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Photoshop has provided quite a few ways to change brush size in the past and the old methods still work. You use your right and left bracket keys in your keyboard. That's the best way to do it, I mean before CS5. So, let's go ahead and review that. So, left bracket or square bracket key makes the brush smaller. The right bracket key makes the brush larger, okay. If you want to make the brush softer or harder, you had to hold down an additional key. You would hold down the Shift key and then do a right bracket to make it harder and left bracket to make it softer. And then if you want to change opacity you would just type a number on your keyboard.
So, if I want it to be 80%, I just press 8 and if I want it to be 30%, I'd press 3 and so forth. To get it back to 100, you'd press 0. And then if you want to control it in even finer increments, single-digit increments, you just type two numbers quickly. So, if I wanted to say 56%, I'd type 56. And now my opacity is set to 56%. Now the new method of changing brush size, it's kind of a little bit more fun, a little bit more intuitive and easier to kind of visualize. You're going to hold down some modifier keys in Photoshop CS5 to do this. On the Mac and Windows, unfortunately they are different shortcuts.
So, on the Mac it would be Ctrl+Option, not to be confused with Command+Option. The Mac keyboard actually has one additional key. And on Windows, it would be Alt+Right-click. So, if you have a two button mouse, you would use the right button instead of the left button. So, Ctrl+Option or Alt+Right-click. Press the mouse button down, and you'll instantly see your brush displayed as this kind of red overlay. So, you instantly get a visualization of what that brush looks like. Now to change the size of the brush, you just drag the mouse cursor left and right.
If I drag it left, the brush gets smaller. If I drag it to the right, the brush gets larger, pretty cool. Now if you drag the mouse up or down, if you drag it up, the brush gets softer. If you drag it down, the brush gets harder. So, there's no more guesswork here. When you actually use this new technique, you get a very cool way to preview the actual size of your brush, interactively right on the screen there. And it gives you a much better idea of what's going to happen when you start painting. So, now if I go ahead and start clicking and dragging, you can see I'm getting a 56% Opacity brush.
That's very large and has a very soft edge. Let's go ahead and adjust that. Ctrl+ Option or Alt+Right-click to make the brush smaller and make it a little bit harder by dragging down and to the left. And now I have a much different brush quality just by clicking and dragging on my screen directly. So, it takes a while to get used to. You'll have to practice until it becomes second nature. But it's a really nice, fun way to actually interactively change the brush quality as you're painting. Especially as you're modifying layer masks. Right? If you're using a layer mask and painting with black or white or shades of gray to fine-tune your mask, you often have to change your brush size and brush edge quality and opacity to really mask out the particular details you're working on in that particular image.
So, there you have it! The fun new way of changing brush size and hardness and softness in Photoshop CS5.
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