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P: Increase the strength of the blur tool.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 01, 2012 Jun 01, 2012

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It's too weak. It needs to be more versatile. Maybe even allow airbrush to be enabled so the blur effect can build-up like water on a watercolor painting.

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75 Comments
LEGEND ,
Jun 01, 2012 Jun 01, 2012

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The blur tool is for subtle retouching, not effect building.

If you need something stronger: consider duplicating the layer, using a blur filter, and then using a layer mask to isolate where it should or should not show the effect.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 01, 2012 Jun 01, 2012

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That's not really what I'm looking for. I need a tool for painting that can soften hard edges and disperse pigment into a painting just as water does to watercolor. The blur tool would be perfect for this except that it's too weak. It only blurs the image so much and the effect doesn't look or feel right for painting. It's such a simple concept, but I'm not sure a lot of digital painters realize how awesome a tool like this would be.

I understand that the blur tool was probably initially designed for photo editing. But right now, that's all it's really good for. I'm just asking that it be modified so it can have a wider variety of application. Even if you just doubled its strength, there would still be enough room in the slider for subtle retouching. If not, you could increase the maximum strength to 200%.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jun 02, 2012 Jun 02, 2012

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Just wondering: none of the new mixer Brushes in CS6 work as you want?
Or just some wobbles with the smudge tool?
I guessed that you tried them, so could you post a video example, to see what kind of results you are after? I think it would help the engineers to see what is needed.
If 200% strenght would be sufficient, would two applications of the blur tool suffice?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 02, 2012 Jun 02, 2012

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The new mixer brush tool works great. But that and the smudge tool create more of an oil painting simulation. I'm looking for something that's more like watercolor. Even something that is less of a simulation and more of something that is unique to digital painting; the ability to soften hard edges with a single stroke.

The blur tool does this beautifully, but only up until a point. Then it just stops blurring the image. This is because, at maximum strength, each sample of the blur tool creates a Gaussian blur of only about 0.5 pixels. It works well enough for photo editing, but not for digital painting. If that was increased to about 1 or 2 pixels per sample, it would create more of a blur effect, which would be very useful for digital painting.

Also, I've already tried increasing the count of the blur tool. This only increases the rate at which it blurs, not the strength.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 02, 2012 Jun 02, 2012

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I agree with Chris about this. The Blur Tool, as it is, is an excellent tool for image editing.

Have you actually tried Chris' suggestion about using a strongly blurred layer, filling its mask with black, and painting on the mask with white to reveal the blur? When you paint on the mask, you have the full controls of the Brush Tool, including pressure sensitivity if you're using a tablet.

Otherwise, if you really want a "true" watercolour effect, you're better off using a program that can do that, such as Corel Painter or PainterEssentials.

Ken

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Engaged ,
Jun 02, 2012 Jun 02, 2012

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"The blur tool is for subtle retouching, not effect building."

Why was it decided as such?

I think Peter Bailey makes a good point, that it's only "for" subtle moves because it's only capable of subtle moves.

The same decision could have been made for the smudge tool too, for instance, rendering it far less useful than it is. Any of the tools could have been left impotent, but to what end?

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LEGEND ,
Jun 03, 2012 Jun 03, 2012

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You're right Ken, the blur tool is an excellent tool for image editing. And it could still be an excellent tool for image editing, even if its strength were increased. In fact, it would be an even better tool, because you could do more with it than just image editing. Increasing the strength of the blur tool would only result in more freedom, not less. It wouldn't take away your ability to perform subtle retouching and it would allow painters more freedom to interact with their painting in real-time without having to duplicate layers, use masks and merge layers.

Yes, I have tried Chis's suggestion and although it was a good suggestion, it's still not what I'm looking for. It doesn't allow me to set blur strength to pen pressure and most importantly, it doesn't allow me to easily switch back and forth between the paint brush and the blur tool for real-time painting and blending.

Also, just to make it clear, I'm not looking for a "true" watercolor effect like in Painter or Artrage; I'm just looking for a stronger blur tool. It just so happens that a stronger blur tool would be perfect for creating simple yet rather life-like watercolor effects.

Below are some images further illustrating my point. The first is an image of some paint strokes done in Photoshop made to look somewhat like watercolor. The second is that same image with the blur tool applied to it at maximum strength. The third is an example of what the blur tool may have looked like if it was stronger. The fourth is an even stronger example of what the blur tool may have looked like.

Paint Strokes


Regular Blur Tool at Maximum Strength


Stronger Blur Tool


Even Stronger Blur Tool

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Engaged ,
Jun 03, 2012 Jun 03, 2012

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I would use a stronger blur tool on masks for selective focus items, where you need to alter the degree of blur on mask edges selectively, to match the bokeh of the item.

As it stands now, I have to made a broad selection, then feather the selection, then blur the mask - and repeat over and over to smaller areas, increasing the ultimate blur at the fartherst points, with seamless transitions between.

All this could be drastically simpler with repeated strokes of the bur too, however, the limited strength of the tool makes it prohibitively weak on hi-res image masks.

