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Painting tools

  1. Photoshop User Guide
  2. Introduction to Photoshop
    1. Dream it. Make it.
    2. What's new in Photoshop
    3. Edit your first photo
    4. Create documents
    5. Photoshop | Common Questions
    6. Photoshop system requirements
    7. Get to know Photoshop
  3. Photoshop and other Adobe products and services
    1. Work with Illustrator artwork in Photoshop
    2. Work with Photoshop files in InDesign
    3. Substance 3D Materials for Photoshop
    4. Use the Capture in-app extension in Photoshop
  4. Photoshop on the iPad (not available in mainland China)
    1. Photoshop on the iPad | Common questions
    2. Get to know the workspace
    3. System requirements | Photoshop on the iPad
    4. Create, open, and export documents
    5. Add photos
    6. Work with layers
    7. Draw and paint with brushes
    8. Make selections and add masks
    9. Retouch your composites
    10. Work with adjustment layers
    11. Adjust the tonality of your composite with Curves
    12. Apply transform operations
    13. Crop and rotate your composites
    14. Rotate, pan, zoom, and reset the canvas
    15. Work with Type layers
    16. Work with Photoshop and Lightroom
    17. Get missing fonts in Photoshop on the iPad
    18. Japanese Text in Photoshop on the iPad
    19. Manage app settings
    20. Touch shortcuts and gestures
    21. Keyboard shortcuts
    22. Edit your image size
    23. Livestream as you create in Photoshop on the iPad
    24. Correct imperfections with the Healing Brush
    25. Create brushes in Capture and use them in Photoshop on the iPad
    26. Work with Camera Raw files
    27. Create and work with Smart Objects
    28. Adjust exposure in your images with Dodge and Burn
    29. Auto adjustment commands in Photoshop on the iPad
    30. Smudge areas in your images with Photoshop on the iPad
    31. Saturate or desaturate your images using Sponge tool
    32. Content aware fill for iPad
  5. Photoshop on the web (not available in mainland China)
    1. Common questions
    2. System requirements
    3. Keyboard shortcuts
    4. Supported file types
    5. Introduction to the workspace
    6. Open and work with cloud documents
    7. Generative AI features
    8. Basic concepts of editing
    9. Quick Actions
    10. Work with layers
    11. Retouch images and remove imperfections
    12. Make quick selections
    13. Image improvements with Adjustment Layers
    14. Move, transform, and crop images
    15. Draw and paint
    16. Work with Type layers
    17. Work with anyone on the web
    18. Manage app settings
    19. Generate Image
    20. Generate Background
    21. Reference Image
  6. Photoshop (beta) (not available in mainland China)
    1. Get started with Creative Cloud Beta apps
    2. Photoshop (beta) on the desktop
    3. Generate image with descriptive text prompts
    4. Generate background with descriptive text prompts
  7. Generative AI (not available in mainland China) 
    1. Common questions on generative AI in Photoshop
    2. Generative Fill in Photoshop on the desktop
    3. Generative Expand in Photoshop on the desktop
    4. Generative Fill in Photoshop on the iPad
    5. Generative Expand in Photoshop on the iPad
    6. Generative AI features in Photoshop on the web
  8. Content authenticity (not available in mainland China)
    1. Content credentials in Photoshop
    2. Identity and provenance for NFTs
    3. Connect accounts for creative attribution
  9. Cloud documents (not available in mainland China)
    1. Photoshop cloud documents | Common questions
    2. Photoshop cloud documents | Workflow questions
    3. Manage and work with cloud documents in Photoshop
    4. Upgrade cloud storage for Photoshop
    5. Unable to create or save a cloud document
    6. Solve Photoshop cloud document errors
    7. Collect cloud document sync logs
    8. Invite others to edit your cloud documents
    9. Share files and comment in-app
  10. Workspace
    1. Workspace basics
    2. Preferences
    3. Learn faster with the Photoshop Discover Panel
    4. Create documents
    5. Place files
    6. Default keyboard shortcuts
    7. Customize keyboard shortcuts
    8. Tool galleries
    9. Performance preferences
    10. Use tools
    11. Presets
    12. Grid and guides
    13. Touch gestures
    14. Use the Touch Bar with Photoshop
    15. Touch capabilities and customizable workspaces
    16. Technology previews
    17. Metadata and notes
    18. Touch capabilities and customizable workspaces
    19. Place Photoshop images in other applications
    20. Rulers
    21. Show or hide non-printing Extras
