Photoshop has become very popular for its versatility and the wide range of creative possibilities it offers to digital artists, photographers and designers. Professionals use it to edit pictures, remove backgrounds, photo-bash and even draw. One feature that stands out especially to digital artists is pressure sensitivity. With this feature among many other, it is possible to produce realistic drawings using photoshop. Of course, you will have to get the settings right to achieve this.

In this article, you will learn how to turn on pressure sensitivity on photoshop and get the right settings. Before we turn the feature on, let's understand what pressure sensitivity is

What is pressure sensitivity?

Pressure sensitivity is a feature that allows your painting tool ( Photoshop ) to respond to the pressure applied to the stylus and the graphics tablet thus mimicking the feeling of using pen and paper. This feature in turn makes your strokes on the painting tool appear natural and precise.

With pressure sensitivity, you can use light touches to make faint strokes or thin strokes or both depending on the settings you choose for the brush. You can also push harder to achieve the opposite. This is only possible when you have a graphics tablet. You can get one for cheap on amazon. Here are my best recommendations.

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How to turn on pressure sensitivity in photoshop

Now that you have a graphics tablet and you know what pressure sensitivity is, let's see how to turn it on and use it.

  1. Start by opening your photoshop and creating an empty project.

  2. The next step is to select the brush tool from the panel on the left. You can also press B on your keyboard to choose the brush tool.

    Img 1.png

    With the brush tool selected, we need to access the brush settings so that we can add pressure sensitivity to the brush

  3. You can access the brush settings by clicking on the brush folder icon on the top left section of your photoshop. This icon will only be visible when the brush tool is selected. So if you don't see it, make sure you have the brush tool selected.

    Img 2.png

    You can also open the brush settings by pressing F5 on your keyboard. After opening the brush settings, a new window will pop-up with the brush settings.

    Img 3.png

  4. To enable pressure sensitivity, check the box next to shape dynamics then click on it to show its settings as shown below.

    Img 4.png

  5. On the right, you should see Size jitter, Angle jitter, and Roundness jitter with their controls set to off. Click on the control dropdown to reveal more options as shown below.

    Img 5.png

    Notice there is an option called Pen pressure. Select that for size jitter, then make some strokes on your graphic tablet to see the effect it has. You will notice that the strokes get wider when you press hard on the stylus and narrow when you press lightly.

    You can do the same for Angle jitter and Roundness jitter then test on your tablet with some strokes to see the effect they have on the brush.

    Img 6.png

  6. Apart from controlling the size, we can control the opacity and flow as well. You can find these options on the transfer settings. Click on Transfer then click on it to open more settings as shown below.

    Img 7.png

    Click on the control dropdown then choose pen pressure if you wish to control them using the stylus.

  7. You get the idea, there are many things you can control using the pen pressure sensitivity, I have only shown the size, opacity and flow control.

    There are other settings such as the scattering, Texture and color dynamics. They are all configured in the same manner so just play around with all the settings and test with a few strokes on you graphics tablet to see the effect they have.

That is how you turn on and use the pressure sensitivity feature on photoshop.

Note: You don't have to control all those settings at once, you choose the settings depending on the feel of the strokes you want.

Summing up

For digital artists, understanding the brush settings is very important, these settings will determine what the tip of your brush looks like and how the brush reacts to the pen pressure. With Pressure sensitivity, you can control the thickness, opacity, flow control, scattering, texture and many other settings. All you have to do is understand what all those settings do and you can make your perfect brush.

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Thank you for reading : )

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