This tutorial for how to change a photo into a brush or a vector shape is split into three sections. To create either a brush or a texture you can follow the first part before the tutorial is split into 2 dependent on what you want to create as your end result.
Open up your photograph in Photoshop. Use the largest size of photo that you can at this stage.
Choose Image > Adjustments > Threshold from the top menu.
Use the threshold slider to change the image. What you see in black at this stage will be largely what your brush or vector shape will be based on. The amount you change the slider is up to you dependent on what effect you are trying to achieve.
Remember that you do not have to use the whole of the image – With this particular photograph I think the shape created by the squirrels tail is the sort of shape that I want to create.
Use the crop tool to focus in on the area of the photo that you want to use.
Use the Brush Tool with the foreground colour set to white to cover over any areas of black that you don’t want to feature in your brush or vector shape. With the Brush Tool selected right click the canvas to change the brush size and hardness. Choose a brush size that suits the size of the document you are working to and set the hardness to 100 to keep the hard edges that have been created by the Threshold.
Select the magic wand from the tool bar and click on part of the black area. If the wand does not pick up all the black areas, with a small area of the black selected go to Select > Similar from the top navigation.
Open the paths palette. Window > Paths. On the paths palette click on the top right drop down icon and select Make Work Path. Choose 0.5 pixels as the tolerance when asked.
You can now define this path as a Custom Shape by going to Edit > Define Custom Shape from the top menu and give your shape a name in the prompt box.
You can now open a new document and try out your custom shape.
To access the custom shape click on the rectangle tool from toolbar and choose Custom Shape Tool. In the options bar click on the shape drop down and you will find the latest added shapes at the bottom. Select your shape.
The shape takes on whatever colour you have selected in the foreground of the colour palette so you may need to change this first. To change the colour once your shape has been drawn you can go to the layers palette (Window > Layers) and double click the colour next to the shape. Please note that to keep your shape in the same proportion you will have to press shift as you draw.
Choose copy, new documentwith a white background and paste Ctrl C + Ctrl N + Ctrl V / Apple C +Apple N + Apple V. (This separates the texture from the background and places it on a white background.
Check your document size. If your document and texture is over 2500 pixels square you will need to resize it in order to create a brush. To do this go to Image < Image Size and check the settings. If larger than 2500 pixels, change the width or height (whichever is biggest) to 2500 pixels. If it is less than 2500 pixels you can leave it as it is.
Define your texture as a brush. Edit > Define Brush Preset and give your brush a name in the prompt box.
Start a new document and select the brush tool. In the options tool bar find your brush in the drop down menu. New brushes created will appear at the bottom of the list.