Get The Book
“Getting Started With The Brush Tool” is part of my Photoshop book “Learn Photoshop CC With Pictures”, which is more revised and covers more concepts than the online tutorials, feel free to check out the book by visiting my Learn Photoshop CC With Pictures Book Page.
You can use the Brush Tool to:-
- Imitate many real life brushes easily, like wet brushes and pastels.
- Create patterns and textures like sand or snow with a little skill.
- Change the colors of all or parts of a picture.
- Create pictures from scratch using graphics tablet (Or using the mouse, but I don’t recommend that, for many health concerns).
Of course more that could be created with brush tool. Actually, one of the things that make the brush tool really powerful is the amount of customizability it provides. You can download additional brushes online, or even create your own. Which allows you to do unlimited number of things, and that’s using only one tool. Isn’t that great? :D
The basics of the brush tool:-
There are seven things you could adjust to get immediate results from the brush tools. Master these and you have made your first step into creating great designs.
Soft vs Hard brush tip
Brushes in Photoshop can be either soft or hard, soft brush fades away and blends better with its surrounding, while hard brush is the opposite of that
Adjusting the brush hardness or softness is easy, right click anywhere on your canvas and adjust the hardness slider (the less hard a brush is, the softer it is).
Brush stoke size can varies from one pixel diameter to 2500 Pixel, to change the pixel size, right click anywhere in the canvas, and adjust the brush size using the size slider
Bush flow and opacity
Now come the most important features of the brush tool, the flow and the opacity. Both are ways to create transparent or partial strokes. Flow & Transparency are technically the same thing, but they work differently. Understanding and exploiting the differences between the two is one of the things many Photoshop users often miss. And they don’t know how much they are missing.
To get the difference between the two, do the following:-
- Create a new photoshop image (Chose File > New. Then click ok in the dialog that appears before you)
- Select the brush tool
- Set the flow to %25
- Click and drag your brush to the right, you see the overlapping brush strokes get created in front of you. Don’t release the mouse button yet
- Now, drag the brush to the opposite direction. You will notice how the stroke became more opaque
- Set the Flow back to %100
- Now it is time to examine opacity. Set the opacity %25, as seen in the picture:-
- Drag the same way from the left to the right, without releasing the mouse button. You see a soft & transparent line get created.
- Now, without releasing the mouse button from the last step, drag on the opposite direction of the stroke we started in the last step. What do you notice?
- As you have seen, going after the same area over and over won’t make the stroke any darker
- Now release the mouse button. And drag the mouse over the same stroke we started. What do you see now?
- Seeing how the stroke is becoming darker and more opaque with the second stroke. You now know the main difference between flow & opacity.
What can you achieve using what you have learned so far?
- This is a simple logo I created using the brush tool, using a hard brush. With the flow & opacity all set at %100, I painted few circles beside each other. I tried to make them look as much parallel to each other.