tweak your marks
Some tools make marks, but these Photoshop options transform the marks you’ve made, often with surprising results
1 Blur tool
This tool is located about halfway down the Tool window. Right-clicking it will reveal the Smudge (a hand with index finger out) and Sharpen (an isosceles triangle) tools. With one of these selected, you have the ability to evenly soften edges, smudge pixels around and increase edge contrast, respectively.
In addition to those three tools, you’ll find an array of options in the Filter drop-down menu at the top. There are far too many for me to cover completely, so I’ll just introduce you to some of my favourites…
3 Filter gallery
Opening the Filter Gallery will bring up six categories of Filter, all of which transform the desired image or layer in some way. The preview window will show how each setting affects the image, so just click around and see what tickles your pickle.
4 Blur types
Gaussian and Motion Blur can both be found under the Blur submenu. Gaussian is a smooth, noise-reducing blur option that softens either the entire canvas or a selected area. The Motion option will smear the layer or selection at one specific angle. To adjust the angle, either rotate the line that’s bisecting the circle in the window or simply type numbers into the Angle box. Adjusting the Distance slider at the bottom will change the intensity of the blur.
5 Maximum and Minimum
Two other tools I use on a regular basis are Maximum and Minimum, and they can be found in the Other submenu at the bottom of the list. Simply put, Maximum will reduce the size of your shapes and lines, while Minimum will increase it. Say you’ve just drawn some clouds in the background of a sketch, but feel the line is so heavy that they’re getting too much attention. By going to Filter> Other> Maximum, you can make all of the lines on that layer thinner.