Sharpen, and Smudge Tools
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The keyboard shortcut is
R and you can toggle between the three tools using Shift R.
- Blur - blurs the area
where you paint.
- Sharpen - increases
contrast in the areas where you paint.
- Smudge - blends the
pixels where you paint simulating the action of dragging a finger through
Each of these tools has a
mode option and a pressure setting. The pressure setting determines how strong
the effect is applied. With the sharpen tool especially, you will want to keep
the pressure setting very low. Too much sharpening can have some really
disastrous results. If you need to see it to believe it, just crank that
pressure up to 100 and make a couple swipes across any image.
I think you'll find you
will not use the sharpen tool very often at all. The Unsharp Mask filter is much
better at overall sharpening. The sharpen tool is useful primarily for popping
out highlights on shiny objects, or maybe to give an important object a little
extra "pop" after you've resampled an image. Remember to use it sparingly,
though, and always create a snapshot first because it's so easy to overdo it.
The blur tool is useful
for removing small facial blemishes and smoothing out wrinkles. It's easy to get
a bit carried away with the blur tool when working on a face. Things will be
looking great as you start, but if you overdo it, your image will begin to have
an obvious retouched appearance if you're not careful. One way to avoid
overdoing it is by using the lighten and darken blend modes with the blur tool.
For instance, if you want to tone down freckles or diminish a pimple, you would
use the blur tool in the lighten mode. In lighten mode, only darker pixels are
blended and it will tone down freckles and blemishes without completely removing
them. By the way, once you blur pixels with the blur tool, those pixels are
permanently altered and you can't bring them back into focus again with the
The smudge tool is grouped
with the retouching tools, but it's actually used more often in painting. For
retouching purposes is can be use to quickly rub out a minor blemish, touch up
the shine on someone's lip stick, and so on. It can also be useful for blending
out the jaggies that can sometimes occur when sizing up an image. This is
another tool you want to be careful not to overdo and be sure to keep the
pressure setting low. The smudge tool has a finger painting option that applies
a dab of the foreground paint color each time you click.