Software for Retouching, Video Tutorial

Brush Stroke Smoothing in Photoshop CC 2018

One of the many new features brought to the Photoshop CC 2018 update, was the introduction of a new brush smoothing algorithm. These new tools grant a more polished look with cleaner lines when using a brush, and are a welcome addition for digital painters and retouchers alike.

This video by digital artist, Aaron Rutten, breaks down the new smoothing tools and how the brush reacts depending on the settings used.

When using a tablet pen, for example, with smoothing set to 100%, there is a noticeable delay from the pen tip to the brushstroke, with a magenta line that aids in trailing the brush smoothly. If the amount of smoothing is lowered, the distance between the pen tip and brush is drastically shortened. Adjusting this slider will impact the amount of smoothness applied, with the upper end of it enabling consistent lines even with difficult-to-use input like a trackball mouse or a trackpad.

One of the available options, the Pulled String Mode, is especially useful for when your hands may not be too steady, or the device used isn’t ideal. Using the Pulled String Mode, your cursor sits inside of a circle, with a line following the movement of your cursor, but only painting once you pull the string past the circle. Depending on what the brush is being used for, this adds a new level of precision.

RELATED: Working With The Healing Brush Tool

The other additions to the smoothing tool that are explained in the tutorial are Stroke Catch-up, Catch-up on Stroke End, and Adjust for Zoom. For tasks such as dodging, burning, and layer masking, the added accuracy of brush stroke smoothing will allow more retouchers to be efficiently meticulous.


Sources: Aaron Rutten’s YouTube Channel | Adobe Creative Cloud Express (formerly known as Adobe Spark)

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