How to Choose a Brush-Tip Shape in Photoshop CS6

By Barbara Obermeier

When working in Photoshop CS6, you can select Brush Tip Shape on the left side of the Brush panel, a scrolling box then shows the available brush tips.


The twelve brush parameters you can choose to apply and edit display in the left column. You can select any of these options to apply them to the currently selected brush. Click the option name to edit its characteristics. You must select the parameter name to access the options. Toggling the parameter on by checking the check box doesn’t work. Here are the Brush Tip Shape characteristics:

  • Shape Dynamics: Controls the amount of jitter (randomness or variation) produced when you draw a stroke, the minimum diameter, tilt, angle and roundness jitter, minimum roundness, and other options. The higher the value, the greater the variance for each option.

    If you want your stroke to gradually fade out over the length of the stroke, select the Size Jitter option and then choose Fade from the Control pop-up and select your pixel value. The lower the value, the quicker the fade.

    Some of these options apply only when you’re using a pressure-sensitive digital tablet. Check your digital tablet’s instruction manual for more information on how to customize brushes for your tablet.

    The Flip X and Flip Y jitter option flips the brush shape across the horizontal axis (X) or the vertical axis (Y). For example, if your brush is an L shape and you select Flip X, your brush shape becomes a backward L. Check Flip Y to make your brush shape an upside down L shape. Check both to make your brush shape an upside-down, backward L shape.

  • Brush Projection: When using a tilt-sensitive stylus with your pressure-sensitive tablet, the brush tip can be distorted to match the angle of your stylus as it is being tilted against your tablet. This feature can help make your brush strokes appear to come forward or backward.

  • Scattering: Controls the number and position of brush marks in a stroke. The higher the value, the higher the number of brush marks and the farther apart they are. When you select Both Axes, Photoshop distributes the brush marks radially, as if on a curve. Count controls the number of brush marks at each spacing point. The higher the value, the greater the number of marks.

  • Texture: Allows you to impart a texture pattern (using the foreground color) to a brush stroke; a Photoshop preset texture or one of your designs. Select Invert to reverse the light and dark pixels in the pattern. Scale sizes the pattern in each stroke. Use the new Brightness and Contrast controls to fine-tune your tonal range. Texture Each Tip renders each tip when it’s stroked, giving a more saturated effect. Depth controls how prominent the pattern appears against the brush stroke. Minimum Depth specifies the minimum depth that the paint of each stroke shows through the pattern. Mode lets you choose one of Photoshop’s blending modes.

  • Dual Brush: You can use two tips to draw with a single brush. This option lets you select the characteristics of the second tip by using the same type of attributes — such as diameter, spacing, and scatter — that you applied to the first tip. You can also specify a blending mode between the two tips.