PHOTOSHOP: The Brush and Its Hardness Setting

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I would like to see the venerable Brush tool get some love. It is cumbersome to see and adjust Hardness: you must use a pulldown menu just to see the hardness, and a slider to adjust it. Why not put the hardness setting in the Options bar next to Opacity and Flow? Moreover, Opacity and Flow have keyboard shortcuts (number, and Shift-number respectively). When the Brush tool is selected, why not use number-Option/Alt to adjust the hardness? The key to the left of the "1" key can be for 0% Hardness. This would be a HUGE time saver.
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BARNEY STREIT

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Posted 4 years ago

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Chris Cox

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Because hardness is a property of the brush, not a property of the tool using a brush - so it does not belong on the tool options. Opacity and Flow are properties of the tool, not the brush - so they belong on the tool options bar.

And you can use the brush adjustment HUD to change the hardness on-the-fly.
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BARNEY STREIT

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Not sure I entirely understand you Chris, but THANK YOU for your quick response. I know of the Control-Option vertical drag to set hardness. Still, seeing the Flow (which is not used nearly as much as Hardness) and setting it using the scrubby slider in the Options Bar (or using the Shift-number keyboard shortcut) is way, way easier, faster, more intuitive and more elegant than seeing and setting Hardness - even though Flow is changed way less than Hardness - at least in my workflow. I still think you geniuses at Adobe can address this shortcoming of this most often used tool. Thanks for listening Chris!
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Chris Cox

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No, brush properties do not belong with the tool settings. Mixing the brush and tool properties is the reverse of intuitive. Also, some users change the flow and opacity pretty often.

OK, think about this: when painting a house, you have a brush and paint. The brush has properties: hardness, width. The paint has properties: color, opacity. But you can use that same brush to paint several houses in several different colors. So you would never assign the color and opacity properties to the brush, and wouldn't associate the brush properties with the paint.

In Photoshop, we also have brushes, and tools. The tool includes opacity, flow, blend mode, and other settings independent of the brush used (you can change brushes and still use the same tool settings). And the brush has many controls independent of the tools (the same brush can be used for many tools). So the brushes have properties that get edited with other brush properties and don't involve any tool settings. Likewise the tools have properties which get shown and edited separately from any brush settings.