In a previous post I introduced the blender tool, which is the Smudge tool combined with a special brush. The smudge tool is handy for general smudging and blurring using a regular soft brush.
The advantage to using the blender brush tool is the ability to control the amount of pull on the “paint” using pressure.
With a small brush and a single tool it is possible to both blend and smooth painted areas, as well as sharpen and define edges and transitions. The effect is much like dragging a paint brush through wet paint.
The first thing to avoid is a softness, or blurred look, that can result. A soft look can be caused by using the tool to soften only, and not pulling the paint firmly into defined shapes. A blurred look can also be the result of using a brush which is too large.
The Blender tool is most effective when painting with multiple colors onto a single layer. I will often use layers to paint separate elements to allow for adjustments in layout. For the most part, however, blocking in my layout on a single, transparent layer is the quickest approach.
In this example I have already roughed in the white highlights and am ready to tighten up the detail. The black line has been drawn on a separate transparent layer.
Using just a blender tool I can push the white around where I need it, smoothing the rough areas while defining the detail. I add paint as needed with a paint brush.