well!!!!

!
Hi Colleen!

Last year's major acquisition was the 20" iMac, which I'm absolutely crazy about! A couple of months ago my Windows XP laptop started having some problems and I "upgraded" it to a MacBook Pro. This week I got CS3 and Lightroom so I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed! Other than that all is well here. It's so good to see you around the forum!
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Old March 7th, 2008, 02:44 AM
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Hi ...

I tried this last year sometime and I couldn't get it to work on the Mac .. it couldn't see brushes if they were in a folder.

This maybe a new version so I will check it out later today and let you know how I go on

Wendy
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