For an avid Photoshop user, you know how important brush tool is. I myself as Digital painter, cannot survive a day without it.
However, if this is your first time on Photoshop and your brush tool isn’t working, it’s possible that you have overlooked few steps. For instance, you may have forgotten to rasterize the image before attempting to edit it.
If this message pops up, simply click okay and your image will get rasterized.
But, if this does not solve your issue, don’t worry. We have gathered all the possible troubleshooting methods to try if your brush tool is not working.
Why is Brush Tool Not Working in Photoshop?
- Caps Lock Button Turned ON: If the caps lock button is turned on, the usual circle cursor of the brush tool changes into a cross signed cursor. When this happens, the brush tool does not work.
- Background App Interfering with Photoshop: Using many background apps when you use Adobe Photoshop is a heavy work for your device. Since, photoshop itself is heavy, addition of many other apps will put a toll on the processor. This will create glitches and will also heat up your device.
- Unqualified GPU, RAM and Other Computer Components: The minimum requirements of Adobe Photoshop should be met in order to get its full performance potential. If your device does not meet the component qualifications, it will lag or sometimes it won’t open at all.
- Modified Brush Setting Without Your Knowledge: There are several brush settings that can be adjusted in Adobe Photoshop. But with some modified brush settings, the brush tool might stop working too. Sometimes, the brush tool will show rough strokes or pixelated strokes due to this.
- The layer is Locked: When the layer that you are trying to use is locked, it shows a padlock sign. See if there is a padlock sign from the layers. If yes, this is the reason why the brush tool is not working for you.
- Blending Mode: The blending mode also affects how the brush tool works. Check on what mode you have set your brush tool. You will see different kinds of brush strokes other than normal, which may look like the brush tool not working.
How to Fix Brush Tool Not Working in Photoshop?
Photoshop is a heavy app and needs a lot of attention from your processor. But it’s not always the RAM or GPU to blame. Sometimes, other internal issues can interfere with the working of photoshop.
Turn Off Caps Lock
Many users face this common issue where the brush tool cursor disappears. This happens when you accidentally press the caps lock button on your keyboard. Turn off the caps lock button by pressing it once again. The cross sign cursor should change into a circular cursor when the brush tool works.
Check if the Layer is Locked
We tend to lock certain layers for a managed workflow. This way, we won’t be overwhelmed by the number of layers on our workspace.
When a layer is locked, it cannot be moved, resized, erased, or even brushed.
Unfortunately, Photoshop does not warn us when we attempt to edit a locked layer.
Simply go to the layer section and check to see if you’ve accidentally selected that layer. You can unlock the layer by selecting lock button at the top.
Deselect Any Selection
While working on your project in Photoshop, you will be using many tools. Sometimes, the previously selected parts or tools are not deselected due to which the next part and tools will not get selected. You can easily deselect by :
- Open Adobe Photoshop.
- Click on Select at the menu bar.
- Click on Deselect.
Increase Opacity of Brush
If you are seeing smoky brush strokes when trying to use the brush tool, it is due to the opacity of the brush. The lesser the opacity, the smokier it looks. You can increase the opacity to fix this issue.
You can change the opacity level by selecting the brush tool and then pressing any number from 1 to 9 on your keyboard. Pressing 1 on your keyboard sets the opacity to 10%, 2 to 20%, 3 to 30%, and so on. Put the opacity higher so you can see the brush strokes.
Change Color of Brush
There are times when you choose and use colors and forget to change them in the next layer. And if the background color happens to be the same color as the brush then of course the brush is going to disappear. Try changing the brush and use it again to see if that worked. Here’s how you can change the brush color:
- Select the Brush tool.
- On the right sidebar, click on the top most color(foreground color)
- Select any color.
Check Flow of the Brush
The flow of the brush is a feature that is like a pencil used to make darker shades. If the flow is less, the intensity of the brush is also less.
You can increase the flow of the brush by first selecting the brush tool. Then on the upper menu bar, you will see options like flow and opacity. Click on flow and change it to your requirements.
Sometimes, the tool settings of Photoshop can be messed up. And if you don’t know how to make it right. You can simply reset your tools by following methods:
- Open Adobe Photoshop.
- Select the brush tool
- Right-click the brush icon at the top bar
- Click on Reset Tool.
You can also select Reset All Tool so that your messed-up setting will be back to default.
Restart Your Adobe Photoshop
This is one of the easiest steps you can take to try to fix a non responding brush tool. Usually, we close any program and run it again if it is not working. So, let’s try it out for Adobe Photoshop too. But make sure you save all your work before closing the program.
- Click the “X” button at the top right corner.
- Open the Adobe Photoshop program after a few seconds.
- Click the red button at the top left corner.
- Open Photoshop after a few seconds.
Or you can press the Alt + F4 key to close your program.
Restart Your Computer
If restarting Adobe Photoshop does not work, try to restart your device too. Restarting your device will fix any temporary bugs and issues on your system.
- Click on the Apple logo at the top left corner.
- Click on Restart.
- Press the Windows key
- Click on the power button
- Click on Restart.
Upgrade Adobe Photoshop
Before moving on to this step, make sure that you have Creative Clouds installed on your device. Because you need the creative cloud to make updates on Adobe apps.
Upgrading any kind of application is very important for smooth performance. When you keep upgrades paused or unnoticed, bugs and new features get stuck. So make sure to upgrade Adobe Photoshop by following the steps below.
- Open Adobe Photoshop
- Click on Help at the menu bar.
- Click on Updates.
Try Using Another App
If you are on all-focus mode and only using Photoshop, you should definitely try this solution. Try to open any other app on your device like Excel or Word or anything. Then select any tool or do something in it. Then go back to Photoshop and try using the brush tool. This is a proven way to solve brush tool issues from many users, so it is worth trying.