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Chapter 6. Filling and Stroking > Filling Selections with Color or Patterns

6.1. Filling Selections with Color or Patterns

Photoshop's fill and stroke functions are so straightforward that you may have long since forgotten about what to call them or how they actually work — they're just there, they work just fine, and you don't need to think about them too much. So how do you fill the layer, shape, or selection? Let us count the ways:

  • Paint Bucket tool: Also known as the Fill tool, the Paint Bucket shares a flyout with the Gradient tool in the Toolbox. You can apply the foreground color or a repeating pattern to areas of related color in an image by clicking in the image window with the tool. For example, if you want to turn all pink pixels in an image into orange pixels, set the foreground color to orange and then click one of the pink pixels. As you learn later in this chapter, the tool has options for controlling how and where that fill is applied to the pink pixels, and it's worth noting that you can't use this tool on images that you converted to bitmap mode.

  • Fill command: Choose Edit Fill to fill a selection with the foreground color, a repeating pattern, or any color you choose, because you can invoke the Color Picker from within the dialog box that results from the Edit Fill command. Bear in mind that you don't need to select a portion of the image to access the Fill command: If you choose the command while no selection is active, Photoshop fills the entire layer.

    To choose the Fill command without even moving the mouse, press Shift+Backspace (Shift+Delete on the Mac).

  • Backspace (Win) and Delete (Mac) key techniques: Keyboard shortcut fans will love this, and it gives you a chance to work with keys that are typically used only to edit a string of text. After selecting part of a single-layer image — or part of the background layer in a multilayered image — you can fill the selection with the background color by pressing Backspace (Win) or Delete (Mac). You also can fill any layer with the background color without a selection by pressing Ctrl+Backspace (Win) or -Delete (Mac). To fill with the foreground color, press Alt+Backspace (Win) or Option-Delete (Mac).

  • Gradient tool: Drag across a layer or selection with a Gradient tool to fill it with a multicolor gradient in one of five gradient styles. You choose a gradient style by clicking an icon in the Options bar. Press G (or Shift+G, depending on your preferences setting for tool toggles) to toggle the Gradient and Paint Bucket tools, which occupy the same flyout menu in the Toolbox. In addition to the gradient styles, you also have scads of gradient presets that you can apply, in the style you choose. But more about that later.

  • Layer fills: You can use Layer Style features to fill a layer with a solid color, gradient, pattern, or special effect fills.


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