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I am using  both AP desktop and iPad versions and IMO  both lack any workable paint blending tool.

The smudge comes close to being a functional tool but as you can see in the inserted image, after using a default simple

round soft brush to apply two color strips and attempting to get a nice blend, there appears an edge, Ie wet edge,  which is not what I want.

( The smudge tool has all the default settings running with wet edges not set) 

see first insert.

The paint mix brush is frustrating to use and is really a joke!

I  first saw this paint mixer brush  technology in Photoshop CS6.

The paint mixer brush  was the long awaited solution from Adobe to satisfy the decade long request from all the digital painters who wanted  a blending brush/tool

that actually worked. Well , IMO this offering from Adobe failed miserably.  So complicated to use and did not offer a simple blending solution. I really don't know of

anyone who actually uses the paint mixer brush.  

I was sad to see that Affinity Photo borrowed the Paint mixer idea from Adobe and IMO , this paint mixer brush has to be tweaked to the N th degree for 

little results... Not worth the effort... it  is a joke to use.

Now, the app Procreate offers a simple yet very effective and fun to use smudge tool that does exactly what one would expect a blending brush would do... ie... simply blend colors!


Conclusion: Affinity photo please give us a useful blending tool.,, perhaps  rewriting the present smudge tool to function more effectively... like the Procreate smudge tool.



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For digital painting I always go to Clip studio paint - which has brilliant blending and smudging - I've tried using AP but can't get the results I'm after, although there are some great brushes available from Frankentoon and Daub which are pretty good, just wish you could mix and blend like Clip Studio 


Mac Pro Cheese-grater (Early 2009) 2.93 GHz 6-Core Intel Xeon 48 GB 1333 MHz DDR3 ECC Ram, Sapphire Pulse Radeon RX 580 8GB GDDR5, Ugee 19" Graphics Tablet Monitor Triple boot via OCLP 1.4.3 - Mac OS Monterey 12.7.3, Sonoma 14.1.1 and Mojave 10.14.6

Affinity Publisher, Designer and Photo 1.10.5 - 2.4.0 Betas 2.5.0(2430)







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Thanks Dazmondo77 for your input.

Yes, I have tried Clip Studio paint and do  like it .   Being a Photoshop user for decades , I am actually thrilled with Affinity Photo.  AP so closely matches the UI of photoshop so there is virtually no learning curve.  AP is optimized for the latest OS  and is lightning fast whereas PS has to deal with legacy code which makes it rather bloated...

I love everything about Affinity photo  but just  give us a wonderful blending brush and then AP moves into the realm of a perfect digital painting software.


Right now , I am spending a lot of time on my  IPad Pro , running AP and Procreate and loving the functionality of painting in Procreate which has both great painting and blending brushes.

Procreate  only runs on the Ipad.

Hopefully the creators of Procreate may port the app to the Mac... but the MAC Os  is really falling behind the design curve and needs to do some catch up  development so that OS becomes  hand gesture driven.(which is the case with IOS and windows)

Hopefully the  AFFINITY PHOTO DEV'S  are listening .... AP needs a good functional, simple to use  blending tool ( take a look at Procreate's blender)  and the mixer paint brush IMO  is  completely a wasted effort.


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I don’t understand what you really mean :3_grin: ‘cause I find the smudge tools pretty good. I was a photoshop user since 2.5 (!!) and I know what you mean about failing :4_joy:.

 Looking at your pics I see you are tryin to smudge two big areas with a little brush. in your procreate pic u use a bigger smudge tool, that’s the only difference I see.

I mean, ther’s no ‘default smudge’ in both apps, you need tho choose the right brush to smudge, everytime. If you want a very soft smudged area u need a very large and soft brush.

take a look at my screen:

1. and .2 Two brushstrokes and a large soft brush to smudge;

3. Two hard brushstrokes smudged with THE SAME BRUSH used to paint the first two (and you can see that little signs with unmixed colors)

4. Again painting and smudging with the same brush but working with bigger sizes

5. Color mixing. Thats the way color mixing has to work. You know, in real painting usually you don’t mix colors right on canvas and that is what I’m expecting by a tool like this.


