View Full Version : My Blending Attempt, basic shape.

01 January 2009, 08:12 PM
Having trouble with blending in Photoshop CS, so I decided to start with a cylinder and will work on other basic shapes.
I started with a hard edge brush to get the shades.
Then used a spackled brush to try to blend the colors.
Then I moved on to using the smudge tool, went back and forth to mix the shades a bit then when up and down to better blend them.
I also painted (using a bright white) where the top and side meet to help with definition and painted a black line on the bottem to help with depth using the smudge tool to help mix them.

I know it may seem simple, but I'm wondering if I'm going in the right direction as far as blending.

Also, is it cheep to use the selection tool to get hard edges (side of cylinder) to better define it, or should I just continue to only use guide lines, I don't want to rely on the program to do the work.

EDIT: Forgot to mention I have a Wacom model: CTE-440

Thank you all.

01 January 2009, 08:28 PM
Also, is it cheep to use the selection tool to get hard edges (side of cylinder) to better define it, or should I just continue to only use guide lines, I don't want to rely on the program to do the work. That's like saying you want to inflate a tire, but don't want to use an air compressor, you'd rather hand pump it, so as not to rely on the mechanism to do the work...Or like removing a bad line from a drawing with a razor blade and tape, so as not to rely on the eraser to do the work...


A tool is a tool. It is NOT the creative force, it is NOT the artist. It is an extreme form of "elitist" artist who passes judgement on which tools are tools, and which tools are cheats...

The ONLY cheat is a photocopy, or using someone else's efforts and passing them as yours. Beyond that, WHATEVER TOOL GETS THE JOB DONE is the only concern you should be bothered with...

When I'm blending, I can't waste time fussing with it. I lasso areas and use Gaussian blur to blend. If I need texture, I go back and add noise or texture after. I'm concerned more with getting the tones to blend properly than worrying about whether or not a viewer will think I used the Blur Filter in!

Focus on the important parts of your work, not the silly little details that no one but you will ever even wonder about.


01 January 2009, 10:39 AM
I think you're making this way too complicated for yourself, with switching brushes and tools and whatnot. It's going to take you three times longer if you're monkeying around with it like that. If you're just trying to get a clean gradient, there's no need to putz about with speckled brushes--speckled brushes are for texture. And to respectfully disagree with CybrGfx on the 'you shouldn't turn up your nose at a tool' front, I can't think of any good reason to break out the smudge tool for blending (though it's great for smoothing edges), and if you start to rely on it too much you'll have a hard time retraining yourself to blend differently. I think you'll be better off in the long run if you just train yourself to blend with paintbrushes of various sizes (there's precious little a simple round brush, 90% hardness, pen pressure set to opacity can't accomplish, in my opinion). You'll have more control over the end result.

On an unrelated note, I think this'd be a more valuable study for you if you actually had a cylinder in front of you when you did it, or even just a picture of a cylinder. Then you'd be practicing blending AND training your eye.

01 January 2009, 05:07 PM
While I am a FIRM proponent of the personal opinion that people who overuse the Smudge Tool should have 3 fingers broken on each hand, if the Smudge Tool gives you the effect you are seeking, USE IT. To eschew the use of ANY tool over silly esoteric values that to do so is somehow "cheating," is pure foolishness. NO ifs, ands, or buts.

If you need to drive a nail, and all you have is your hand or a rock, you use the rock, IF you have some smarts. You don't put your nose up in the air, with the attitude that the rock was not meant to drive nails, or that it might damage the nail head, or that you are somehow circumventing thousands of years of evolution by letting a simple rock do the work...


It is NOT about the Smudge Tool, Trenchcoat, it's about the self-limiting attitude to refuse to try ANY technique, or use ANY tool, to achieve a goal, that I am trying to skewer to the wall with a dagger, here.
ESPECIALLY, when such an attitude mandates the wasting of productive creation time in order to try and do it "the hard way," with the resultant sub-par results...

I could make my own pencils by gluing graphite into sticks, too, but I'll take advantage of things to save my energies for actual, effective, creating, thank you...

