Shortcuts to Better Brushwork Video Tutorial

with 19 Comments

Shortcuts to Better Brushwork
by Linda Sattgast

Many Photoshop Elements tools use brushes, so knowing a few brush shortcuts will greatly enhance your ability to work with those tools.

Video Topics Include:

  • Brush color shortcuts—featuring a how-to for brushing away gray hair! Check out the before and after below.

Before & After

  • Brush size shortcuts
  • Brush hardness shortcuts
  • Opacity shortcuts—featuring a custom photo vignette
  • Brush lines—featuring dotted line word art

These brush shortcuts will make your brushwork so much faster and easier! Watch the video tutorial—available for both Photoshop Elements and Adobe Photoshop:



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Linda SattgastAuthor: Linda Sattgast | Contact Us
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19 Responses

  1. Maggie Adair
    | Reply

    This was really really good. Thanks so much. Now to remember it all when I’m working with brushes 😀

    • Linda Sattgast
      | Reply

      That’s always the trick! Lol! The more you use it, the more it becomes second nature.

  2. Bonnie Brannon
    | Reply

    Thank you so very much, Linda (and Jen:) – as usual the clarity and completeness of your instruction is the Best the BEST on or off the web.

  3. Su Hall
    | Reply

    Hey, there! I did not know about the ‘Shift’>’Right or Left Bracket’! That is so cool!
    There is another way to change the size and the hardness on the fly. While holding down the Alt key, Right-click and hold, then move the mouse up and down. This changes the hardness. If you move the mouse back and forth, left makes it smaller, right makes it larger.
    In order for this to work, you have to go into Preferences>General, then, “Vary Round Brush Hardness Based on HUD Vertical Movement”.
    It is near the bottom. Just make sure it is checked.
    I love using this method as it is so quick and only requires the pressing of one key. The rest is dragging!
    Thank you for a great video!

  4. Jeffri
    | Reply

    Awesome! Thank you for sharing this information. I knew some of the shortcuts and learned some new ones. Thank you!

  5. Linda Sattgast
    | Reply

    I created a PDF and put it on the video page for each version. The PDF has all the instructions that are below the video. A link at the top of the PDF will take you directly to the video page on our website, if you want to review the video.

    Also, we have a new web page that lists our free videos for easy access:
    Photoshop Elements:
    Adobe Photoshop:

  6. Dede Wurl
    | Reply

    Great Video!!
    Is there a way to save the video tutorial (as in download?)

    Thank you!

  7. Doris
    | Reply

    Great tips! This will come in handy. Way to go Mary! Looking good!

  8. Pixie
    | Reply

    What a comprehensive tutorial! I didn’t know about the color feature – I can see that will be handy to know.

  9. Diane
    | Reply

    Thanks for another terrific video tutorial! There are many other ‘free’ ones that I would like to save for future reference, and wanted to know if that is possible (or a PDF version of same, if not the video). Thanks so much!

  10. Linda Sattgast
    | Reply

    By the way, that’s sweet Mary in Customer Service at Digital Scrapper in the picture above! She kindly consented to let me use her photo. 😀

  11. Liz
    | Reply

    in the brushing away grey segment, why do we change the mode from normal to color – what does that do??? Thanks!

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Liz. Great question. I’ve answered a similar one below, but I’ll copy it here for your reference.

      Adobe describes the Color Blend Mode as having the ability to ‘colorize’ things without effecting the lightness values. All that to say, color is added without altering the shadows and highlights of the layer you are blending with. Hope this helps. 😀

      • Liz
        | Reply

        Ah! Got it – so you retain tonal values and not get a flat, opaque color. I love the way all the tuts help fill in the gaps in my PS/PSE skill sets!!

  12. DorrieH.
    | Reply

    Linda, First Thank you for the shortcut reminders. My question is way did you change the color mode from normal to color when you changed her hair color? Wouldn’t leaving it at normal mode accomplish the same thing.

    • Jen White
      | Reply

      Hi Dorrie. Great question.

      Adobe describes the Color Blend Mode as having the ability to ‘colorize’ things without effecting the lightness values. All that to say, color is added without altering the shadows and highlights of the layer you are blending with. Hope this helps. 😀

      • DorrieH.
        | Reply

        Thank you Jen, I diffidently learned something here, and now I understand the difference.

        • Linda Sattgast
          | Reply

          Jen is right. If you don’t change the blend mode you simply cover up the hair with a flat color, taking away the texture of the hair.

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