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Splash On Color with Elements' Paint Bucket Tool

The Paint Bucket tool in Photoshop Elements is a longtime occupant of the Tools panel. This tool, whose icon looks just like a bucket, behaves like a combination of the Fill command and the Magic Wand tool.

It makes a selection based on similarly colored pixels and then immediately fills that selection with color or a pattern. Like the Magic Wand tool, this tool is most successful when you have a limited number of colors, as shown in the figure.

The Paint Bucket tool makes a selection and fills it at the same time. [Credit: ©istockphoto.c
Credit: ©istockphoto.com/nicolesy Image #2695305
The Paint Bucket tool makes a selection and fills it at the same time.

To use the Paint Bucket tool, simply click inside the selection you want to fill. Before you click, however, specify your settings in the Tool options:

  • Color: Choose among paint, a fill of the foreground color, or a pattern.

  • Pattern: If you select Pattern, choose a preset pattern from the drop-down panel.

  • Opacity: Adjust the opacity to make your fill more or less transparent.

  • Tolerance: Choose a tolerance level that specifies how similar in color a pixel must be before it’s selected and then filled. The lower the value, the more similar the color must be.

  • Mode: Select a blending mode to change how your fill color interacts with the color below it.

  • Anti-aliasing: Choose this option to smooth the edges between the filled and unfilled areas.

  • Contiguous: If selected, this option selects and fills only pixels that are touching within your selection. If the option is deselected, pixels are selected and filled wherever they lie within your selection.

  • All Layers: This option selects and fills pixels within the selection in all layers that are within your tolerance level.

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