Cloud brushes

Published on November 8, 2022

Create cloud brushes

In this blog I’ll show you how to create a custom cloud brush in Adobe Photoshop.

Rather watch the video with instructions? Then click here or scroll down to the end of this page.

Download the photos I used:

Step 1: Prepare cloud

Open a photo with clouds. Select the lasso tool and make a selection around the cloud you want to turn into a brush.

Press CTRL+J to duplicate the selected area. You now have a new layer (layer 1) with only this cloud.

Create a solid color layer. Make this layer white (#ffffff).

Solid color layer

Place the color fill layer below the layer with the cloud (layer 1). Then select the cloud layer.

Press SHIFT+CTRL+U to desaturate the cloud layer. Then press CTRL+I to invert. Your cloud should now look similar to the one below.

cloud layer

Create a levels layer.


Drag the right point towards the left until the area behind your cloud is completely white. It should fully blend with the white background.

adjust levels

Step 2: Create cloud brush

When your cloud looks similar to the one in the image above, you can create your brush.

Select the layer with your cloud (layer 1). Navigate to ‘Edit > Define brush preset‘. Name your brush and click OK. The brush tool with your new brush is now automatically selected. If not, select the brush tool and scroll down until you see your brush.

Open the file you want to add a cloud to. Make the foreground color white. You can now create a cloud!

Tip: Use the [ and ] keys to adjust the brush size.

brush tool

Optional: Create another cloud brush

The cloud photo I used contains more clouds that you can use. To create another cloud brush, go back to the cloud file.

You can delete layer 1 (the layer with the first cloud). Press and hold ALT and click on the eye icon next to your background layer to make all the other layers invisible. Then select the background layer.

background layer

Select the lasso tool and make a selection around the next cloud you want to use. When the selection is done, click CTRL+J again to duplicate the selected area.

Place the cloud layer (layer 1) above the color fill layer and below the levels layer. You can make the other layers visible again (click on the empty box where the eye icon used to be).

layer panel

Select the cloud layer (layer 1). Press SHIFT+CTRL+U to desaturate this layer. Then press CTRL+I to invert.

Check if the area behind the cloud is completely white. If not, select the levels layer and adjust it (move the right point) until the area behind the cloud fully blends with the white background.

Then select the cloud layer and navigate to ‘Edit > Define brush preset‘. Pick a different name for this brush and click OK.

You have now created a second cloud brush! You can see what both cloud brushes look like in the image below.

cloud brush

And that’s how you create cloud brushes in Adobe Photoshop!

You can use these cloud brushes to add clouds to a photo, but you can also add the clouds from one photo to the sky of another photo. Want to know how you can do that? Then read this blog I wrote about that!

Want to learn more about editing in Adobe Photoshop? Check out my other blogs or take a look at my YouTube channel

Follow me on Facebook to stay updated! You can find the video with instructions below.

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