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Adobe Photoshop CC - Advanced Training

Selection trick using the smudge tool in Photoshop

Daniel Walter Scott

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All right, it is a little trick for doing Masks, this video. You'll be doing lots of Masking video, selections of Masking. And I heard you say, "Another one, Dan, give me one more." This is just a small one, it's a little trick that I wanted to keep in here, because I use it all the time. It's a little hard to get placed in. So let's say we use this image in the last one and we went, Focus area, and that worked great, to a point. We minus this chunk out, went to 'Select & Mask'. Radius, Smoothing, I might shift the edge in a little bit. Kind of got it to a nice point, right? But there's a couple of parts, this bit here is the main offender. Click 'OK'. There's one there as well. So I'm going to show you how to use the Smudge Tool. 

I use it because-- I'll show you why. Let's do this one first, he's the easiest one to get. Because I'm going to work on my Mask, and what people tend to do, is they grab the Brush Tool, then they just make it really small. Then how small do you make it? You keep like-- let's actually do it so I can show you. So in here, really small. What's my Opacity? I will put it at 100%. I just get that bad, and then I make the brush a bit smaller. I'm going to get that-- you end up in this kind of like-- it always ends up looking a bit fake doing it that way. So, along comes the Smudge Tool. 

What does the Smudge Tool do? If I work on the actual image-- I'm going to zoom out a little bit. The Smudge Tool is this little finger here. He is normally the Blur Tool, if you hold him down, grab the Smudge Tool. Now up here, just make sure it's set to-- you might have been playing around, just pick one of these top general brushes, pick any brush. And what we'll do is, the Strength, around about 50%, and we'll set the Hardness to 0. Basically if I'm working on the actual pixels, it just smudges things, you can kind of see it there. Smudgy, smudgy, smudge, but if I undo, that same little thing, when I'm working on the actual Mask, does some really cool stuff. 

So I'm going to pick an appropriate Brush size, and then kind of smudge it in, and look, let go. Cool, huh? Just kind of smudges it in. I'll show you what I mean, or what it does. I'm going to hold down the 'Alt' key on a PC, 'Option' key on a Mac, just to click on the Mask to show you what it's doing, and I undo. Because the Smudge Tool-- watch this. If I make it nice and big, if I just push from the edge, watch what happens. When I click and drag, I'm just holding the mouse key down, no Wacom tablet, you can see it kind of, as it's moving along, it kind of slowly makes the radius smaller, and the effects smaller, so it's really good for pushing into those edges. 

Just going to turn it back on, pick a Brush size. Zoom in. And in this case I might make the Hardness just a little bit less. I'm just pushing here. You can see, it just gets in the corners really quick and easy, rather than messing about with the-- yes, making the brushes bigger and smaller. Same here as well on these corners, ah, look how cool that is. Same for this one as well, where is that one? Oh, sneaky trick there. If you hold down the 'H' key on your keyboard-- so I couldn't find where this was, right? I was down here, and I was like, we're all done, you're like, "I want to go to this other part." You're like-- oh man, should have zoomed out, you can't find it, right? If you hold down the 'H' key on your keyboard, moves to the Hand Tool, but the extra perk for it is, if you click and hold down the mouse key, it zooms out to like full zoom. Then you can move it around and say, "I want to look at this bit." Retouch it, retouch it, fix it, hold down 'H', click. 

Holding the mouse key down over here, and now I'm going to kind of work in this bit here. You can see it's not starting down here, so I might have to grab my Brush Tool and just kind of start a little bit. Back to my Smudge Tool, then just kind of work this out into the gaps. You might not like it, you might do. I hope you do. Can you see those corners? Nice! Look at that. If you're using a Wacom tablet you probably wouldn't have to do this, because it's pressure sensitive, right? And you can just hold it a little bit lighter and it goes and pushes it out. This pesky one, and a pesky one again. Now I'm just moving around, but you get the idea, right? Smudge Tool can be handy for those kind of corners that you need to get into. Just a little, quick little bonus video. All right, let's move on.