When we think about the painting tools in Photoshop, the main ones that spring to mind are the Brush, Pencil and Eraser, but there are actually 22 tools in this set. In the illustration below you can see all of the Photoshop painting tools.
Almost all of these tools work as a “brush”, which means that you can choose their size, tip, opacity and blending modes. The following tips and shortcuts will work for most of these tools and they remove the need to use the tool options bar, speeding up your workflow.
1. You can quickly change the opacity of a painting tool by pressing one of the number keys. Hit 1 for 10%, 2 for 20% and so on. Hit 0 for 100% opacity. If you want an opacity of something like 65% then quickly hit the numbers 6 and 5.
Note that you must have a painting tool selected for these shortcuts to work, otherwise the opacity on the currently selected Layer will change.
2. After painting with a tool, you can fade the effect by choosing Edit > Fade (toolname). This also works for strokes, fills, filters and adjustments.
3. To cycle through a painting tool’s blending modes without needing to click on the tool options bar, hold down the Shift key and hit + or – to move through the blending modes. Again, you must have a painting tool selected for these shortcuts to work, otherwise the opacity on the currently selected Layer will change.
4. Hold down the Shift key to constrain the painting tools to a straight line.
5. To draw a straight line between two points with a painting tool, click once to start a line, hold down the Shift key and click again to set the end point.
6. To Display the painting tools as crosshairs, hit Caps Lock on the keyboard. Hit Caps Lock again to go back to the brush tip outline.
7. Press [ to decrease the size of the brush. Press ] to increase the size of the brush.
8. Hold down Shift and press [ or ] to decrease or increase the brush hardness in 25% increments.
9. Hit < on the keyboard to jump to the next brush in the list or hit > to go to the previous brush on the list. Holding down Shift in conjunction with these keys will go to the first or last brush in the list.
10. When using the Pencil, Paintbrush, Colour Replacement, Gradient or Paint Bucket tools, holding down the Alt (Win) / Option (Mac) will switch to the eyedropper tool, allowing you to quickly sample a colour.