It can be extremely frustrating when your brush tool suddenly stops working. You're not sure what went wrong or why you're suddenly not doing what you need to. In most cases, there are only a few possible reasons why the Brush tool has stopped working in Photoshop. Each situation is relatively simple to resolve and can be corrected in less than a minute. So, no matter what problem you are facing now, just know that it will be an easy fix and you will be up and running again soon.
One of the most common problems with the Brush tool is that the cursor suddenly disappears. This is not because your brush tool has stopped working, but because your cursor has changed. To make the brush cursor visible again, turn off Caps Lock and start using the Brush tool as before.
Now let's take a look at 8 different problems you may encounter withbrush tool in photoshopand how you can fix them.
8 common brush tool problems and how to fix them
1. Brush tool cursor disappeared
The first time this happened to me, I thought Photoshop was completely broken. Turns out the caps lock key was left on. When using the Brush tool (or any brush related tool) you will see a circular cursor to represent the brush. This makes it easy to know exactly how big your brush is and where you will be painting.
If you accidentally press the caps lock button, that brush cursor will disappear. Instead of a circular brush, you'll see something called a Precise Cursor. This slider is intended to help you be very specific about where the brush adjustment will take place. Instead of a giant circle, you get a small cross to constrain your brush strokes.
The problem here is that the precise cursor isn't all that useful in most situations. To fix this, make sure yourcaps lock is off, and you're back in the action!
2. Your Brush tool is not visible on a layer
Another issue with the brush tool that you'll encounter is that it won't paint on any layers. No matter what you try, nothing seems to work. Fortunately, the solution comes down to changing the blending mode of your brush tool.
With your brush tool active, look at the settings bar to see your brush tool's current blending mode. While different blending modes can be useful in specific situations, some will make your brush appear completely invisible. Make sure your coverthe blending mode is set to "Normal"to return your brush tool to its normal state.
Using a normal blending mode, you can paint solid colors on any layer orlayer maskNo problem
3. Brush tool properties panel and toolbar disappeared
When painting something with the Brush tool, you might accidentally press something on your keyboard and suddenly everything disappears. There is no more property panel, preset brushes or anything else you rely on when using this tool. If all your panels suddenly disappear,pressure at thecla tabto reveal all your panels again.
The tab key will toggle the visibility of all panels in your Photoshop workspace. This can be useful if you want to see your photo better but lose access to all the adjustment options. If you want a bigger workspace, try usingone of the full screen modesinstead of!
4. Your Photoshop brush paints the wrong color
The main reason your brush isn't painting with the correct color is that you aren't changing the foreground color. In Photoshop, there are foreground and background colors. Each of these colors is editable, but only the foreground color is used when painting orcreating gradients. This means that if you are changing the background color it will make no difference as only the foreground color will be used for the Brush tool.
For example, when choosing a brush color using the color palette, you can see foreground and background color options next to it. Currently when Ichange colors, ends up changing the background color (bottom). This is because I selected the background color.
When clicking on the foreground color, any color chosen from the color palette can now be used as the brush color.
If you don't use the color palette module and stick to the toolbar, be sure to click the top color (also known as the foreground color) to ensure the brush paints the correct colors.
5. Your Photoshop brush only paints white, black or gray
If you're using the Brush tool and the only colors selected are white, black, or gray, it's simply because you have alayer maskselected. Whenever you select a layer mask, Photoshop automatically reduces the brush tool options to stay in the world of layer masks. Since layer masks only use black, white, and gray, you're limited to those colors. Even if you selected a bright red color, Photoshop would change it to the closest shade of gray.
To fix this brush color issue, you will need to click on a layer thumbnail or an unmasked layer. As long as you don't see thewhiteboardsaround any layer mask to indicate it's selected, then you're good to go!
6. Your set brush preset option will not save your brushes
Photoshop has many great features. One is that you canmake your own brushes! The problem is that you might end up getting an error when selecting the "set brush preset" option. The reason for this mainly boils down to the size of your document.
The limit for brush presets is a document size of 2500×2500. If you're editing a photo and trying to create a brush preset from that document, it's probably too big. The result is an error message that prevents you from creating a new brush preset. Instead, create a new document with dimensions within the 2500×2500 limit. Create your custom brush and set your brush preset without worry!
7. You get an error message every time you try to paint on a layer
Some layers that you try to paint with the Brush tool won't work for one of two reasons. The layer is locked or is aInteligent object. Both will create an error message whenever you try to paint directly on an image layer.
If the layer is locked you will know by the lock icon next to it. To unlock it, just click on the lock icon to make it disappear. You will now be free to paint on that specific layer.
A smart object, on the other hand, is represented by a smart object icon that is displayed on the layer thumbnail.smart objectscannot be edited directly; therefore, you cannot paint a brushstroke on one. While you can create a new layer to paint on, you can alsorasterize smart objectto make it editable again. This isn't great if you're trying to editnon-destructively, but it will do the job. With smart objects, it's always better to just add your brushstrokes to a new layer.
8. You've tried everything and still don't know what to do
If you've tried everything and you're still having problems with the brush tool, you can reset the entire tool completely. This will remove any custom features you are using and reset them to their default settings.
To reset the brush tool, activate the brush tool by pressingBand click ondrop-down menunext to the brush icon in the settings bar.
Then click on the gear icon and select"Reset Tool".
This will return the brush tool to its default settings and should resolve any major issues it fails to resolve.
Using any of these 8 tips, you can find out how to fix almost any problem you face when using the brush tool in Photoshop. Like any tool in the program, there's usually a simple explanation why something isn't working as it should. As you continue to encounter new problems, you will eventually come up with a strategy for fixing different tools. While this post focuses on the Brush tool, these fixes also apply to other brush-related tools like the Eraser tool,clone bufferhealing tool or brush.