Document: !
Version: 1.00 (Thu, May 16, 2002)
Description: Help file for PSbrush application version 0.30
Author: © Chris Terran/Lee Montgomerie/Vermilion Sands 2002
Format: EasiWriter/HTML/text

About PSbrush

PSbrush is a small application which converts Photoshop (and Paint Shop Pro) brush files for use in Photodesk. There are thousands of Photoshop brushes freely available on the net - try a search on Google - and this application gives Photodesk users easy access to them.

Program requirements

PSbrush should run on RISC OS 3.10 or higher. No additional resources are required.

About brushes

Photoshop and Photodesk brushes have many similarities. There are two basic types: computed and sampled brushes. Computed brushes are elliptical in shape with variable rotation and shading levels; they are very easy to set up in Photodesk and not really worth transferring, so PSbrush ignores them.

Sampled brushes are arbitrarily sized 256-level greyscale images, with the level of grey controlling the amount of the colour or effect applied: black is 100%, and pure white is effectively transparent. Each has an associated 'spacing' value, which controls the distance between successive applications when applying the brush continuously.

On PCs, Photoshop's brushes are stored with a file extension of .abr. If you have Photoshop you can find some inside the Photoshop/Goodies/Brushes directory. Each .abr file can contain many brushes. Note that Paint Shop Pro brushes, although they have an extension of .jbr, are identical to .abr files.

Photodesk's brushes are stored as (slightly non-standard) sprite files. However, they will load perfectly well into Paint and are usable by any other application which can use sprites.

Photoshop uses a simple compression method to reduce the size of brush files, so note that the same file may be much bigger when converted to Photodesk format. In addition, each Photodesk brush has - somewhat redundantly - a full palette, adding aproximately 2k overhead to each one.

Using the program

Double click on PSbrush in a Filer directory display, and a window will open; the program does not have an iconbar icon.

Drag an .abr or .jbr file to this window (note that any filetype and/or extension are ignored), and if it verifies as a version 1 Photoshop brush file some information about the file will be displayed in the lower pane. A sample file for you to try out is provided in the archive, containing some brushes created by Lee, including ... well, convert it and find out!

Set up the options as required (see below for details). The default settings will usually be sufficient.

If you have Photodesk and it's been seen by the Filer, the save path will already be set up to put the file into either your sprays or brushes directory; click on the appropriate buttons to switch between them. Clicking on Open will display the appropriate directory.

Edit the file's leaf name if required. Click on OK to convert the file and save it.

You can also drag the sprite icon to a directory, or drop it onto Paint if you just want to examine the brushes. Each sprite is given a name based on the filename (useful for merging brushes into a single file).

Clicking on Help will open this file, and Web site will attempt to open the the program's home site.

To stop the program, just close the window.

Program options


If this option is selected, all the brushes in the file will have their 'turn' option set for Photodesk. Note that Photoshop brushes have no turning information stored with the brush.


Clicking on the Preserve button will use the Photoshop brush spacing values during conversion, so far as is possible. Photoshop brushes can have arbitrary spacings, while Photodesk uses a percentage of the brush's width, which can only go up to 100%.

If Preserve is not selected, you can enter a spacing value to use by clicking on the up and down arrows (0-100%). This value applies to all the brushes in the file.


If Photodesk has been seen by the Filer, you'll be able to directly save the converted file into the sprays or brushes directories; choose which one you want and click on OK.

Program limitations

Notes and acknowledgements

The RISC OS application PSbrush is free to download for personal use from the Vermilion Sands Photodesk Resources web site (, but you use it at your own risk.

PSbrush and all associated files are copyright: © Chris Terran / Vermilion Sands 2002. PSbrush may not be distributed or made available in any form unless express permission in writing is given by the copyright holder.

Send any comments and bug reports to

Please respect any copyright notices and usage notes on brushes you convert.

All trademarks acknowledged.

Photodesk is a (rather wonderful) product of Photodesk Ltd. (

EasiWriter is a product of Icon Technology Ltd. (

Photoshop is a product of Adobe Systems Inc. (

Paint Shop Pro is a product of Jasc Software, Inc. (

Thanks to the Iconbar for hosting the Vermilion Sands Photodesk Resources web site
(, where any updates to PSbrush will appear.

Thanks to the sterling work of the RISC OS community and its supporters, especially the writers of PD / shareware / freeware software.

Program history