The Brush Tool is a very useful tool for all things that need painting – such as layer masks, colour changes, modifying selection etc. With so many uses it is important to use it efficiently. So lets look at some Adobe Photoshop keyboard shortcuts to speed things up a bit.
To select the Brush Tool press the b key.
Cursor Size and Shape
Ensure that you can see the size of your brush, which will vary in size but will normally be circular like this:
If your brush looks like this:
Then press the Caps Lock key so you can see the brush size.
[ to decrease the brush size
] to increase the brush size
Ctrl + Alt + Right–click (windows) or Control + Option + Click (mac) and drag your mouse to the left to reduce the size or to the right to increase the size. This option will provide an on-screen display showing your brush size diameter, as shown below.
Shift + [ will reduce the hardness of the brush so making it softer
Shift + ] will increase the hardness of the brush
Ctrl + Alt + Right–click (windows) or Control + Option + Click (mac) and drag your mouse upwards to soften the brush or downwards to increase the hardness. This option will provide an on-screen display showing your brush hardness setting as shown below.
1 to 0 – to change the opacity.
Opacity controls how see-through a colour is. An opacity percentage of 100% will give an opaque colour – a colour that you can’t see through. Anything less than 100% opacity will reveal the layer/image underneath the colour.
To adjust the brush opacity, press a number key from 1 to 0 and your brush opacity will change from 10% up to 100%. If you want a setting such as 15%, press 1 then 5 very quickly.
Its always best to use the number keys at the top of the keyboard.
Shift 1 to 0 – to change flow amount
Flow is the rate at which a colour is applied as you ‘brush’ over an area. Think of it like using a spray can, with a low Flow percentage you will need to spray over the same area multiple times to build up a solid covering of colour.
To adjust the flow rate, press Shift then a number key from 1 to 0 and your flow rate will change from 10% up to 100%. If you want a flow setting such as 15%, press 1 then 5 very quickly while holding down the Shift key.
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