by Julieanne Kost

 Comments (9)


July 19, 2012

Update! Click here (20 Brush and Painting Tool Shortcuts in Photoshop CC) to see twenty of my favorite tips related to brushes and painting in Photoshop CC in a single post.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s shortcut, you can vary the Brush Size and Hardness with the following shortcuts:

• With a painting tool selected, Control + Option (Mac) – drag left/right in order to decrease/ increase brush size. Control + Option (Mac) – drag up/down to decrease/ increase brush hardness.

• On Windows, Control + Alt +   Right Mouse -drag left right to decrease/ increase brush size and up/down decrease/ increase brush hardness.

If however, you would prefer to change the Brush Opacity (instead of the Brush Hardness), based on the vertical drag movement, select Preferences > General and uncheck “Vary Round Brush Hardness based on HUD vertical movement”. By disabling this preference, Photoshop enables a change in Opacity when dragging up/down.

Of course you can also use the number keys on the keyboard to change the opacity of a painting tool. Tapping one number assigns the percentage of the hit number (1 = 10%, 2= 20% etc. and 0 = 100%). Tapping two numbers quickly will give you that exact amount (5 + 4 = 54%). Tapping 00 (zero-zero) in Photoshop CS6 will decrease the opacity to 0. Note: If you have a tool selected that is not a painting tool, these shortcuts will affect the Opacity on the Layers panel.


  • By micahel guimont - 9:44 AM on August 5, 2012  

    Thank you a lot for this helping post!
    But it seems it just won’t work on my cpu, photoshop still changes the opacity and it’s pretty anoying :s
    Do you know an other way on how to disable this? thank you

    • By Julieanne Kost - 10:00 AM on August 6, 2012  

      If the preference is checked, then I don’t know why the brush hardness wouldn’t be the variable that changes when using the shortcut. I would post the issue to either of these forums to see if other customers are experiencing the same problem and if so, if they have found a solution.


    • By Kathy - 7:37 AM on July 31, 2013  


      Did you ever figure out how to change your brush opacity to 100% on your CS6?

      No matter what I do, it keeps reducing the opacity and I have it set at 100%. Can’t figure out how to use the brush tool and get it to keep the color at 100% with hard edges. It reduces the opacity and gives me soft edges no matter what I do.

      Any help is appreciated.

      Thanks you so much!

  • By Joseph Farrugia - 12:44 PM on September 18, 2012  

    On my 2011 macbook pro running OS X 10.6.8, this shortcut no longer works in CS6, though it worked in CS5.

    Holding down Ctrl+Opt while dragging now only moves the image window; I wonder if there is a setting or other that is interfering. I even tried disabling & re-enabling the HUD preference, but to no avail.

    Thanks for your time if you wish to share any info.

    • By Pete Green - 2:34 PM on September 18, 2012  

      It works on my CS6 running 10.7.4 — Yours shouldn’t be any different.
      Just to be sure on the mac, you’ll want to use CTRL + OPT + Left click and drag either up and down or left and right depending on which setting you want to adjust.
      Make sure you have a brush tool of some kind selected.

      If that doesn’t work for you, try a reboot with only Photoshop open to see if there may be another open app causing the shortcut to fail.
      Otherwise you could also try restoring your prefs:

      • By Joseph Farrugia - 4:18 AM on October 21, 2012  

        I can confirm once again, that on my MBP with practically all apps disabled (including bettertouchtool), this shortcut is no longer working on any MBP I tried that was using OS X SL (10.6.8). The number of MBP, hackintoshes & iMacs running Snow Leopard I have tried it on is 23 so far; maybe the sample is a bit low for statistical significance, but it surely is telling.

        Thanks anyway Pete (the link you shared doesn’t work, & yes: I’ve ried restoring my prefs several times).

        Doesn’t work witha USB mouse, or the Magic Mouse, or a Wacom graphire tablet.

        Oh, before somebody even thinks of suggesting I or my colleagues should downgrade to Lion/ML: no way Jose’ 😀

        • By San - 10:13 PM on November 27, 2012  

          On my Mac running SL 10.6.8, with Photoshop CS6, it still works fine using either my Wacom tablet or my mouse. It seems to work exactly the same way as it did in Photoshop CS5, so long as I have a brush tool selected.

          Since keyboard shortcuts on the Mac are highly configurable — in Photoshop itself, and at the system level — is it possible that something else is capturing that key combination before Photoshop can? Or that it’s simply been redefined in the Photoshop preferences (Edit menu: Keyboard shortcuts)?

  • By Azadeh Bagheri - 5:40 AM on July 26, 2013  

    Thank You So Much ,
    You helped me to save my time 🙂

  • By Curtis Blanchette - 9:26 PM on September 4, 2013  

    I recently ran across the same issue. I use photoshop CS6 on Mtn Lion 10.8 with an Wacom intuos5. The resize feature is my go to most use tool and i set it to my first pen button.

    I Recently installed hyperDock, (to give me windows slick window snap feature) All in all it overwrites the move window hotkey.

    So if you have hyperdock. Just go to system prefs > hyperdock > window management > and uncheck “move windows when holding down …” etc.

    Hope this helps