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    How to use the Brush tool in Photoshop

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    Judit Llordés
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    Want to know how to use the Brush tool in Photoshop? Here is a complete guide for you. One of the fundamental tools in Photoshop is the Brush tool. It is used by photographers, graphic designers and a host of other professionals. It can be used to affect large portions of an image very quickly, or it can be optimized to tweak individual pixels in a more time-consuming job.


    In this tutorial, we'll focus on how to use the Brush tool in Photoshop, how to navigate the menu, and how it works. This tutorial was written for beginners who want to start using the Brush tool right away, using only the standard mouse.



    Getting started with using the Brush tool in Photoshop

    Starting from the beginning. Load any image into Photoshop and press the key B to access the Brush tool menu in Photoshop. The menu will appear at the top left of the toolbar panel.

    Next, let's choose what kind of brush you will use on your image. We will focus on the two most important brushes in Photoshop that have a wide range of uses: brushes Soft Round e Hard Round. You can access this menu by clicking on the drop-down menu on the icon Brush. These brushes will be in the folder General brushes, as shown above.


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    About Soft Round Brush and Hard Round Brush

    Each of these brushes has different purposes. The Soft Round Brush will apply the brush effect, leaving a soft or faded look along the edges. The Hard Round Brush applies the brush effect completely to the edges.


    In the image below, we have created a new empty layer by pressing Shift + Ctrl + N on Windows (the corresponding keys on Mac). So, we changed the blending mode to Overlay.


    This will serve as our layer to use our brushes in a non-destructive way.


    Examples of soft and hard round brushes

    Let's compare the two brushes, starting with the Soft Round Brush. To demonstrate, we'll apply a couple of mouse clicks to the grassy area to see what the Soft Round Brush looks like. For now, don't worry about tweaking the brush settings to increase or decrease the brush size, we'll cover that and more later.

    Notice how the Soft Round Brush effect actually feels soft around the edges? Compare this to the hard round brush:

    The difference between these two brushes (using their default settings) is easy to see. It is also easy to choose which brush is the right one for this particular image if we were going to light up the grassy region. Generally, the Hard Round Brush works best in images that have hard lines and geometric shapes.


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    Change brush size and screen navigation

    One of the first things brush users will want to do is increase or decrease the brush size. There are ways to do this. The simplest way is to use the parenthesis keys [ e ] to decrease and increase the size, respectively.


    This can also be achieved in the main Brush menu at the top, which may be the place to go if there are other settings that need to be adjusted as well.

    In addition, it is very useful to zoom in and out of the image while using the Brush tool. These keyboard shortcuts will be indispensable for this. Press and hold i Ctrl keys e + to enlarge. Press and hold i Ctrl keys e - to zoom out. Then, to return the screen to normal full screen view, press i Ctrl keys e 0.


    Another very “useful” tool for navigating the screen is the tool Bro. Press and hold the space bar to navigate the screen when you zoomed in. Remember these keyboard shortcuts because they complement the Brush tool most of the time.

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    Changing the foreground and background color in Photoshop

    What does this have to do with the Brush tool? The short answer is everything. If the Brush tool is to be used, it is important to know what the foreground and background colors are set to in Photoshop. The default settings are Black (foreground) and White (background).

    The key D The keyboard shortcut automatically resets the colors to black and white. The button X alternates between foreground and background. Changes can be made in the lower left of the Photoshop screen, as shown here.

    To change the background and foreground color, simply double-click the icon First floor. A pop-up menu will appear where you can select colors with the mouse or by entering a numeric value.


    Also, while the Brush tool is active, the Other acts as a color sampler to pick colors directly from the image. In the example below, we used the mouse to hover over the building, then pressed the key Other to choose the color. It then becomes the new foreground color, as shown below.

    At any time while using the Brush tool or any other Photoshop feature, you can press the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + to undo the changes in Photoshop.

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    Using the Brush tool with layer masks

    Finally, we'll cover using the Brush tool along with layer masks. In addition to directly brushing color or brush effects on a layer, Photoshop brushes can be used on layer masks to change the amount of color or an effect in selected areas of the image. We can also control how much or how little the Brush tool is applied, which we'll talk about below.


    Used in this way, the default foreground background colors of black and white would determine whether effects were hidden using black or applied using white. In short words, white reveals and black hides.

    For example, let's say we wanted to brighten this image, but we just wanted to light it in the center and leave the edges as they were to create a vignette effect. One way to accomplish this would be to create a Curves ( Subscription > New adjustment layer > Curves ) and then brush off the effect on the mask itself.

    Now that the image is brighter, press B for the Brush tool and press D to make the foreground color black. With the Curves layer mask selected, simply paint around the edges of the image to create the vignette.

    You will now notice that the black around the edges appears on the white layer mask in addition to the image we painted on. Unfortunately, the cartoon looks absolutely terrible! But we can solve it easily by adjusting the settings of Opacity e Flow in the Brush menu and then redoing the vignette with a lighter touch.

    Starting from scratch, we adjusted the Flow to 5 percent (as shown above) and then gradually painted around the image. The results are much more natural.

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    There's more to Photoshop's brush tool than meets the eye

    We've only scratched the surface of what the Brush tool is capable of in Photoshop. The purpose of this tutorial is to introduce the basics of the Brush tool so that any beginner to photo editing can get started right away without being overwhelmed by more advanced techniques and settings.

    Once you are familiar with the Brush tool and these basics, you can try more advanced techniques. This means experimenting with the use of digital pens, custom brushes, and the introduction of blending modes.

    Further Reading:

    • The easiest way to get rid of red eyes
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    • How to delete or remove objects and people from a photo on Android
    • How to take black and white photos with some color (Android / iOS)
    • How to create a transparent background in GIMP
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