    22. Specify columns for an image
    23. Undo and history
    24. Panels and menus
    25. Position elements with snapping
    26. Position with the Ruler tool
  11. Web, screen, and app design
    1. Photoshop for design
    2. Artboards
    3. Device Preview
    4. Copy CSS from layers
    5. Slice web pages
    6. HTML options for slices
    7. Modify slice layout
    8. Work with web graphics
    9. Create web photo galleries
  12. Image and color basics
    1. How to resize images
    2. Work with raster and vector images
    3. Image size and resolution
    4. Acquire images from cameras and scanners
    5. Create, open, and import images
    6. View images
    7. Invalid JPEG Marker error | Opening images
    8. Viewing multiple images
    9. Customize color pickers and swatches
    10. High dynamic range images
    11. Match colors in your image
    12. Convert between color modes
    13. Color modes
    14. Erase parts of an image
    15. Blending modes
    16. Choose colors
    17. Customize indexed color tables
    18. Image information
    19. Distort filters are unavailable
    20. About color
    21. Color and monochrome adjustments using channels
    22. Choose colors in the Color and Swatches panels
    23. Sample
    24. Color mode or Image mode
    25. Color cast
    26. Add a conditional mode change to an action
    27. Add swatches from HTML CSS and SVG
    28. Bit depth and preferences
  13. Layers
    1. Layer basics
    2. Nondestructive editing
    3. Create and manage layers and groups
    4. Select, group, and link layers
    5. Place images into frames
    6. Layer opacity and blending
    7. Mask layers
    8. Apply Smart Filters
    9. Layer comps
    10. Move, stack, and lock layers
    11. Mask layers with vector masks
    12. Manage layers and groups
    13. Layer effects and styles
    14. Edit layer masks
    15. Extract assets
    16. Reveal layers with clipping masks
    17. Generate image assets from layers
    18. Work with Smart Objects
    19. Blending modes
    20. Combine multiple images into a group portrait
    21. Combine images with Auto-Blend Layers
    22. Align and distribute layers
    23. Copy CSS from layers
    24. Load selections from a layer or layer mask's boundaries
    25. Knockout to reveal content from other layers
  14. Selections
    1. Get started with selections
    2. Make selections in your composite
    3. Select and Mask workspace
    4. Select with the marquee tools
    5. Select with the lasso tools
    6. Adjust pixel selections
    7. Move, copy, and delete selected pixels
    8. Create a temporary quick mask
    9. Select a color range in an image
    10. Convert between paths and selection borders
    11. Channel basics
    12. Save selections and alpha channel masks
    13. Select the image areas in focus
    14. Duplicate, split, and merge channels
    15. Channel calculations
  15. Image adjustments
    1. Replace object colors
    2. Perspective warp
    3. Reduce camera shake blurring
    4. Healing brush examples
    5. Export color lookup tables
    6. Adjust image sharpness and blur
    7. Understand color adjustments
    8. Apply a Brightness/Contrast adjustment
    9. Adjust shadow and highlight detail
    10. Levels adjustment
    11. Adjust hue and saturation
    12. Adjust vibrance
    13. Adjust color saturation in image areas
    14. Make quick tonal adjustments
    15. Apply special color effects to images
    16. Enhance your image with color balance adjustments
    17. High dynamic range images
    18. View histograms and pixel values
    19. Match colors in your image
    20. Crop and straighten photos
    21. Convert a color image to black and white
    22. Adjustment and fill layers
    23. Curves adjustment
    24. Blending modes
    25. Target images for press
    26. Adjust color and tone with Levels and Curves eyedroppers
    27. Adjust HDR exposure and toning
    28. Dodge or burn image areas
    29. Make selective color adjustments
  16. Adobe Camera Raw
    1. Camera Raw system requirements
    2. What's new in Camera Raw
    3. Introduction to Camera Raw
    4. Create panoramas
    5. Supported lenses
    6. Vignette, grain, and dehaze effects in Camera Raw
    7. Default keyboard shortcuts
    8. Automatic perspective correction in Camera Raw
    9. Radial Filter in Camera Raw
    10. Manage Camera Raw settings
    11. Open, process, and save images in Camera Raw
    12. Repair images with the Enhanced Spot Removal tool in Camera Raw
    13. Rotate, crop, and adjust images
    14. Adjust color rendering in Camera Raw
    15. Process versions in Camera Raw
    16. Make local adjustments in Camera Raw
