What is the Difference Between Opacity and Flow in Photoshop?

Adobe Photoshop

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.

In Photoshop, the Opacity setting controls the opacity of the paint – are you painting with an opaque metallic paint or a transparent varnish. The Flow setting controls the speed at which paint is laid down – are you pressing the nozzle of the can of spray paint just a little or all the way down?

Adobe Photoshop

Posted on 06-11-2014


  • By Alastair Knox - 6:50 AM on June 11, 2014  

    I have used tutorials of a certain Photoshop lecturer and he always used ‘flow’ but never explained why. Thank you for this – enormously helpful and clear.

  • By Trevor Dennis - 2:39 PM on June 11, 2014  

    I’d love a clear definition of the difference when applied to layers rather than brushes. I know that I can use flow to reduce the layer contents while leaving any layer styles intact. I am just not sure why it works that way.