How to Use the Airbrush Tool in Adobe Photoshop 7.0

Written by darrin koltow
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How to Use the Airbrush Tool in Adobe Photoshop 7.0
The "Flow" control of Photoshop 7.0's "Airbrush" tool controls paint application rate. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

The "Airbrush" tool of Photoshop 7.0 lets you simulate painting with an airbrush or a spray paint can. Digital artists use this tool to depict subjects with subtle colour gradations in original works, and also to give a porcelain-like texture to the skin of models in photos. Using Photoshop 7.0's "Airbrush" tool involves running the tool palette's "Paintbrush" tool, then choosing the "Airbrush" option with the controls above the drawing canvas. Through these controls, Photoshop lets you adjust the shape, size and other aspects of the "Airbrush" that impact how it applies paint to the canvas.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Click the "File" menu, then click the "Open" command. Navigate to and double-click a file you'd like to apply the "Airbrush" tool on. For example, if you'd like to use the "Airbrush" tool to create a smooth look to a portrait's facial features, double-click a digital photo with a face.

  2. 2

    Click the brush icon from the tool palette to run the "Paintbrush" tool. Photoshop will display a set of controls related to this tool above the upper-left corner of the drawing canvas. One of those controls is the "Airbrush" control.

  3. 3

    Click the icon shaped like an airbrush from the control area mentioned in the previous step. This will turn the paintbrush into an airbrush. Unlike the plain paintbrush tool, the "Airbrush" tool will continue to apply paint to the canvas as you hold down the left mouse button. This behaviour simulates the behaviour of a real airbrush or spray paint can.

  4. 4

    Click the second control from the left of the control area. Photoshop will display a palette of brushes and controls for changing how the brush applies paint. Click a brush you'd like to use.

  5. 5

    Drag the "Size" slider to the right to increase the size of the brush. Drag the "Hardness" slider to the right if you want to give the brush's perimeter a hard edge. For the portrait example mentioned earlier, choose a low "Hardness" setting.

  6. 6

    Click the colour swatch at the bottom of the tool palette, then click a colour from the palette that appears. For the portrait example, click a flesh colour from the palette. Click "OK" to finalise your colour selection.

  7. 7

    Click the "Layers" window's "New layer" command to add a new layer atop the image you loaded in the first step. Painting on a new layer lets you preserve the original image, and makes your painting or drawing invisible when you need to see the original image.

  8. 8

    Click on the canvas, then drag to paint with the "Airbrush" tool. For the portrait example, drag over the face to apply step 6's flesh colour to it.

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