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Here, we're going to take a look at how we can modify some of the characteristics of our different Brush tools on the fly. We'll also take a look at a preference which will help us modify what we can actually change when it comes to modifying our brush. We can use these techniques with these different tools that you'll see here in this area of the Tools panel, whether we're working with the Healing brush, the Brush tool itself, the Clone Stamp tool, Eraser, the Burn and Dodge tools, et cetera. Let's go ahead and start off with the Brush tool. When you click on the Brush tool, you'll notice that you have different options up here in the Options Bar.
We can change some of the brush characteristics by clicking on this icon here. Here, I could decrease the brush size. I could also change the overall brush hardness to make the brush have a harder edge or a softer edge. Once I've selected those options, you can go ahead and just click out of that dialog and then hover over your image. Well, here is my brush. Well, let's say that what I want to do is I want to paint in something in my photograph. Well, if I do that, I can just simply click, and there you can see what I've done. You can also click and drag to add more. Well, if this isn't correct, if I need to change this, what you can do is press the shortcut key to access what's called a Heads-Up Display, or Heads-Up Controls for this Brush tool.
To do that on a Mac, press Ctrl+Option and then click, on Windows, you'll press Alt and then you'll right-drag your mouse. Here, if we click and drag to the left and right, you can see I can increase or decrease my brush size. Click and drag up and down, and here you can see I can change the hardness or the softness of the edge. This little visual aid here is showing me that now my brush has a really hard edge. If I want to make the brush smaller, I can go ahead and bring that down, and in this case, I'll just paint another line. You can really see the difference between these two lines.
Well, as you can see, what we can access here by way of the shortcut is our Size or Hardness or Softness. Yet you'll notice there's another characteristic here. It's listed right here. It's Opacity. Currently, my Brush opacity is 100%. Well, you can change that Brush Opacity by navigating to the Options Bar. Here, I could go ahead and decrease that. And now by doing that--if we open up this here--you can see my opacity is 29%. So, if I go ahead and let's say paint another line--I'll do that right here-- you can see that this one is much more faint. All right! Well, how else can we change our brush characteristics? Well, if you navigate to your Preferences dialog and go to the General Tab, you'll notice that there is an option for varying the round brush hardness based on your Heads-Up Display vertical movement.
In other words, you can change the way that you can access these controls or what you can access. Let's turn this option off. Here, we'll go ahead and click OK in order to apply that. Well, now with this Brush tool, we'll press our shortcut, that's Ctrl+Option-click on a Mac, and that's Alt+Right-drag on Windows. Well, now left or right, it changes my overall brush size just as before. But this time, when I drag up or down, you can see I can control the opacity. So in this way, by changing our Preference, this vertical up and down movement-- rather than changing hardness or softness--well, now it controls the opacity.
And you can see that opacity amount changing there. Well, what exactly do you want to use when it comes to these different preferences? Well, this is where it's really up to you. What I recommend you start off doing is going back to your Preferences and just leaving this particular preference turned on. That's the default setting. This will allow you to change, now, the brush size or the hardness or softness by way of the shortcut that we've been talking about. Then later if you want to customize this and change it, well, just go ahead and come back here and turn that option off.
If you prefer to have that vertical movement modify the opacity, rather than the hardness or softness of your brush.
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