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Essential Photo modifiers for an instant productivity boost

Taking advantage of Affinity Photo’s modifier keys allows you to completely alter the look of brush strokes, fine-tune your selections, and easily pick out colours from your image.

With Affinity Photo’s modifier keys, you can access additional tool settings on the go, allowing you to make alterations as you work.

Altering brush strokes

Let’s start with the brush tools.

Brush stroke.

A simple trick for altering your brush tools is to press the Ctrl and Option keys (Mac) or Ctrl + right-click + drag (Windows). This will reveal your current brush width and hardness settings.

Brush width and hardness.

By clicking and dragging to the right, we can instantly increase the width of our brush. By clicking and dragging to the left, on the other hand, we can decrease the width.

Brush width increasing and decreasing.

Clicking and dragging up decreases the brush’s hardness, while clicking and dragging down increases the brush’s hardness.

Brush hardness increasing and decreasing.

In addition to this, we can toggle the brush settings to make further tweaks on the go. A single click displays the shape and spacing options instead of the brush width and hardness.

Brush shape and spacing.

Dragging left now decreases the shape of the brush. Dragging right increases the shape of the brush.

Shape increasing and decreasing.

Dragging up decreases the spacing, while dragging down decreases the spacing.

Spacing increasing and decreasing.

Another single click toggles the settings again, now revealing the Rotation setting.

Brush rotation.

Colour picking

When using a brush tool, you can use the Alt key to pick up colour as you go.

Colour picking.

Fine tuning selections

With a selection tool active and a selection made, you can easily tweak your selection by pressing Option and dragging (Mac), or by pressing Alt and dragging (on Windows).

Fine tuning selections.

Technical author

Caroline is one of our technical authors here at Serif, with a passion for dreaming up and illustrating fictional stories on the side. When she’s not writing, Caroline enjoys walking her dog, travelling the world, and baking one too many cupcakes.

Credits & Footnotes

Deep sea diver image created by and copyright of Eric Ly.

Woman floating in water—artwork titled ‘Laguna’ created by and copyright of Anna Dittmann.

Flower image created by and copyright of Daniel Nica.