  17. Image repair and restoration
    1. Remove objects from your photos with Content-Aware Fill
    2. Content-Aware Patch and Move
    3. Retouch and repair photos
    4. Correct image distortion and noise
    5. Basic troubleshooting steps to fix most issues
  18. Image enhancement and transformation
    1. Replace sky in your images
    2. Transform objects
    3. Adjust crop, rotation, and canvas size
    4. How to crop and straighten photos
    5. Create and edit panoramic images
    6. Warp images, shapes, and paths
    7. Vanishing Point
    8. Content-aware scaling
    9. Transform images, shapes, and paths
  19. Drawing and painting
    1. Paint symmetrical patterns
    2. Draw rectangles and modify stroke options
    3. About drawing
    4. Draw and edit shapes
    5. Painting tools
    6. Create and modify brushes
    7. Blending modes
    8. Add color to paths
    9. Edit paths
    10. Paint with the Mixer Brush
    11. Brush presets
    12. Gradients
    13. Gradient interpolation
    14. Fill and stroke selections, layers, and paths
    15. Draw with the Pen tools
    16. Create patterns
    17. Generate a pattern using the Pattern Maker
    18. Manage paths
    19. Manage pattern libraries and presets
    20. Draw or paint with a graphics tablet
    21. Create textured brushes
    22. Add dynamic elements to brushes
    23. Gradient
    24. Paint stylized strokes with the Art History Brush
    25. Paint with a pattern
    26. Sync presets on multiple devices
    27. Migrate presets, actions, and settings
  20. Text
    1. Add and edit the text
    2. Unified Text Engine
    3. Work with OpenType SVG fonts
    4. Format characters
    5. Format paragraphs
    6. How to create type effects
    7. Edit text
    8. Line and character spacing
    9. Arabic and Hebrew type
    10. Fonts
    11. Troubleshoot fonts
    12. Asian type
    13. Create type
  21. Filters and effects
    1. Use the Blur Gallery
    2. Filter basics
    3. Filter effects reference
    4. Add Lighting Effects
    5. Use the Adaptive Wide Angle filter
    6. Use the Oil Paint filter
    7. Use the Liquify filter
    8. Layer effects and styles
    9. Apply specific filters
    10. Smudge image areas
  22. Saving and exporting
    1. Save your files in Photoshop
    2. Export your files in Photoshop
    3. Supported file formats
    4. Save files in graphics formats
    5. Move designs between Photoshop and Illustrator
    6. Save and export video and animations
    7. Save PDF files
    8. Digimarc copyright protection
  23. Color Management
    1. Understanding color management
    2. Keeping colors consistent
    3. Color settings
    4. Duotones
    5. Work with color profiles
    6. Color-managing documents for online viewing
    7. Color-managing documents when printing
    8. Color-managing imported images
    9. Proofing colors
  24. Web, screen, and app design
    1. Photoshop for design
    2. Artboards
    3. Device Preview
    4. Copy CSS from layers
    5. Slice web pages
    6. HTML options for slices
    7. Modify slice layout
    8. Work with web graphics
    9. Create web photo galleries
  25. Video and animation
    1. Video editing in Photoshop
    2. Edit video and animation layers
    3. Video and animation overview
    4. Preview video and animations
    5. Paint frames in video layers
    6. Import video files and image sequences
    7. Create frame animations
    8. Creative Cloud 3D Animation (Preview)
    9. Create timeline animations
    10. Create images for video
  26. Printing
    1. Print 3D objects
    2. Print from Photoshop
    3. Print with color management
    4. Contact Sheets and PDF Presentations
    5. Print photos in a picture package layout
    6. Print spot colors
    7. Print images to a commercial printing press
    8. Improve color prints from Photoshop
    9. Troubleshoot printing problems | Photoshop
  27. Automation
    1. Creating actions
    2. Create data-driven graphics
    3. Scripting
    4. Process a batch of files
    5. Play and manage actions
    6. Add conditional actions
    7. About actions and the Actions panel
    8. Record tools in actions
    9. Add a conditional mode change to an action
    10. Photoshop UI toolkit for plug-ins and scripts
  28. Troubleshooting
    1. Fixed issues 
    2. Known issues
    3. Optimize Photoshop performance
    4. Basic troubleshooting
    5. Troubleshoot crash or freeze
    6. Troubleshoot program errors
    7. Troubleshoot scratch disk full errors
    8. Troubleshoot GPU and graphics driver issues
    9. Find missing tools
    10. Photoshop 3D | Common questions around discontinued features

