Learn how to work with brushes and color in Adobe Photoshop.
1. Work with brushes
Use brush tools
What you learned: To use tools that have brush tips
- In the Tools panel, select the Brush tool.
- In the options bar, change the size and hardness of the brush. You can also select a different brush tip to change how the brush strokes look.
- An alternative way to increase brush size is to press the right bracket key several times.
- To decrease brush size, press the left bracket key several times.
2. Use foreground and background colors
Store colors in the Foreground and Background color boxes
What you learned
- The Brush tool, the Shape tools, the Type tool, and other features that apply color use the color in the Foreground Color box at the bottom of the Tools panel.
- There are multiple ways to set the foreground color. You can select the Eyedropper tool and sample a color from the image, or use the Color Picker, Color panel, or Swatches panel.
- Behind the Foreground Color box is a Background Color box, where you can store another color.
- To switch the Foreground and Background color boxes to quickly access either color, click the double-pointed arrow just above the two color boxes or press the X key.
3. Choose a color
Choose colors using the Color Picker, the Color panel, or the Swatches panel.
What you learned: To use the Color Picker
1. Click the Foreground Color box at the bottom of the Tools panel to open the Color Picker.
Option A: In the Color Picker, drag the vertical slider to choose a hue (color). Then click a spot in the large color box to choose the brightness and saturation of that color.
Option B: Enter exact color values into the HSB, RGB, CMYK, or Hexadecimal color fields.
Option C: With the Color Picker open, move your mouse over to your open image. Your cursor will turn into an eyedropper. Click anywhere on the image to sample the color under your cursor.
2. Click OK to close the Color Picker. The color you chose appears in the Foreground Color box at the bottom of the Tools panel, ready for use.
To use the Color panel
If you don’t see the Color panel on your screen, go to the menu bar and choose Window > Color.
- The Color panel acts like a mini Color Picker, in which you can choose a color hue from the slider, and then adjust brightness and saturation in the color box. The color you choose appears in the Foreground Color box in the Tools panel.
- The Color panel doesn’t offer as many options as the Color Picker, but the advantage of this panel is that you can leave it open on your screen for quick access.
To pick a color from preset color swatches in the Swatches panel
1. If you don’t see the Swatches panel on your screen, go to the menu bar and choose Window > Swatches.
2. Click on a swatch (colored square) in the Swatches panel to change the foreground color to the selected swatch color.
Add text and shapes
When you add text and shapes in Adobe Photoshop, they remain editable, and you can customize them down to the smallest detail.
1. Add text
Add text to an image.
What you learned: To add text
- In the Tools panel, select the Horizontal Type tool.
- In the options bar, choose a font, font size, color, and other options for your text. You can edit any of these settings later.
- Click on the canvas and enter a single line of text. You can also create a paragraph of text by dragging out a text box and then typing inside the box.
- Click the check mark in the options bar to accept the text and exit text mode.
This automatically creates a new, editable type layer in the Layerspanel.
- Use the Move tool to move your text into position in the image.
- Save your image in the Photoshop (PSD) format to retain the editable type layers for future editing.
2. Edit text
Make changes to text in an image.
What you learned: To edit text
- To edit text on a type layer, select the type layer in the Layerspanel and select the Horizontal or Vertical Type tool in the Toolspanel. Make a change to any of the settings in the options bar, such as font or text color.
- When you’re finished editing, click the check mark in the options bar.
3. Create a graphic shape
Add a shape to an image.
What you learned: To create a shape
- In the Tools panel, click and hold the Rectangle tool (or whichever Shape tool is showing in your Tools panel at the moment) to view all the shape tools. Select a tool for the shape you want to draw.
- In the options bar, choose a Fill color and other options for your shape. These can be changed later.
- Hold the Shift key to avoid distorting the shape as you drag in an image to create an editable shape. This automatically creates a new shape layer in the Layers panel.
- Use the Move tool to move the shape into position in the image.
- Scale, transform, or rotate a shape without harming its image quality by choosing Edit > Free Transform or pressing Control+T (Windows) or Command+T (macOS).
- To change the color of a shape, go to the Layers panel, find the shape layer you want to change, and double-click the thumbnail on that layer to open the Color Picker. As you click colors in the Color Picker, you’ll see a live preview of the selected color on the shape. When you find a color you like, click OK to apply the new color to the shape.
4. Add a built-in custom shape
Add a custom shape to an image.
What you learned: To add a custom shape
- In the Tools panel, click and hold the Rectangle tool (or whichever Shape tool is showing in your Tools panel) and select the Custom Shape tool.
- In the options bar, click the down-facing arrow to the right of the Shape picker. To view all the custom shapes that come with Photoshop, click the gear icon on the right of the Shape picker, choose All from the menu, and click OK in the message that appears. Then click the bottom right corner of the Shape picker and drag it out so you can see all the shapes.