How to set a brush in Photoshop that have a slightly degree of opacity over itself without lifting the pen, or reaching the same effect in a single path? what I need is to simulate a ballpoint pen stroke.

enter image description here

3 Answers 3


Use flow rather than opacity. With opacity, you don't get any buildup without a separate stroke; flow will let you build opacity within the same brush stroke.


I believe it's not possible at all in Photoshop, mainly because your brush stroke is, in fact, made of separate brush shapes (most often circles) that overlap to form a continuous line. You can see it by tampering with either the Flow or the Spacing setting (the latter can be found in Window > Brush).

What you can do, although it is a bit of a workaround, is this:

  1. Draw a curve with the Pen tool that looks like the shape you want to achieve; set the border to the desired thickness and the fill to blank. Lower the opacity to your desired setting:

Step 1: a shape with no fill, a border with rounded corners and lowered opacity.

  1. Duplicate the shape.

Step 2: the shape from above, duplicated.

  1. In one of the shapes, delete a part of the points. Delete the second half of the points in the other shape (remember to leave one point in the middle for both shapes). The result should be similar to this:

Step 3: both shapes now form halves of the desired curve.

  1. As you can see, we have two overlapping curves, but at the same time there is the area near the top that gets overlapped, too. I fixed my shape by masking the rounded caps of both curves (or, if you don't plan on editing the shape later, you can just rasterize it and erase the overlapping part). Here is the final image:

Step 4: the top parts of the shapes have been masked to hide the overlapping ends.

This solution does work, but the drawback is that if you want to have multiple overlapping points, you have to create multiple curves, and all that work can be extremely tedious. Alas, this is the closest I could come to the effect you asked about.

Hope this helps anyway!


Just using the brush tool should achieve what you're after. Setting the brush tool to a standard hard mechanical brush with an opacity like so:

enter image description here

Now draw continuously. I did this with a mouse:

enter image description here

If you're using a pen with pressure sensitivity, just make sure it's not affecting opacity. If you're after something that's path-based, you may be better off using Illustrator or other vector software.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.