[2024] How to Install Lightroom Brushes - Tutorial

To install Lightroom brushes, unzip the downloaded files, then navigate through Lightroom's Preferences to the "Local Adjustment Presets" folder where you paste the brushes. Once done, restart Lightroom, and you can access and use your new brushes from the right panel's brush tool.

December 5, 2023
[2024] How to Install Lightroom Brushes - Tutorial
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How do I install and use brushes in Lightroom?

When you've just downloaded a new Lightroom brush pack off YouTube or from a trusted source, the excitement to use them is palpable. But there's a hurdle: how do you get those brushes into Lightroom and start using them effectively? This is a common challenge many budding photographers and editors face. Brushes, after all, are essential tools that can elevate your photo editing game, allowing for intricate adjustments and enhancements. They can transform a good photo into a masterpiece by enabling localized edits, giving you the power to target specific areas of your image with precision.

In the subsequent sections, we'll walk you through:

  • The process of unzipping and organizing your brush files.
  • Launching Lightroom and accessing the right settings.
  • Navigating through the software to find the correct folders.
  • Transferring the brushes and ensuring they're ready for use.
  • And finally, the art of using these brushes to their full potential.

Unzipping the Brush Files

When you download Lightroom brushes, they often come compressed in a .zip format. This is a space-saving measure, but before you can use these brushes, you need to extract or "unzip" them. Navigate to the location on your computer where you saved the downloaded brushes. Right-click on the .zip file, and you'll see an option that says "Extract All" or something similar. Click on it. As I do this on my computer, a window pops up asking where I'd like to save the extracted files. I usually choose the same location for simplicity. Once you've selected your preferred location, click 'Extract'.

Displaying the process of unzipping the brush files.

Launching Lightroom and Accessing Preferences

Now, let's move to Lightroom. Open it up. If you're on a PC, look at the top menu. You'll see an option labeled "Edit" right next to "File". Click on "Edit". A dropdown menu appears, and from this list, select "Preferences". If you're using a Mac, the process is slightly different. Instead of "Edit", you'll click on "Lightroom" which is located at the top left, right next to "File". From the dropdown, again, select "Preferences".

Accessing "Preferences" in Lightroom on a PC.
Accessing "Preferences" in Lightroom on a Mac.

Navigating to the Presets Tab

Within the Preferences window, you'll notice several tabs. We're interested in the one labeled "Presets". Click on it. As I'm doing this on my screen, I see a few options related to presets, but the one we need is either "Show All Other Lightroom Presets" for newer versions or “Show Lightroom Presets Folder” for older ones. Click on the relevant option for your version.

Navigating to the "Presets" tab within Lightroom's preferences.

Finding the Right Folder

A new window will pop up, showcasing various folders. Look for one labeled "Lightroom" and double-click it. Inside this folder, there's another one named "Local Adjustment Presets". This is where Lightroom brushes reside. Double-click to open it. On my screen, I see a list of presets I've previously installed, but if you're new to this, it might be empty or have just a few default ones.

Transferring the Brushes

Now, let's get those brushes into Lightroom. Go back to the location where you extracted the brushes. Select all the brush files (they usually end in .lrtemplate). To do this, click on the first file, hold down the 'Shift' key, and then click on the last file. This selects everything in between. Right-click and choose 'Copy'. Now, return to the "Local Adjustment Presets" folder in Lightroom and right-click on an empty space. Choose 'Paste'. As I do this on my system, I see the copied brushes appearing in the folder.

Restarting Lightroom for Changes to Take Effect

For the brushes to be recognized, Lightroom needs a quick restart. Close the program and then reopen it. This refresh ensures that the brushes are loaded and ready for use.

Using Your New Brushes

With Lightroom reopened, it's time to use those brushes. On the right panel, there's a tool that looks like a dotted circle or brush. Click on it. A new panel opens up with various brush options. At the top, there's a dropdown menu next to the word "Effect". Click on it, and you'll see a list of all available brushes, including the ones you just installed. Select a brush and start editing your photos. Remember, the brush tool allows for localized edits, so you can target specific areas of your image. As I play around with a brush on my image, I notice how it affects only the parts I paint over, giving me precise control over my edits.