Fill tools are used to fill a selected object, area or layer with color or colors. Photoshop has two Fill tools – Paint Bucket and the Gradient tool.
Both the fill tools are listed under the same button on the toolbar. The tool that was last used will also be visible. To view the other tool click and hold down the button and the fly out menu will display both the tools.
Let us look at each tool individually.
NOTE: Though the tools are almost similar even in the lower versions of Photoshop, I have written this tutorial using Photoshop CS5. The Options may be different.
A. Paint Bucket Tool
The Paint Bucket is used to fill color or pattern by clicking in an area. When you select the Paint Bucket tool in the toolbar, the Options bar will display these parameters;
1. Source for Fill area – will let you choose how the paint bucket should fill the area, with the foreground color or a pattern. If the foreground color is chosen, the area will be filled with the foreground color. If a pattern is chosen as the source, then the next icon will be activated and clicking on the down arrow will give you a list of patterns. Further clicking on the triangular button in the palette (shown below) will give you more patterns and options.
2. Mode – sets the fill modes. Choose any from the list.
3. Opacity – will determine the opacity of the fill. Lower values will make the fill more opaque.
4. Tolerance – will decide the degree to which pixel colors are affected by the fill. The acceptable values range from 0 – 255. The lower values will decrease the range of colors affected by the tool and vice versa.
5. Anti-alias – when selected will add a translucent border between the filled and unfilled areas.
6. Contiguous – when selected will affect the adjacent areas affected by the tolerance value.
7. All Layers – when selected will affect all the visible layers, else only the active layer will be affected.
To use the Paint Bucket tool, follow these steps:
a. Make a selection or if you want to fill the entire area, no need for a selection (choose the layer you want to fill with in the Layers Palette).
b. Choose the tool in the toolbar.
c. Choose the Foreground color.
d. Single click inside the area.
B. Gradient Tool
The Gradient Tool is used to fill an area in a gradient. When you select the Gradient tool in the toolbar, the Options bar will display these parameters;
1. Gradient – will display various gradient types to choose from. Click on the triangular button in the palette to display more gradients and options.
2. Gradient Style – let you choose Linear, Gradient, Angle, Reflected or Diamond gradients by clicking on respective buttons.
3. Mode – sets the fill modes. Choose any from the list.
4. Opacity – will determine the opacity of the fill. Lower values will make the fill more opaque.
5. Reverse – will let you reverse the selected gradient fill.
6. Dither – will smoothen the transition of multiple colors used in the gradient and would not make them look like bands.
7. Transparency – adds transparency to the gradient.
To use the Gradient Tool, follow these steps:
a. Make a selection or if you want to fill the entire area, no need for a selection (choose the layer you want to fill with in the Layers Palette)
b. Choose the tool in the toolbar.
c. Set the Foreground and Background colors.
d. Set the options in the Options bar.
e. Click and hold down the left mouse button, drag in the direction you want the gradient to be filled and leave. The transition of the colors will depend upon how long or short you drag the mouse.
Filed Under: Adobe Photoshop
About the Author: Minal is a freelance web and graphics designer. She specializes in designing Logos, Stationery, Graphics and Icons as well as website templates using graphical tools like Photoshop, Illustrator and Expression Web. Twitter @saffronstroke