The New Brush-Stroke Smoothing Feature in Photoshop CC 2018: It’s Not For Every Situation December 31, 2017 21:29 18 Comments

As you’ve upgraded from Photoshop CC 2017 to CC 2018, you may have noticed a few differences with regard to using your standard brush tool and your mixer brushes.  There are changes to the brush presets panel, allowing users to manage brush presets more quickly and easily, and there’s also a change to the way brush presets are saved - all of the options-bar settings are now included in the brush preset.  These are important changes that we’ll be looking at more closely in future posts, but I want to focus here on another change that was built into CC 2018 called "brush stroke smoothing." 

What this does is to allow for drawing smoother, less jittery lines.  As you can see in the sample below, the path of the stroke is somewhat smoother with this feature on.  I can see how this might be helpful in some cases - creating line drawings, cartoons, signatures - but for the most part, I find this addition to be an annoyance for the kind of painting I like to do.

For one thing, it changes the way my mixer brushes look and work.  For another, it requires a lot more processing, which further slows down a tool that can already be a bit on the slow side.  What I’ve done - and what I’ll recommend you do - is to disable this feature by setting the amount of smoothing to zero.  Early on using CC 2018, every time you switched from one tool preset to another, you would need to reset the smoothing to zero, which was an inconvenience - or uncheck and lock the “smoothing” setting in the brush settings panel.  But it seems that Photoshop now remembers the smoothness settings for the various brush tools (e.g. the brush tool, the pencil tool and the mixer brush tool).

I would think Adobe would be well advised to make zero-smoothing the default setting, allowing users to add this when desired.  Hopefully, we won’t have to wait too much longer for that to happen.