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Feathered Brush

Feathering aka hardness

A feathered brush produces an edge that goes from solid "paint" out to less .

Feathering is measured as a percentage.

The hardness of a brush is the percentage of feathering.

A brush with a hardness of 0% has the most feathering.

A brush with a hardness of 100% has no feathering.

Change the Hardness

You can change the hardness in options bar/Tool Options.

Hardness can also be changed by increments of 25% on the keyboard.

Shift + [ = Decrease by 25%

Shift + ] = Increase by 25%

The advantage of the latter method is that you can see the brush cursor change as to press Ctrl + [ or ].

However, you have to make a change in Preferences, which will be described below.

Here is a 50 px brush at different hardness percentages.

q q q q q
100% 75% 50% 25% 0%

Here are brush strokes of the 50 px brush at different hardness percentages.

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100%

q

75%

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50%

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25%

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0%

Enable the Brush Cursor Circle

To Show the Hardness Percentage

When you press Shift + [ or ], you can't see the hardness change.

However, if you change a setting in Preferences, you can.

The circle of the brush cursor becomes more-and-more mottled as the hardness goes from 100%, none, to 0%, maximum feathering.

Below, the brush cursor shows the mottling due to the hardness of 0%, maximum feathering.

Change the Cursor Size

By default, the size of the brush cursor is 50% of the size of the brush.

Change the cursor size to 100%.

Then, you'll be able to see the mottled edge when the brush is feathered.

Do the following.

1) Go to Edit > Preferences (Windows) or Photoshop Elements > Preferences (Mac).

2) Click, on the left side, Display & Cursors.

3) In the Painting Cursors section, select Full Size Brush Tip.

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Summary

As you press Shift + [ or ], to change the hardness, the brush cursor will be:

• Solid if the edge of the brush doesn't have any feathering.

• More mottled, as the feathering goes from 100%, none, to 0%, maximum feathering.