An example of a graphic design that has been created using the Paint Bucket tool.


Using the Photoshop Paint Bucket.

Adobe Photoshop will brace the bucket as you pour paint onto your canvas. Learn how to use this versatile tool. 

How to use the Paint Bucket in Photoshop.

The Paint Bucket tool is a workhorse for creative people looking to bring splashes of colour to their work in record time. 

A graphic illustration of a person. The person's hair is selected and filled in with colour using the Paint Bucket tool.

Fill an area.

Have an area that needs filling with a colour or gradient? The Paint Bucket tool will colourise a selected space in a single click. 

An example of digital art with foreground and background colours filled in using the Paint Bucket tool.

Colour both foreground and background.

You can work quickly with the Paint Bucket tool, filling an area with your choice of two changeable colours: a foreground colour and a background colour. 

An example of a graphic design that has been created using the Paint Bucket tool and the Gradient tool.

Use with other tools.

Combine the Paint Bucket with other Photoshop tools like the Brush tool, the Gradient tool, the Pen tool and more to create complex illustrations and edits. 

The Layers panel superimposed on a digital collage.

Work with layers and selections.

When paired with dozens of selection tools and versatile layer options, the bucket is a reliable accessory for creating complex collages of colour.

Advanced Paint Bucket tool options.

The trusty Paint Bucket can do more than just cover an area — it has plenty of settings to help you to create a smarter, better fill.

The Paint Bucket tool Mode setting superimposed on digital art of a person standing in a field.

Choose a Mode.

The Paint Bucket tool Mode setting allows you to create more advanced colour fills for interesting effects and a higher degree of control. Choose from toolbar options like Darken, Multiple, Colour Dodge and more to create different effects. 

Opacity and Tolerance settings superimposed on a photo of a person with a pink gradient.

Tweak Opacity and Tolerance.

If you feel your fill is a little too aggressive, you can adjust both Opacity (transparency) and Tolerance (how many pixels it will cover) to paint over fewer colours or leave the background intact. This can often create a more random-seeming or artistic looking paint effect. 

Layers panel superimposed on an image of windows on a pink wall.

Go all in with all layers.

Typically, the Paint Bucket tool will fill areas only on a selected layer. If you want to paint to your heart’s content on your entire project, cutting through all layers, select the All Layers option. This is useful when you’re trying to change the entire document.

Anti-alias and Contiguous settings superimposed on digital illustration of wildlife.

Pick Anti-Alias or Contiguous.

The Paint Bucket tool paints individual pixels and you can alter how it behaves. The Contiguous option will paint only pixels that are directly attached to ones of the same colour. The Anti-Alias option helps smooth out jagged edges of the areas you fill.

How to do a basic Paint Bucket fill.

Paint an area a flat colour in just a few steps. 

1. Select it:

With the correct layer selected, use a selection tool like the Lasso tool to select where you’re going to paint. 

2. Set it:

Select the Paint Bucket tool. Make sure you’ve chosen a foreground colour that you want to paint with and Foreground is selected in the top Options bar. 

3. Shade it:

Choose a Tolerance number from 0 to 255. To fill all selected pixels of a colour regardless of their starting shade, choose 255. To fill only pixels of a similar starting shade, choose a lower number.

4. Paint it:

Click the selected area you want to paint with the tool and admire your handiwork.

5. Edit it:

If it’s not looking quite right, click Edit › Undo and try adjusting Opacity and Tolerance until you’re happy with the look.

Graphic art showing a sitting room that has been created using the Paint Bucket tool.
Adobe Photoshop

Do more with Adobe Photoshop.

Learn more painting and colouring techniques.

Ready for more? Learn about other Photoshop features and painting tools. 

Example of purple-and-blue watercolour art.

Go watercolour.

Photoshop has dozens of tools to help you replicate the look and feel of watercolour painting.


Learn watercolour techniques

A photo of a snake with adjusted colours.

Adjust the palette.

Change colours quickly. See how Photoshop helps you do it in just a few steps. 


Invert colours

A photo of two surfers with brightness and contrast adjusted.

Make it sunny.

Sometimes the image you have isn’t quite bright enough. This tutorial will show you how to adjust brightness and contrast.


Brighten up an image

An example of a person's face that has been illustrated using line drawing.

Lines for beginners.

Line drawing is a great way to improve your illustrating and Photoshop skills at the same time.


Try line art

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