When I got art from an artist the image has these nice sharp lines like the arm below. Notice the sharpness of the black outlines. When I draw it myself, it looks like the line above, much more blurry.

I would say the artist's lines are somewhere between the brush and the pencil tool. Is there a way to draw like this in Photoshop? I'm using Photoshop 2020, but I'm on CC so i can upgrade if neccessary.


difference between lines

  • Are you using the same canvas size?
    – Tetsujin
    Jul 6, 2021 at 10:51
  • Antialiasing is a big concept. So what your asking is can you adjust the antialiasing routine of photoshop. Sure you can but are you really really commited to your stuff? Realistically i doubt your ready for this. Anyway yes indeed adobe does antialiasing wrong form a scientific and technical point of view.
    – joojaa
    Jul 6, 2021 at 10:55
  • Hmm... a simple method might be to just duplicate the layer the black lines are on. That will certainly reduce anti-aliasing slightly. See example.
    – Billy Kerr
    Jul 6, 2021 at 11:12

3 Answers 3


You could create a brush image, something like this. I used a normal brush to make this, then I tweaked the curves to create more contrast. Then I did Select All, then Edit > Define Brush Preset

enter image description here

Here's the result. The line on top shows a normal 4px brush. Below it is the brush I made

enter image description here

You shouldn't resize the brush when painting though, otherwise it will just introduce the blurring problem again. You could make different brushes for different widths.

Note: One other thing you may want to consider is not using Photoshop at all for work that would be better output as vector. Personally, I wouldn't even consider using Photoshop for anything like this.

  • This is excellent, thanks. We have an art style in our game that is handpainted and a bit sloppy/curved lines. Also I'm a programmer and not an artist, but it's great to be able to fix small things like that using that trick. Jul 7, 2021 at 5:17

Another trick is to turn on Texture setting with Height mode (no actual texture is needed)

Here's an example of a standard round brush and a brush with Texture turned on:

enter image description here

You can change Depth to adjust the effect:

enter image description here

On a side note with game assets you usually want to draw them at 200% or 400% of the final scale. Larger size will allow for more control and the image will look less blurry. An example of painting zoomed in and having a second window as a preview at 50% for the actual asset size:

enter image description here

  • This is a great tip too! I will definitely try that, might be quicker than to use a custom brush (the answer i accepted) which had a little weird preview shape when drawing. Thanks! Jul 7, 2021 at 13:47
  • @BlueGooGames yeah creating 20-ish tool tips for different sizes might not be ideal Jul 7, 2021 at 14:59

A brush edge only gets so hard in Photoshop. Once you push the hardness to 100%, there's no way to further remove any anti-alising. You can try working at a high PPI and then reducing, but that can be guesswork more than anything.

Vector layers in Photoshop can often have a bit less anti-aliasing than brushes. You might try using the vector tools rather than brushes.

I'd suggest that the original sample you've posted may have been created originally outside of Photoshop.

Vector artwork.. placed as a Smart Object into Photoshop, then rasterized (if necessary) will have less anti-aliasing than painting directly in Photoshop.

My guess.. that's how the original was created... even the artwork itself suggests it would be easier to create in a vector application - at least the keyline.

Zoomed in to just before the pixel grid shows (300ppi file)....

enter image description here

  • Thanks for the suggestions. The original is drawn using Clip Studio Paint, it might have settings for that. I went for the solution with making a brush that is sharper. Jul 7, 2021 at 5:19

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