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LEGEND ,
Jun 04, 2012 Jun 04, 2012

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I can only agree with Peter, I would like a more powerful blur tool. Especially if it could be set to a modifier key so it would work similarly to smoothing in Zbrush. A digital painting setup like that would be incredibly user friendly and very fast.

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Explorer ,
Jun 29, 2013 Jun 29, 2013

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I completely agree with Peter. There is no reason at all why the blur tool should not be stronger, and it would be much easier for applying a quick treatment to a small area. I've long found it baffling that Adobe cripples the tool.

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New Here ,
Jan 08, 2014 Jan 08, 2014

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I use the blur tool very often for retouching and have always found it to be too weak. I usually have to sit and draw back and forth over a spot for a minute or two in an attempt to remove a hard edge. Actually duplicating the layer, using a blur filter, and then masking that out would be faster but is too tedious. I need the blur tool to blur small spots! I have never actually successfully used it and often have to use a combination of blurring, smudging, and clone stamping. As a daily user, professionally and at home, I am highly unsatisfied with the capabilities of Photoshop in general compared to InDesign (the best) and even Illustrator. Of course, I could never blur an image with those applications, so Photoshop is my only hope, sadly.

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New Here ,
Jan 08, 2014 Jan 08, 2014

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By the way, also it's the slowest application I have on my 6-month old computer (windows 7 64 bit, intel xeon cpu e5-2620 @ 2.00GHz x2, 32 gigs RAM)

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LEGEND ,
Jan 08, 2014 Jan 08, 2014

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If you are trying to blur a large area, then the blur tool is the wrong thing to use.
Blur a copy of the layer and use a layer mask, or use a smart filter and a mask.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 08, 2014 Jan 08, 2014

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If Photoshop is running slow, then either you are using huge images that take a lot of time, or something is not right with your system. Without more details, I'm not sure what might be wrong with your system.

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Explorer ,
Jan 08, 2014 Jan 08, 2014

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We want a stronger blur tool. We think it would be useful. That is the message. Is Photoshop for consumers or Adobe engineers? Corin didn't say "large area," he said "small spots." I often find that a stronger blur tool would be helpful, and other solutions are far more complex and time consuming.

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New Here ,
Jan 08, 2014 Jan 08, 2014

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Yes yes yes! If we want it to be subtle, we can make it suble on our own!!!

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New Here ,
Jan 08, 2014 Jan 08, 2014

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To be clear, I am talking about very small areas where I need to remove hard edges, not large areas.

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New Here ,
Jan 08, 2014 Jan 08, 2014

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I am using large images but the program is still just too slow.

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LEGEND ,
Jan 08, 2014 Jan 08, 2014

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Ok, then something may be wrong with your system that is making it slow. But that would need a different topic to try and help you figure out why your system is so slow.

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New Here ,
Jan 09, 2014 Jan 09, 2014

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Actually, nothing is wrong with my system. Many people have said that your application is slow. Why do you argue instead of actually wanting to improve your product?

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LEGEND ,
Jan 09, 2014 Jan 09, 2014

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Millions of users are running Photoshop without seeing it run slow. When we help customers who say it runs slow, we always find something on their system responsible for the slowdown.

Again, we'd like to help you with your slow system, but that needs another topic (because it is not related to this topic), and we need more information to help you track down the cause.

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Adobe Community Professional ,
Jan 11, 2014 Jan 11, 2014

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Corin, you should take Mr.Cox’ advice, you are not likely to get better when it comes to Photoshop.

And your claim is in itself pretty much non-descript.
Maybe check out
http://helpx.adobe.com/photoshop/kb/o...

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New Here ,
Jun 06, 2014 Jun 06, 2014

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A stronger Blur Tool is definitely needed. It would be a shame to limit a tool's potential simply because it was intended for one specific use.

An option would be to add the functionality of a strong blur tool as a setting for the Mixer Brush. This would make the Mixer Brush more versatile, and leaves the Blur Tool as it is for subtle retouching, if that is how you want it to remain.

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Explorer ,
Jun 06, 2014 Jun 06, 2014

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Of course the blur tool should continue to offer a range of strengths, but I cannot think of a good reason why it should not be much more powerful at the top end.

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New Here ,
Aug 24, 2014 Aug 24, 2014

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I also find the weakness in the blur tool to be baffling - and saying it's intended for "subtle" retouching as a way to explain its built in limitation sounds as absurd as limiting color saturation to 10% and saying that's all it was intended for. It doesn't take much imagination to realize that if you make it adjustable through a wider range then the "user" can decide what they want too use it for and adjust it to their needs. If the user only wants a "subtle" blur then they simply adjust it to where they need it. I have to take the photo I want to blur from Photoshop over to Aperture where they have a fully functional and totally adjustable blur tool that actually blurs. Photoshop doesn't really have a fully functional "blur" tool at the moment and since it apparently wasn't intended to be one they should call it something else and make a real one or just copy the one that Aperture has which is great.

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