In my 2nd pic , if you smudge with a little hard brush in procreate that’s what happens:2_grimacing:



:14_relaxed:just my two cents



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Okay, a preamble before I tell you what I have found.

I use blending a lot in my artwork and what I previously found with the AP smudge tool is that it did a relatively OK job on large areas of blending but didn't do well on any blending

with a brush size smaller that 75-50 pixels. ( which I need)

 Notpill's  response  to my query about a better  AP blender sent me back to AP to see if I was missing something... well yes... indeed.

What was holding back the performance of the smudge tool was the type of brush it was set to.

Any brush setting with a texture or/and grain  produced an OK blend for large areas but fell short of anything acceptable for smaller blend areas  <75 pixels.

The solution, I found, was to make sure that the smudge tool was using a brush that had no built in texture or grain.. ie. use the basic set of brushes.

For the IPAD version of AP: I found that the Basic> large Round Brush  works the best

For the Desktop version of AP: I found that the  Basic> Round light brush works best.

Of course you have to you have to play with width, flow and strength settings.

So there you have it.. Buried within the AP toolset is a wonderful Blender for digital painting!

Now the smudge tool works perfectly and can stand next to Procreate's blender.

The first image is something I did in AP on the Ipad, with the basic >large round brush as the blending tool. ( okay, I got carried away by the fun of using my newly found AP blender)

The second image done on the Mac desktop using the AP round light brushes.

Sullyman, I tried your brushes and although they worked well,  the effects were not quite what I was looking for ,, but thanks anyways!

Notpill, I too broke into digital painting using PS 2.5... and if I recall, didn't have layers... which came  in version 3.. if I remember correctly.



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Hey Gregory, happy to see you solved your issues :)
I must say, I never blend with smudge tools in my work, I like to blend in a more traditional way, but knowing the tools is part of the fun :D


Notpill, I too broke into digital painting using PS 2.5... and if I recall, didn't have layers... which came  in version 3.. if I remember correctly.

Yeah i think ur right, I remember the splash screen with that golden frame and the brush and palette floating in the sky :D ...1992, wow!

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You can assign a brush type to the smudge brush/or any other brush by ;F13D9803-B93A-4FE1-B281-1C74E22F3305.thumb.png.9767fc1580ca506992613a5c7133084a.png

1st. Selecting the type of painting brush you want, in this case, I want to select from the BASIC brush options the round brush.

2nd. Then select the smudge tool and at the bottom tray select more.

3rd  In  the new dialogue box , select Associated tool and from the fly out choose smudge brush.

now whenever you go back and forth from the painting brush to the smudge brush, the smudge brush will default to the  BASIC round brush.

As I said before this can be done for your painting brush as well.


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  • 2 years later...

HI Josh,

Greetings!   I have tried the pixel moshpit smudge brushes... and they are okay but don't give me the immediate  airbrush look that I am after but I find I have to "work" these moshpit brushes to get the airbrush look.

Here is what works for me.... to achieve the polished airbrush look that I am after in my digital paintings.

For painting and blending I use a basic brush with the following adjusted settings.... basically, I simply adjust the flow settings for 4 versions of the basic brush. 

both painting and blending....

 The trick in blending with these brushes is to brush in a short circular motion.... works like a charm...

Also, a hidden treasure with the painting brushes along with the eraser brushes is that the Opacity settings for each of the brushes is hardwired to the numbers above the letters on the keyboard. So #1 gives 10% opacity setting , #2 gives 20% opacity setting, etc all the way up to # 0 which gives you full 100% opacity on your chosen brush....

So working with the 4 basic brushes listed below and the keyboard shortcuts.... really gives me great flexibility in digital painting.

Oh yes , I do use other brushes but mainly rely on these four basic brushes and their settings for the bulk of my painting.

Good luck with your painting!





Edited by Gregory-CJ
added more explanation
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