About painting tools, presets, and options

Adobe Photoshop provides several tools for painting and editing image color. The Brush tool and the Pencil tool work like traditional drawing tools applying color with brush strokes. Tools like the Eraser tool, Blur tool, and Smudge tool modify the existing colors in the image. In the options bar for each of these painting tools, you can set how color is applied to an image and choose from preset brush tips. See Painting tools gallery.

Brush and tool presets

You can save a set of brush options as a preset so you can quickly access brush characteristics you use frequently. Photoshop includes several sample brush presets. You can start with these presets and modify them to produce new effects. Many original brush presets are available for download on the web.

You can quickly choose presets from the Brush Preset picker in the options bar, which lets you temporarily modify the size and hardness of a brush preset.

Save tool presets when you want to store customized brush tip characteristics along with settings from the options bar such as opacity, flow, and color. To learn more about tool presets, see Create and use tool presets.

Brush tip options

Along with settings in the options bar, brush tip options control how color is applied. You can apply color gradually, with soft edges, with large brush strokes, with various brush dynamics, with different blending properties, and with brushes of different shapes. You can apply a texture with your brush strokes to simulate painting on canvas or art papers. You can also simulate spraying paint with an airbrush. You use the Brush Settings panel to set brush tip options. See Brush Settings panel overview.

If you work with a drawing tablet, you can control how color is applied using pen pressure, angle, rotation, or a stylus wheel. You set options for drawing tablets in the Brush Settings panel and options bar.

Paint with the Brush tool or Pencil tool

Note:

Intended behavior change for the Brush tool in Photoshop 25.0

When working with the Brush tool on a smart object, a text layer, a shape layer, or an adjustment layer, users get a new transparent layer instead of a prompt to rasterize layers.

The Brush tool and the Pencil tool paint the current foreground color on an image. The Brush tool creates soft strokes of color. The Pencil tool creates hard-edged lines.

Note:

The Rotation tool rotates the canvas, which can facilitate easier painting. See Use the Rotate View tool.

  1. Choose a foreground color. (See Choose colors in the toolbox.)

  2. Select the Brush tool  or Pencil tool  .
  3. Choose a brush from the Brushes panel. See Select a preset brush.

  4. Set tool options for mode, opacity, and so on, in the options bar.

  5. Do one or more of the following:
    • Click and drag in the image to paint.
    • To draw a straight line, click a starting point in the image. Then hold down Shift, and click an ending point.
    • When using the Brush tool as an airbrush, hold down the mouse button without dragging to build up color.

