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I'm trying to find the easiest way to emulate pencil blending in Photoshop. While there are a lot of tutorials and methods for smooth digital blending, I would like to maintain the grainy textured blending of real media.

One app that does this well is Artrage. The blender tool blends tone like a frosted blur, maintaining the textured finish of graphite on paper. The downside is that Artrage does not support 16-bit imagery ATOW. See image:

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I have tried to mimic this tool in Photoshop with the Mixer brush tool and various settings. Unfortunately, my attempts end up looking smudgy and lose a lot of texture. Also, to get anything like a realistic blend, I have to draw very carefully.

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Is there an effective way to simulate realistic pencil blending with texture in Photoshop?

Please Note: I want to avoid adding texture layer overlays to my drawing. Any alternate use of the Mixer Brush or brush presets are welcome!

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Mixer Brush tool is the best option you're going to have. Be sure to use a Pencil Brush though since it doesn't look like you currently are.

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Since we're going to be rubbing our lead I'll use a 9B, nice and soft.

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Alright, now we need to rub and blend. See in that top screenshot? Pencils Mixer Brush. If you're on the regular Brush it'll look empty, but switch to Mixer Brush and like magic we get:

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Now those do, things, but not really what I personally think of when Blending. You're free to experiment with them though. I prefer settings along the lines of:

Wetness: 1-5 Load: 10-30 Mix: 0

*Note: This is a different drawing cause I messed up screenshotting

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