Hey, guys. I know that the Smudge tool is reviled in digital painting circles, and for good reason. However, I'm just realizing that it can be used for good instead of evil. You just have to handle it right.
The problem with the Smudge tool is that it pushes the colors around in recognizable ways. But if you use the right brushes with the Smudge tool, it becomes a way to texture and/or blend your paintings, particularly in the early stages. The trick is to use scattering. If you use about 40% scatter and a fairly low count value, the tool with do just that--scatter. Instead of creating recognizable streaks of smudged color, the tool produces interesting textures and blending. You can produce convincing watercolor-like effects with certain brushes, for instance. You just have to be careful not to overdo it. Everything in moderation.