Selecting a cursor preference

Updated in Photoshop 24.1 (December 2022 release)

With this release, we’ve added a direct preference that allows you to easily set the boldness of your brush outlines to your liking in the Cursors preference panel. You can choose from the options: Thin, Normal, Bold, and Extra Bold.

When you adjust this setting, your preference change goes into effect immediately - no need to restart Photoshop!

Cursor preferences in Photoshop
Easily set the boldness of your brush outlines to your liking in the Cursors preference panel.

The painting tools have three possible cursors: the standard cursor (the icon from the toolbox), a cross hair , and a cursor that matches the size and shape of the currently selected brush tip.

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Cursors (Windows) or Photoshop > Preferences > Cursors (macOS).

  2. Select the desired cursors in both the Painting Cursors area and the Other Cursors area. The sample cursors change to reflect your choices. For a Brush Tip cursor, choose a size and whether to include a cross hair in the cursor.
    • Normal Brush Tip restricts the cursor size to areas of the brush stroke that have 50% or more opacity.
    • Full Size Brush Tip sizes the cursor to the entire area affected by the brush stroke. For soft brushes, this produces a larger cursor size than the Normal setting, to include the areas of the brush stroke with lighter opacity.
Note:

To combine different types of cursors, select Show Crosshair In Brush Tip or Show Only Crosshair While Painting. Or, for the Pen and Brush tools, press the Caps Lock to toggle between the standard cursor and the cross hair.

Paint tool options

Set the following in the options bar. Options available vary with each tool.

Mode

Sets the method for blending the color you paint with the underlying existing pixels. Available modes change with the currently selected tool. Paint modes are similar to layer blending modes. See Blending modes.

Opacity

Sets the transparency of color you apply. As you paint over an area, the opacity does not exceed the set level no matter how many times you move the pointer over the area, until you release the mouse button. If you stroke over the area again, you apply additional color, equivalent to the set opacity. Opacity of 100 percent is opaque.

Flow

Sets the rate at which color is applied as you move the pointer over an area. As you paint over an area, while holding down the mouse button, the amount of color builds up based on the flow rate, up to the opacity setting. For example, if you set the opacity to 33% and the flow to 33%, each time you move over an area, its color moves 33% toward the brush color. The total will not exceed 33% opacity unless you release the mouse button and stroke over the area again.

Note:

Press a single number key to set a tool’s opacity in multiples of 10% (pressing 1 sets it to 10%; pressing 0 sets it to 100%). Press two number keys to set a specific opacity. To set Flow, press Shift and number keys.

Airbrush 

Simulates painting with an airbrush. As you move the pointer over an area, paint builds up as you hold down the mouse button. Brush hardness, opacity, and flow options control how fast and how much the paint is applied. Click the button to turn on or off this option.

Auto erase

(Pencil tool only) Paints the background color over areas containing the foreground color. Select the foreground color you want to erase and the background color you want to change to. (See Auto Erase with the Pencil tool.)

Tablet pressure buttons   

Use stylus pressure to override opacity and size settings in the Brush Settings panel.

Stroke smoothing

Photoshop performs intelligent smoothing on your brush strokes. Simply enter a value (0-100) for Smoothing in the Options bar when you're working with one of the following tools: Brush, Pencil, Mixer Brush, or Eraser. A value of 0 is the same as legacy smoothing in earlier versions of Photoshop. Higher values apply increasing amounts of intelligent smoothing to your strokes.

Stroke smoothing works in several modes. Clicking the gear icon () to enable one or more of the following modes:

Pulled String Mode

Paints only when the string is taut. Cursor movements within the smoothing radius leave no mark.

Stroke Catch Up

Allows the paint to continue catching up with your cursor while you've paused the stroke. Disabling this mode stops paint application as soon as the cursor movement stops.

Catch-Up On Stroke End

Completes the stroke from the last paint position to the point where you released the mouse/stylus control.

Adjust For Zoom

Prevents jittery strokes by adjusting smoothing. Decreases smoothing when you zoom in the document; increases smoothing when you zoom out.

 Adobe

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