Brush Search in X3


As you may have heard, new in X3 is a brush search tool.


I personally think that brush search combined with an expressive stroke preview is is great way to discover (or perhaps rediscover forgotten) brushes in Painter. I know I often go back to brushes I am familiar with in my day to day work.


So the question is… what can Brush Search look for?


The most obvious searches are queries that use variant names or categories.


For example, if I remember using a brush that had the word "Bleach" in the name…  but I can't find it (or don't want to spend time looking for it)…


I simply type the word Bleach and the results come back:





I can also combine words together.  For instance, I can combine a words from the variant name with words from the category name.


For example, I type Bleach and Watercolor.  


Here are the results:




Now that I have found my brushes, I don't want to keep searching for it.  I can create a custom palette with those variants.


I simply shift-drag from the search results and it creates a custom palette! 




Ok… but what else can be searched besides names and categories?


In X3 you can search for words, or word combinations of the content listed below.

Combinations is when you use more than one word to create a more complex query.

You can combine a word from the Dab Type with a word from the Variant Name for example (e.g. Captured Watercolor).




Searchable content in X3:



-Variant Names 

-Variant Categories


Dab Type:



-Static Bristle



-Camel Hair


-Palette Knife

-Bristle Spray


-Pixel Airbrush

-Line Airbrush



-Liquid Ink Camel Hair

-Liquid Ink Flat

-Liquid Ink Palette Knife

-Liquid Ink Bristle Spray

-Liquid Ink Airbrush

-Watercolor Camel Hair

-Watercolor Flat

-Watercolor Palette Knife

-Watercolor Bristle Spray

-Watercolor Airbrush

-Blend Camel Hair

-Blend Flat

-Artists' Oils

-Computed Circular


Stroke Type:













-Digital Wet







-Gradient Repeat


-Pattern With Mask

-Pattern As Opacity



-Soft Buildup

-Grainy Soft Buildup

-Grainy Edge Flat Buildup

-Grainy Hard Buildup

-Soft Variable Buildup

-Flat Cover

-Soft Cover

-Grainy Flat Cover

-Grainy Soft Cover

-Grainy Edge Flat Cover

-Grainy Hard Cover

-Soft Paper Color

-Soft Paint Remover

-Soft Paint Thickener

-Soft Alpha Colorize

-Soft Grain Colorize


-Hard Drip

-Grainy Drip

-Grainy Hard Drip

-Hard Cover Cloning

-Soft Cover Cloning

-Grainy Hard Cover Cloning

-Grainy Soft Cover Cloning

-Drip Cloning

-Grainy Wet Abrasive

-Grainy Wet Buildup

-Wet Remove Density

-Real Wet Buildup

-Real Wet Cover

-Real Wet Replace

-Real Dry Buildup

-Real Dry Cover

-Real Wet Oil

-Grainy Digital Wet Abrasive

-Grainy Digital Wet Buildup

-Digital Wet Remove Density

-Grainy Marker Abrasive

-Grainy Marker Soft Cover



-Glow Brush

-Graphic Print Brush

-Overlay Brush

-Hue Brush

-Hue Add Brush

-Hue Sat Brush

-Sat Add Brush

-Val Add Brush

-Val Add Sat Sub Brush

-Bulge Brush

-Deep Well Brush

-Diffuse Motion Brush

-Diffuse Pull Brush

-Horizontal Crease Brush

-Left Twirl Brush

-Liquid Brush

-Pinch Brush

-Right Twirl Brush

-Simple Diffuse Brush

-Vertical Crease Brush

-Add Grain Brush

-Blur Brush

-Comb Brush

-Relief Brush

-Sharpen Brush

-Confusion Brush

-Scratch Remover Brush



Is there anything else that Brush Search can look for?

Yes, there is more! :)


In X3 we also included the ability to search for some basic brush capabilities.

Here is a summary of the brush capabilities you can currently search for:



search for brushes that have the RealBristle option turned ON.

(Note this will NOT return brushes that can make use of RealBristle, only those brushes that are set to currently make use of it).


Stroke Attributes:

search for brushes that currently have "Use Strokes Attributes" turned ON.



search for brushes that will make use of paper texture.


Flow Map:

search for brushes currently making use a flow map texture.


Clone Color:

search for brushes that currently are set to cloning. (Either a cloning method or the clone color option on the color wheel or cloning palette).


Hard Media:

search for brushes making use of the Hard Media technology



search for brushes using impasto



search for brushes using any of the jitter brush settings (opacity, radius, grain, stroke etc.)


Finally, you search for brushes using any of the following expressions:














Anything else?



You can also search by brush version.

In the future, brushes will be versioned so that we can search for brushes that were created in specific version of Painter.


For example, in X3 you can search for "X3" or "13" and the results will show brushes that were created for the release of Painter X3.


Here is a search query that combines several words:

"X3 Jitter Captured Impasto Grain"


The results will only include brushes created (or updated for X3), that make use of Jitter, Impasto and Grain and that use the "Captured" dab type.



As you see, you can combine words together to create very specific results.


So a good question is what would YOU like search for?


Some ideas to get the ball rolling:


-Stylus capabilities like "6D"?

-Descriptive words like "Oily" or "Abstract" EVEN if those words are NOT in the brush name?

-Synonyms ("Grain"vs "Paper Texture" vs "Canvas Texture")

-Incorrectly spelled words: ("RealBristle" vs "Real Bristle" vs "RealBritsle") 


All ideas are welcome!

Happy painting … and searching in X3!


  • Hi Chris,

    I'm really finding Brush Search to be very useful. I think that adding provision for mispellled werds would be beneficial as a brilliant artist may not necessarily be a good speller.

    I would like to have NOT capability for the search terms (Boolean).

    Descriptive words would be more user friendly - either manually written to the respective finder files or automated by word association (eg. if a variant is in the Oils brush category then it could be assumed that terms such as 'oily' could be automatically added to the respective bff). Not so easy with mixed variant types in a custom brush category though.

    Grain and grainy are currently difficult in terms of accuracy. For example, it is possible to have a 'grain-enabled' variant, which due to the relevant slider settings, does not exhibit paper texture in the brush stroke at default. Image Hose Nozzles are another example - in this case the grain slider is used as a tinting control in combination with the additional selected color.

    It would be useful to have the ability to search for variants which can 'sample multiple colors' and also be able to use abbreviations as a productivity aid e.g. 'smc' instead of 'sample multiple colors'. Remember, speed of search is just as important as painting speed.

  • Great post,

    Allowing for users to search for watercolour and colour and any other words that are spelled differently in different places English is spoken might also be useful.

  • Sure would like to be able to search in all brushes installed...maybe an optional switch for "all installed" or "current library" to keep results under control.

    I have at least a dozen libraries that I jump between using a custom panel.

    also see:

    and thanks for the above added info about searches

  • Nice! thanks for the great suggestions.

    If you have more ideas keep em coming :)