How to Use the Paint Bucket Tool in Photoshop CS6 to Fill a Selection

In Photoshop CS6, the Paint Bucket tool, available in the Tools panel (where it shares a flyout menu with the Gradient tool), operates much like a combination of the Brush tool and the Magic Wand tool, as you can see by looking over its options.

To use it, select the tool (press Shift+G until it’s active) and click inside the selection you want to fill. Here are your options, all of which are on the Options bar:

  • Fill: You can select whether to fill with the foreground color or a pattern.

  • Pattern: When you select Pattern on the Options bar, you can select a preset pattern, load patterns from your pattern libraries, or create a pattern of your own.

  • Mode: You can select a fill blend mode, too, although you’ll be better served to set your blend mode via your Layers panel due to better editing flexibility.

  • Opacity: Adjust this value to make your fill semitransparent.

  • Tolerance: Like the Magic Wand tool, you can choose a Tolerance level (0 to 255) that specifies how similar in color a pixel must be before it’s selected for painting.

  • Anti-Alias: Choose this option to blend in the paint smoothly with the areas not filled.

  • Contiguous: When selected, the paint fills only pixels that are touching within your selection. When deselected, paint fills all pixels within the Tolerance level that you specify within your selection.

  • All Layers: This option applies paint based on the colors in all layers that are within the selection and Tolerance level you specify.

As with other tools that fill, you can prevent the Paint Bucket tool from filling the transparent pixels. Just select the Transparency icon in the Lock area of the Layers panel.

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