Tips for using Brushes in Photoshop

0800 156 0777

Tips for using Brushes in Photoshop

Using Photoshop generally means using a brush at some point, and not just for painting. Several tools within Photoshop  also use a brush – Eraser, Dodge, Burn, etc. Here are some useful shortcuts when using a tool that uses brushes…

Constraining Brushes

Click, let go and shift – click elsewhere in your document and you will get a straight line

Click and hold with your mouse button, then hold the shift key, and then move your mouse – you will be constrained to horizontal/vertical lines.

Multiple Steps using Brushes

When using things like eraser, dodge, burn, etc, Photoshop sees one stroke as mouse-down and mouse-up. If you just paint with one mouse down, and then let go, you will get one long stroke with one application of your effect (like with the dodge tool you will only lighten a little bit, not build up as you might expect). With this in mind it is best to use short strokes, and let go of the mouse, short strokes, etc.  This means that you can also do multiple undos and so have a lot of control of how you step back, and you can see the effect build up as well.

Changing the size and hardness of a brush

Using the [ and ] keys will let you decrease/increase your brush size on the fly, or use Shift + { and } keys to decrease / increase the brush hardness – very useful.

Better still hold the Alt key then right click (nb: right click not left click) and drag up or down on the image and you can change the hardness setting.  If you do the same and drag left or right you can change the brush size.

If you want to switch to the Previous or Next Brush then just hit the , or . keys to do so.

Switch between Foreground and Background colour

If you want to quickly switch between the foreground and background colour simply click on the X key to do so.

If you can think of any other shortcuts you find useful when working with brushes, just post them in the comments below.