Photoshop Basics
Working with Brushes

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Lesson 11: Working with Brushes

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Introduction

The Brush tool allows you to paint on any layer, much like a real paintbrush. You'll also have different settings to choose from, which can help you customize it for different situations. Once you know how to use the Brush tool, you'll notice that many other tools, including the Eraser and the Spot Healing Brush, use a similar group of settings.

Using the Brush tool

It's easy to use the Brush tool to paint in your document. Simply locate and select the Brush tool from the Tools panel, then click and drag in the document window to paint. You can also press the B key on your keyboard to select the Brush tool at any time.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

To choose a different brush color, click the top-most color in the Color Picker Tool (this is known as the Foreground Color), then select the desired color from the dialog box.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

You'll also be able to customize different settings for the Brush tool from the Control panel near the top of the screen.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

Some of the settings you can adjust here include:

  • Brush Size: If you want to make the brush larger or smaller, click the Brush Picker drop-down arrow in the Control panel, then adjust the Size slider. You can also press the bracket keys [ ] to quickly increase or decrease the brush size at any time.
    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC
  • Hardness: If you want to make the edges of the brush harder or softer, you can adjust the hardness from the same drop-down menu. A harder brush will have clear, defined edges, whereas a softer brush will have blurry, less-defined edges. For most situations, we recommend setting the hardness to 50% or less because it will help to make individual brush strokes less obvious.
    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC
  • Brush Tip: If you want to create a unique effect, there are different brush tips to choose from in the same drop-down menu. Some of these are designed to mimic real-life drawing tools like pens and markers, while others are simpler.
    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC
  • Opacity: By default, the opacity of your brush is set to 100%, meaning the brush will use the highest intensity. However, you can reduce the opacity of your brush to make it less intense.
    Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

Other tools that use Brush settings

As we mentioned above, many other tools work in a similar way. For example, if you select the Eraser tool, you can click and drag in the document window to erase parts of the selected layer. You can fine-tune the Eraser tool by adjusting the size, hardness, opacity, and more from the Control panel.

Screenshot of Adobe Photoshop CC

More resources

There are many different ways to use brushes in Photoshop, and mastering them will take both time and practice. If you're ready to learn more about brushes, check out the tutorials below:

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