Adding a smoke effect in Photoshop is easy when you have the right brushes. Here’s where to find a few cool smoke effect brushes and how to apply them.

Where to Find a Smoke Brush

A simple Google search on “Free Photoshop Brushes” is a great starting point. I found several great smoke effect brushes on Although the brushes are free, read through their licensing agreement to make sure you qualify. As with downloading anything over the internet, make sure you’re downloading from a reputable site. Create a folder called Brushes and copy the new brushes to that location. This will make it easier to find in the future.

Save Your Existing Brushes

Saving your existing brushes is easy. Start by selecting the Brush from the side Tool Pallet. Access the Brush menu and click the gear icon then select Save Brushes.

Install the Smoke Brushes

The easiest way to install Photoshop Brushes is to right click on the brush and select Open with and choose Photoshop. You can also install the brushes from the Brush Pallet by clicking on the gear icon and select Load Brushes. Navigate to the Brush folder we created earlier and choose the brushes you want to install.

Applying the Smoke Effect

Select a Smoke brush from the Brush Palette. Create a new blank layer. Resize the brush with the bracket keys [ ] and using your mouse, click once. Transform the smoke by pressing keyboard shortcut  [Win] Ctrl + T or [MAC] Command + T. Move the smoke into place and lower the opacity to make it look real.

Bonus Video

Watch the video to see how easy it is to apply smoke to an image. The video also includes a few tips and tricks on using Smart Filters with Smart Objects.