The Mixer Brush
Certainly one of my most used tools.
prerequisite: Tablet - can’t really use a mouse
Some love the smoother skin and some hate it. Even if you hate it, this can be sued the clean up dirty floors, take wrinkles out of material, and at least clean up underarms. I wasn’t a fan of smooth ‘Barbie’ skin until I realized I wanted to create art and not just pictures. Reality isn’t the goal for me.
The magic is in the Mixer Brush...last selection in the brush tool. It takes a lot of practice, like anything else, but it will smooth the skin and even let you contour it to change the shape if you want by adjusting shadows. I've gotten good enough that I can actually do some dodge and burn buy pulling lighter areas into the darker areas around it and vice versa. Don’t try doing this when you first start out, it’ll just get messy. I can’t emphasize enough that this takes a while to develop the skill to get great results.
Once you select the brush, set the color to something average on the skin...not light or dark, something in the middle. Then, put the bush down and start to just wiggle it in place and you'll see the area of the brush start to blend. Typically I have it large enough for the area I want to blend, but you'll get a feel for it. If you start to small things will look blocky. If you start to big everything will look the same over a wide area. You'll start to actually do some strokes and you'll see how you can more light and dark areas into each other. If you need to blend near an edge, just make sure you move the brush in the direction of the edge and that often keeps the two areas unblended together.
This works to clean studio floors too. And under arms and especially the wrinkles around arm pits.
Below you can download this image as a sample to edit from. As with all image we provide for practice, it is not to be shared or published except to the FB group of students when you would like to show off your accomplishments.
Here are my settings for the Mixer Brush. I do select a color that is an average color of what I’m going to work with. like skin or floor. Don’t hesitate to explore changing any settings to fit your developing style.