How to Smooth a Brush in After Effects

Updated on: October 22, 2022

Learning how to manipulate brushes is essential when using After Effects. Thanks to them, you can draw frame-by-frame illustrations and create effects on your imported videos.

Setting the size of your brushes is as important as knowing how to customize them as much as possible. That's why we'll show you the steps to modify the intensity of the brush edges this time, so you'll know how to smooth a brush in After Effects.

Importing a video before activating the Brush tool

For the Brush tool to work correctly, you must first import any video into your workspace by clicking Ctrl + I or Cmd + I for macOS or create a new layer if you want to illustrate from scratch.

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Once you have set the layer, double-click it, and place it on top of the other Timeline layers. After these steps, you can activate the Brush Tool by hitting Ctrl + B or Cmd + B.

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How to smooth a brush stroke in After Effects

If you look closely at the Brushes panel (Ctrl + 9 or Cmd + 9), you will notice that it comprises three sections. Go to the second one. That is the one below the preset strokes.

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To soften a brush so that its edges are not sharp but blurred, you must modify the value of the Hardness feature. Note that the more minor the percentage, the stroke will be softer.

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If you want a more intense, sharper, and defined brush stroke, you should increase the value to 100%.

Remember to save the settings of the brush you used by clicking on the post-it icon at the bottom of that section of the panel, right next to the spacing option, naming it, and hitting Ok.

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Other Brushes panel options

The last section of the Brushes panel is called Brush Dynamics. It will be helpful when painting an area of your video, as you can set the size and pressure of your brush as you draw: a feature you will surely use when setting up soft strokes.

Try different values and settings of the panel while illustrating, so you can see more differences.

Andrea Mercado is a tech-focused journalist and copywriter with over 5 years of experience covering innovation, edtech, AI, and internet trends across media outlets. She is passionate about how technology can democratize access to education and is an avid learner when it comes to emerging tech like AI. Her articles and webinars help readers stay informed on the latest tech developments.
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