Artists (especially, but ANYONE) should ALWAYS be willing and capable of using whatever tool is available to get the job done. WHO, EVER is going to look at any ONE piece of art someone makes, and say, "That's really nice for Digital art...Did you use Gaussian Blur to blend those cheek colors? OMFG, tell me you DIDN'T use the Smudge Tool for that cylinder gradient. TELL ME!...Oh the Smudge Tool! And you dare to call yourself an artist...My Life has no meaning now. ALL my beliefs of what is right in the Universe have been turned to dust...HOW COULD YOU?!?"


Look, here's the deal.
It doesn't matter WHAT you use to create. Truly.
What matters, is that what you create visually works, for you, if no one else.

BUT, the world, the Digital world in particular, has some wonderful, POWERFUL, tools to HELP you create.

Preferably, use them correctly, but still, USE THEM.

They will NOT lessen your creativity as an artist, nor will they improve your skills or talent.
You STILL need to use them EFFECTIVELY, be they the Smudge Tool (which VERY few people can use effetively), or Vector applications to draw PERFECTLY smooth lines. It's not a sin, it's NOT any slight against you, the artist, or us, the viewers.

Make your work looks the BEST you can. HOW you do that, is, in the end, irrelevant. The viewer will not care HOW you got the gradient to look perfect...

Class is adjourned.

01 January 2009, 06:57 PM
Yes, but.

Of course you should use whatever tools you have available to do the job as quickly and effectively as possible. However, in the case of your 'driving a nail with a rock' example, sometimes if you look around for a bit, you might discover that you were, in fact, sitting on a hammer and if you're prepared to master a new skill--knowing which end to grip, aiming the thing properly, and whatnot--you will get much more consistent and effective results if you use it. Sure the rock is there, easy to use, and it'll work, but it won't work as well as other things.

In Photoshop, there are a lot of rocks, and there are a lot of hammers. There are other tools, too, like screwdrivers, which you can use to pound in nails, but you should probably be smacked upside the head for trying. And sometimes, when someone new comes to the program (or to art), it helps to kindly explain to them that this is for screws and this is for nails and that is a rock, where did you even find that, put that outside (the Clouds filter, anyone? (Now watch somebody cite an excellent use for the Clouds filter at me) ).

Naturally, talented artists and experienced PS users find new uses for tools every day--it's a wonderfully versatile program like that--but beginners need guidelines to follow, to get the basics under their belts, before they start experimenting. Otherwise they get into terrible habits that can be hard to break (and I think using the smudge tool to blend is an excellent example thereof). By no means--and I wanna be clear on this--am I saying that you should snub ANY tool that is necessary to GET THE JOB DONE. I don't think you should snub a tool that even gives a "enh, it's not as good, but whatever, it's good enough" result, because I'm pretty lazy and we all have lives to get on with. But I do think that people who are new to painting or to Photoshop should eschew about half the tools for a while, just so they force themselves to learn to use the basics.

It's something we see a lot, in this forum and elsewhere: people using "shortcut" tools to get shoddy results. Or "shortcut" mentalities, for same - every time somebody says "oh, I didn't bother to find a reference" when their work is covered in basic anatomy and lighting errors, I die a little inside. (These are different from the people who say "oh, I don't need a reference, [subtext: because I am just that great].) A lot of the time, pointing this out to people ("Find a reference, seriously, just stop arguing and GO FIND A REFERENCE") makes people prickly and defensive ("ARE YOU SAYING MY ART IS SOMEHOW LESS THAN PERFECT?!" "yes"), but other times it's really just ignorance at work! I feel like that's one of the purposes of the forum, and I believe deep down that you agree--not just to help people with their individual WIPs, but to give them a better understanding of how to move forward as artists.

So. Don't use the smudge tool to blend. Go ahead and use the polygonal lasso to make sharp edges. By the time you know that there are no hard and fast rules in Photoshop (or art!), you'll have a much better understanding of when to break those "rules."

<Pushes glasses up nose>

Your move.

01 January 2009, 06:26 AM
This thread has been hijacked. Do not call for help, remain calm, and you may get your thread back...maybe

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01 January 2009, 06:26 AM
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