What could be more 'refreshing' than a shower of rain? Well, we may not all agree on that. However....
In my never ending quest to get Photoshop to do what I want it to, I've been trying a number of things to provide blending or, blurring. I'm always attempting to soften edges in my illustrations. So, one thing I do is to use the blur tool and run it along edges. Simple. And, it works - a bit. I know I could take this a lot farther by simply doing edges at a very low opacity. Someday I'm going to do a piece where I take this to an extreme, maybe a ghost for Halloween. Or, maybe just to create a really fuzzy, atmospheric piece - just for it's own sake. It's coming. Someday. In the meantime, I've learned recently about applying the Gaussian Blur to individual layers and I used it quite a bit in the piece above. I love it! Here's a small section from another piece. This is not a single layer and not from the piece above (sorry) but I think it will show you what I mean.
Start with a layer. (Or in this case a section.) Go to Filter then, Blur and then to Gaussian Blur. This can be applied to a single layer in Photoshop so long as that layer is selected. You will then get a window that looks like this:
Next, you apply the blur. The thing I really love about doing a Gaussian Blur in this way is that you are given a little slider, so you can chose the amount of blurring that looks right for you. Notice above the slider (or Radius) is at 0.1 pixels. This is the starting point, so there is no blurring yet. But take a look at this!
Here (above) is what the blur looks like at 4.0 pixels. It's so nice to be able to blend and soften with a couple of clicks! There are still many times when I prefer to blend by hand, at low levels of opacity. For example, the sky in the piece at the top of this post was done that way. But, I used the Gaussian Blur on individual layers at very low levels and I like it a lot! The key, for me, is low levels. But, it's definitely something to play with - different levels for different situations, I'm sure!
I hope this little piece of Photoshop information is helpful to my fellow Digital Baby Steppers!