27 comments on “Photoshop Tip – Changing brush sizes (Updated for CS5)

  1. I think your tips useful, even if i was searching for something else. Perhaps you could help me, as im rather new to photoshop, and dont know if its possible to change the settings, so i can use the mouse wheel to zoom in and out, somehow. Im used to using it that way in photopaint, and it has been very useful to “travel” across the picture. I havent found how yet, and its driving me a bit mad, he.


  2. Hi Arturo welcome to the blog and thanks for your comments πŸ™‚

    You can setup Photoshop to use the mouse wheel to zoom by going to the General page in Preferences (select Edit -> Preferences -> General from the menu bar) and tick ‘Zoom with Scroll Wheel’.

    You will also find that if you hold down the ‘Alt’ key (or ‘Option’ for Macs) then the mouse wheel will zoom.

    Another tip relating to zooming with the mouse wheel is to hold down the shift key to force the zoom to jump to preset zoom percentages such as 25%, 33%, 50%, 66%, 100% and so on.

    Hope that helps 😎


  3. Another zoom related option I use a lot is ‘Zoom Clicked Point to Center’ (also on the Edit -> Preferences -> General page) which will cause the window to be zoomed into wherever your mouse is hovering over an image instead of remaining centered on the screen.


  4. Thanks for That! After using Sketchbook Pro, Photoshop was so cumbersome. I knew there was someway to change brush sizes easier. Thanks for bringing it to light.


    • Hi Tiki, thanks for dropping by πŸ™‚

      Photoshop can be a bit of a beast but once you tame it there’s no end of possibilities.

      I’ve been meaning update this post with the changes in CS5. Simply put you no longer need to include the shift key to change the hardness of the brush just drag the mouse left and right or up and down whilst holding Alt + Right Mouse Button to resize the brush tip or adjust it’s hardness.

      CS5 Controls:
      Alt + Right Mouse Button + Drag Mouse left or Right – Adjust Brush Size
      Alt + Right Mouse Button + Drag Mouse Up or Down – Adjust Brush Hardness

      P.S. I had a look at your web site Tiki and I love your cartoon drawings 😎


  5. Pingback: Post Updated for CS5: Photoshop Tip – Changing brush sizes « Dave Catley – MADCAT Photography

  6. Pingback: Customise Your Photoshop Workspace « Dave Catley – MADCAT Photography

  7. Great info, however for those of us using the roller ball mouse anything with the mouse wheel is out. Sorry to say I am not willing to give up my roller ball mouse, it is so much easier on the wrist, there is no movement of the mouse itself, just the ball, great for tight spots with little/no room for a traditional mouse.


    • Thanks Joe.

      I know what you mean, I used to use trackballs from Logitech and Microsoft and loved them but I converted over to a mouse and haven’t looked back.

      Not sure I could survive without a mouse wheel now though, it’s amazing what you get used to πŸ™‚


  8. Hi Dave,
    I have read now a couple of times that ALT+RightMouse+MoveTheMouse will change the brush settings (Mac PS CS5). All it does with me is bringing up the brush-settings-menu in the middle of the screen.
    Do i have to allow this functionality somewhere in the settings?
    A hint for this would be highly appriciated.
    Thank you


    • Hi Norbert, I’ve not tried this on my Mac as my version of Photoshop is for the PC but I believe you need to hold option + ctrl then just drag the mouse to resize the brush. Alt + Right Mouse button will only work on the PC.

      Similarly to change the brush softness on a Mac hold down command + option and drag the mouse.

      Hope that helps πŸ™‚


  9. THANKS for the shortcut to CS5 … Much much appreciated! Been wondering why it wasn’t the same as LR, as it it super intuitive and logical.

    May get into the script thing later πŸ™‚



  10. I’ve been using Photoshop CS2 for some time now, really feel like getting the newer CS4. Reading the posts makes me even more keen to upgrade. I’m a kind of a noob when it comes to learning a new program. Is there a major difference between the 2 programs, or can I easily start using CS4 as I’ve used CS2 before?


    • Hi Erica, it’s been a long time since I used Photoshop CS2 but I think it’s fair to say that the Photoshop interface hasn’t changed drastically but you will definitely notice a few nice changes.

      If you’re a bit nervous then why not just download the 1 month free trial from Adobe for the latest version (5.5) and see what you think.


  11. Awesome stuff! Didn’t know about the alt-right click- drag. Seems that dragging up-down modifies hardness, which I also use a lot. My workflow is faster now. πŸ˜€ Thanks a bunch!


  12. There is a way how to change brush size with mouse wheel rotating.
    With help of small program X- Mouse Button Control. Its a freeware and enables to remap mouse wheel and buttons function for specific program. You will find and check Photoshop among programs and than set Wheel up and down as “Simulated keys” option while for wheel up write ] and for wheel down [.
    Then I set in Photoshop itself in Edit – Keybordshortcuts – View Zoom in and Zoom out as Ctrl + [ and Ctrl + ].
    After this procedure brush size is changed by mouse wheel rotation and changing zoom of image is performed with Ctrl + mouse wheel rotation.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s