Photoshop Brush Lag: What Are The Best Ways to Fix It?

Generally, brush lag in photoshop is caused by a setting called smoothing or many other factors. You can fix it by turning off smoothing, removing custom brush settings, reducing file size, and optimizing photoshop and also your computer.

It has to be one of the most frustrating things you can experience in photoshop if you try to paint or draw something while the brush lags behind and takes a while to catch up with the cursor. Due to the fact that brush lag can make it difficult for you to be able to paint as quickly and efficiently as you would like while you are working, it is difficult for you to maintain a smooth and timely workflow during your work session.

If you are facing this problem so you won’t have to waste hours searching for a solution to your issue, you have to come to the right place to find the solution. We have compiled a list of possible solutions on How to Fix Photoshop Brush Lag, so you can save time searching for a solution to your issue if it’s that your brushes are lagging, resulting in a delayed painting effect.

5 Best Ways to Fix Photoshop Brush Lag

1. Remove Custom Brush Settings

Your brush may be experiencing lag because of the brush settings that you have set. It’s possible to access the brush panel by going to Window > brush settings and then viewing the issues that may be at play.

Remove Custom Brush Settings

Uncheck Brush Settings

To get started, you should uncheck as many settings as possible on the brush settings tab. The fewer settings you check, the less the brush tool looks for ways to alter itself when it is used as you work on it.

Alter the Brush Space

On this same tab, in addition to increasing the brush spacing, you can also decrease it. It is the space between brush marks within a stroke that determines the amount of brush spacing between them. As a result of altering the space, a smoother stroke will be created. However, this will also result in a bit of lag as the system has to work harder to keep the stroke steady.

2. Turn off Photoshop Brush Smoothing

As a result of the introduction of the brush smoothing algorithm into Photoshop CC 2018, and other versions of Photoshop, users were able to achieve a more polished look with cleaner lines when using the brush tool in Photoshop. When you use brush smoothing settings:

  • You are able to ensure the brush strokes are as smooth and clean as possible instead of having bumps and uneven strokes.
  • It helps to smooth out any imperfections in your strokes that may happen as a result of normal usage of the brush.
Turn off Photoshop Brush Smoothing

Bring Smoothing on 0%

As a result, if you set the smoothing percentage to a large number, you will notice that the brush tends to lag more if you increase the percentage. It is usually possible to get rid of the slow photoshop brush by turning the smoothing on to 0% and turning the blending to a smaller value.

Unticking all the Smoothing Options

Consider unticking all the smoothing options in the drop-down menu, which is located when you click on the gear icon next to the smoothing percentage in order to see whether it speeds up your photoshop brush even at 0% smoothing. If you click on the gear icon next to the smoothing percentage, you will find the list of smoothing options that are available to you.

3. Minimize Files Size

The next step you need to take if your brush is still lagging is to reduce the file size. The brush tool is prone to lag when using several layers when working in Photoshop because many layers take up memory space and tend to take up a lot. In order to reduce the overall size of the file that you are working on, there are a few different ways to go about doing it.

Multi-file PSD saving

When it comes to images that include many layers and require many editing steps, it may be beneficial to break that image down into sections and save each section as its own file in order to simplify the process. Using this method, you are still able to edit each section easily, but when you add them to the final image, they appear as one Layer rather than a series of separate layers.

Reducing the Image Resolution

You don’t need to have your Image 5000 pixels wide if it is only going to be displayed on a screen because it won’t likely be printed. If you reduce the size and resolution of your files, you will be able to free up more memory. By selecting image> Image size, you can easily change the size of the image. For screen displays, you will also only need 72 dpi, not 600 or 1200 dpi, to get a good resolution.

Reducing the Image Resolution

Reduce Photoshop Layers

The more layers you add to an image, the more memory it takes up, so you can help free up space by regularly merging layers or flattening the image to free up space. If you want to do this, however, you should only do it after editing a layer. Layers can be merged or flattened by choosing Layer> Merge down/visible, or you can flatten an image by choosing Layer> Flatten.

4. Optimize Your Computer

Optimize Your Computer

Free up CPU

It is likely that your brush will lag even if your computer’s CPU is slow. When you use Photoshop, you can save some CPU power by closing programs that run in the background while you are doing other things. Task managers can help you in freeing your CPU, which close programs take up all the space, including ones running in the background. You can replace the old CPU with the best CPU option.

Battery Optimization Mode

It’s possible that your device is in low-power mode or battery optimization mode, and if that’s the case, you should check that your device isn’t operating in that mode. In the battery area of most devices, there is usually an option for you to turn this on and off this setting.

The use of this setting will result in your device being able to run normally instead of having its performance reduced due to this setting. It is imperative to keep your device charged in order to avoid losing the work you have done.

Turn Off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Many factors can influence brush lag and the speed of photoshop, so it could take a few tries just to figure out what is causing this problem. Also, if you are still facing problems, it is an excellent idea to turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi if possible.

5. Optimize Photoshop’s Performance

The next thing you need to check is to ensure that photoshop itself isn’t the cause of the issue. Your brush tool may be running slowly because photoshop needs to be optimized for performance on your device, which means it needs to be fixed as well as it should.

Optimize Photoshop's Performance

Cache settings

Photoshop uses Image caching to speed up redrawing. You can choose cache levels and tile sizes depending on your needs. When you select a higher cache level, Photoshop will be more responsive, but it will take longer for your images to load. Cache tile size determines how fast complex operations are. Smaller cache tiles are more responsive when making smaller changes, such as with your brush tool.

Optimize Photoshop’s Memory Allocation

You can improve the performance of Photoshop and speed up the brush tool by allowing Photoshop to use more of the device’s memory/RAM.

You can adjust the memory usage in the performance preferences screen of Photoshop so that 70% of your device’s RAM is allocated to Photoshop by default, but you can increase or decrease this amount yourself if you wish.

If you wish to change the memory usage, simply go to Edit > Preferences > Performance and make the necessary adjustments.

Optimize Your GPU Settings

A lagging brush tool might appear due to a slow redraw rate of the screen as you edit, which causes the brush tool to slow down. Speed up your brush tool by changing your GPU settings.

Choosing basic, normal, or advanced from the performance section of the preference settings allows you to fine-tune your GPU. It’s the simplest manner to use GPU memory, so it’s a great choice if you’re using other GPU-dependent programs, or your screen redraws are problematic.

Read More:


When you optimize different photoshop settings, not only will you be able to draw and paint more effortlessly, but you will also be able to keep photoshop running at its best.