Brush Pilot: The Ultimate Photoshop Brush Companion

If you are a professional or at least enthusiastic user of Photoshop or Photoshop Elements, you will have worked with brushes. And the beauty of brushes is that there are millions of them out there and that they can be loaded into PS fairly easily.

But how often has it happened to you that you’ve downloaded some brushes and then later forgot what they looked like? Or maybe you have a huge collection already in PS, but finding the right one requires clicking on every one of the sets. That’s where Brush Pilot comes in – it previews your brushes and saves you oodles of time. We’ll take a look at the helper app after the break.

Preview Any Local Brushes

Whether your brushes are installed in Photoshop or you’ve just downloaded them to a folder of your choice, Brush Pilot finds them immediately. You don’t even have to restart the application, everything happens live.

Simple yet informative user interface

Simple yet informative user interface

As you can see, Brush Pilot automatically detected my regular Presets folder that holds all brushes already installed into Photoshop. In addition to that, it shows brushes I downloaded from the web into my Downloads folder.

Simply clicking on a brush brings up the preview in the right pane. And that happens fast. Fast as in immediate! There is no delay or slow build-up of the previews, you can really just go through a large number of sets really quickly in search of something.

The control on the bottom right allows you to scale the previews. That’s especially handy when you want to look at details of high resolution brushes. In the small preview mode, you can look at the entire set; in the large preview mode you can see everything of just one brush.

Zoom into brushes to see details

Zoom into brushes to see details

Manage Brushes Easily

Brush Pilot is more than just a pretty face. Apart from giving you instant previews, you can also install brushes right from within the app and have them available in Photoshop.

All that’s needed is one click on the Install icon on the upper left and it’s done. The brush will be copied to your presets folder, but not removed from the original location.

In case you try to install the same brush twice (which can happen, since there is no feedback for a successful installation), Brush Pilot will warn you that the brush is already there.

Brush Pilot makes sure you don't install brushes twice

Brush Pilot makes sure you don't install brushes twice

Use Brushes Everywhere – Export PNGs

So, what if you have this one awesome brush, but you want to use it as an image, maybe in your Pages document? Brush Pilot does’t fail you. Via the PNG-export button you can export any brush to a PNG file and even set a transparent background.

If your brush set contains more than just one brush, all of them will be exported as separate files. Extremely convenient and much faster than doing it yourself via Photoshop.

Easily export any brush to a PNG

Easily export any brush to a PNG

Verdict

Granted, Brush Pilot is a niche-product, but those of use working regularly with Photoshop and making use of brushes can optimize their workflow with this little helper app.

The features mentioned above are just the core functions; there are many more aspects like file-path-view, deleting brushes or printing brush overviews which can come in handy.

So, for all heavy brush users out there: take a look at Brush Pilot. The trial version is limited to show only 5 brushes per set, but you can see for yourself how fast it is and how useful. But be careful: once you’re hooked, there’s no going back.


Summary

Brush Pilot generates previews of your Photoshop brushes (.abr) and helps you to manage them more efficiently.

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  • Sigilist

    I’ve been using BP for years now, even before when working on only the Windows side of univers. Though I am not a big brush user, it’s the best thing out there in Mac world for what it does. It’s too bad the developer hasn’t taken it any further in the passage of time, for in the Windows world there are apps that do this and so much more… like shapes and other presets that need a browser to pick and choose without having to load everything first.

    Just a hint, as BP is a solid utility showing some development skill that could be applied to similar needs.

  • DylanJone

    I’ve been using BP for years now too,and feel better.And I used a better screen capture software(http://www.ondesoft.com/screencapture/index.html). With Onde Screen Capture for Mac,you can edit your screen snaps as you like.

  • Bernie

    Yeah, this app is pretty sweet. While not as feature-heavy there’s a convenient little addon for QuickLook that lets you preview brushes with space bar: http://brushviewer.sourceforge.net/

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