Photoshop Brush Tool Fixed in Latest Update

Photoshop’s Brush Tool Fixed in Latest Update

This tutorial covers the new Brush Tip Outline option in the latest Photoshop update that finally fixes Photoshop's Brush Tool so the cursor no longer gets lost as you paint!

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Written by Steve Patterson.

If you have a tough time seeing Photoshop's brush cursor, especially in front of busy or noisy parts of your image, you’ll definitely want to update your copy of Photoshop to the latest version.

The December 2022 update, which brings Photoshop to version 24.1.0, adds a new option in the Preferences that lets you easily change the thickness of the brush cursor outline. Here’s how it works.

Which version of Photoshop do I need?

To follow along, you'll need Photoshop 2023.

You’ll also want to make sure that it’s updated to the latest version. At the time I’m writing this, the latest Photoshop version is 24.1.0, released in December 2022. Of course, higher versions will work as well.

You can check your Photoshop version by going up to the Help menu in the Menu Bar and choosing About Photoshop.

Going to the Help menu and choosing About Photoshop
Going to Help > About Photoshop.

The About screen should show 24.1.0 (or higher). Check out my tutorial on how to update Photoshop if needed.

The About Photoshop screen showing the latest version
The December 2022 update brings Photoshop to version 24.1.0.

Let's get started!

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The problem with Photoshop’s Brush Tool

Let’s quickly look at the problem with Photoshop’s Brush Tool. I’ll use this image from Adobe Stock.

The image open in Photoshop
The image open in Photoshop.

And I’ll grab the Brush Tool from the toolbar.

Selecting the Brush Tool in Photoshop
Selecting the Brush Tool.

If I move my brush cursor over a less detailed part of the image, like the dark gray area on the right, the cursor is fairly easy to see.

Photoshop's brush cursor is easy to see in front of simple backgrounds.
The brush cursor is easy to see in front of simple backgrounds.

But if I move the cursor over her hair, which is a much more detailed area with lots of different shades of gray, the cursor tends to get lost in the background. This has always been an issue with the Brush Tool, at least until now.

The brush cursor is much harder to see over more detailed areas.
The cursor is much harder to see over more detailed areas.

Related tutorial: Turn your brush into an eraser!

Where to find the new Brush Tip Outline option

But finally, the latest version of Photoshop (24.1.0) fixes the problem thanks to a new option in the Preferences called Brush Tip Outline which lets us change the thickness of the brush cursor.

To get to it, on a Windows PC, go up to the Edit menu. On a Mac, go up to the Photoshop menu.

Go to Edit (Windows) / Photoshop (Mac).
Go to Edit (Windows) / Photoshop (Mac).

From there, choose Preferences and then Cursors.

Opening the Cursors Preferences in Photoshop
Go to Preferences > Cursors.

The new brush cursor outline sizes

Here we find the new Brush Tip Outline option. I have it currently set to Thin, which seems to be the size the brush cursor was using in previous Photoshop versions.

The new Brush Tip Outline option in Photoshop
The new Brush Tip Outline option.

But along with Thin, you can also choose Normal, Bold or Extra Bold. The default size is Bold. So even if you were not aware of this new option, you would probably notice that your brush cursor is now easier to see.

The four brush cursor outline sizes in Photoshop
The four brush cursor outline sizes.

Another helpful Brush Tool option

Unfortunately, you can’t preview the new cursor thickness until you close the Preferences dialog box. But while we’re here, I just want to quickly mention another option that I find helpful.

Show Crosshair in Brush Tip, which is not a new option, adds a small crosshair in the center of your brush cursor. This helps you see exactly where you’re painting. I recommend turning it on if you haven’t already.

Show Crosshair in Brush Tip is an old but useful option.
Show Crosshair in Brush Tip is an old but useful option.

Related tutorial: More Brush Tool Tips and Tricks

Choosing a new brush cursor thickness

Getting back to the new option, Brush Tip Outline, I’ll set the thickness to Extra Bold.

Setting the brush cursor thickness to Extra Bold.
Setting the brush cursor to Extra Bold.

Then I’ll click OK to close the Preferences dialog box.

Closing the Photoshop Preferences dialog box.
Closing the Preferences dialog box.

And now if I move my brush cursor over any part of the image, including her hair, the brush cursor remains easy to see thanks to my new new Brush Tip Outline setting.

Photoshop's Brush Tool cursor no longer gets lost in the background.
The Brush Tool cursor no longer gets lost in the background.

And there we have it! That’s a minor but welcome improvement in the latest update to Photoshop.

Related tutorials:

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