Photoshop Quick Tip: Changing Brush Settings On The Fly

Photoshop Quick Tip: Changing Brush Settings On The Fly

When designing in Photoshop every little tip and trick to reduce your amount of clicks can add up to better workflow and more time saved. That’s exactly why I find this next tip to be an invaluable asset to my daily production.

When working with brushes and the brush palette I find myself going back and forth opening and closing the palette, and changing brush sizes frequently. There are a couple of shortcuts I use to reduce mouse travel and clicks when designing.

1. Change your brush size

You can change your brush size by clicking the “[" and "]” keys on the keyboard. “[" will decrease your brush and "]” will increase it. The amount of change depends on the size of the original brush chosen. For example, if you start with a brush size of 50, the amount of change will be 10 when using these keyboard shortcuts. A larger size brush might change by 25 or 50.

2. Change to a different brush

When changing to a different brush instead of clicking to open the brush palette, or moving the mouse to it if it’s already open, you can simply ctrl+click anywhere on your canvas to open the brush palette. You can also adjust the size and hardness from this window. To close the window, choose your new brush and press “Enter” on the keyboard, or simply start painting on the canvas and the window will disappear.

These are just a couple of quick and easy tips to add to your workflow to help save time and reduce clicks. If you know of more shortcuts or have a different method of editing your brushes as you work, share them using the comment fields below.

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Nathan Brown

Nathan Brown is a graphic designer who loves working with various media. He combines traditional art styles with a little experimentation and digital flare. Nathan's works have contained everything from ink and paint to leaves and a box of dirt. Everything is fare game when it comes to his approach to art. Nathan lives in Austin, Texas where he has been working as a designer for 10 years.


(+add yours)
  1. “[" and "]” is extremely useful.

    By the way, is there any shortcut sheet or something like that which lists all (or at least the most common ones) shortcuts?

    • Sure… Adobe’s website list them all. There’s a lot, so you have to dig around a bit to determine what is most useful for you.

  2. Ralf

    I recently found out that if you hold ctrl+option+leftMouse and drag left/right you change your brush size, drag up/down to change the hardness. This is a new feature in CS5, as far as I know. (I’m on a german keyboard, so it might be a different shortcut in other countries).

  3. Chuck Spidell

    I found that if I right-click on the mouse, it opens the brushes panel. Great tips, thanks.

  4. Can we do that with any other technique also ?

  5. Great tips , thanks Nathan Brown for sharing post.

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