Photoshop: smudge tool kind of slow

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  • Updated 5 years ago
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For almost a decade, I've been using Photoshop for digital painting. I use a very simple approach with round brushes. The smudge tool has always allowed me to paint fast. At a low strength, it USED TO do nice, soft blending even if I had a hard edge brush. At a high strength, it USED TO let me define clean edges very quickly.

In fact, at 100% with strength set to pressure, I could do soft blending or define edges with no adjustments to settings. Or I could only set size to pressure to pull out long strands of hair or blades of grass, with a perfect taper.

NOW, it's more like pushing pixels around in the liquify filter...WHY? I can't do smooth blends or sharp edges the same way at all! And I certainly can't pull out fine lines for hair, grass, etc... It's like the smudge tool in Sketchbook Pro...yuck

This change has screwed up the most important digital painting tool in my arsenal. PLEASE FIX!
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james thornton

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Posted 5 years ago

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Chris Cox

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The smudge tool hasn't changed. Double check your brush settings.

Also, it would be helpful to specify which version of Photoshop you are using, on which OS, etc.
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james thornton

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I upgraded to CC from CS5, which is uninstalled. Since then (3 months) I have 100% focused on a website. So maybe I didn't notice, but it is definitely different than CS2 - 5.

I'm familiar with the settings. With a hard round brush, 100% strength, and only size jitter set to pressure, it used to displace color completely, only varying in size. So you could do a large stroke, from slight pressure to no pressure, and it would pull out a thin strip of color. Setting it to 97% was perfect for hair.

Now, it barely displaces any color. Reminds me of liquify.

I would love to be wrong! I'm running OS X 10.8.5 with latest update of Photoshop CC, and a Cintiq 24hd touch with latest drivers. All other brush tools seem normal, and the Cintiq is working great in all apps.

So has it changed since CS5?
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Chris Cox

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No, the smudge tool code hasn't really changed since about Photoshop 3 (and I don't mean CS3).

Check ALL the brush settings. It sounds like you're using different spacing in CC compared to previous versions.
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james thornton

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Good! Then something is up.

I've attached an image. Might be hard to see, didn't realize this website would scale it down. I had to press harder with the smudge tool to pull out the color as far as the brush. The strokes that barely pulled out color were the same pressure as the brush. There is weird, stair-step displacement in the smudge.

Back when learning digital art, I noticed adjusting the spacing doesn't affect the smudge tool. That is still the case on my end. 1% spacing gives the same result as 1000%. Performance speed remains the same too, unlike a brush. (back then, I had tried to adjust spacing to boost performance)

Gone through all the settings, business as usual.

This is on an early 2011 17" macbook pro, 2.3 i7, 8gb, amd radeon hd 6750m 1024 mb, and everything seems ok with it

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james thornton

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It's behavior has been changed since CS6! see: http://forums.adobe.com/thread/1021785

At 100%, it does not work right, and needs to be fixed. It is very user friendly to slide quickly to the right for 100%. So much so that I didn't even notice 99% works!

At 99% and below, it seems ok. However, I will have to test side by side with CS5.

In the attached img, 100% does't do much. The marks you do see were applied with heavy pressure. The fine lines at 99% were with very little pressure, and you can see how I use it for hair, etc.

Please report this bug. As a long time Photoshop user, this isn't a change for the better. That said, I love PS and am thrilled I get to paint tomorrow! Been staring at too much html & css...