just dont use the tool anymore. Period...get away from it. Laarn to do paint without it. I dont and never used the smudge tool. I never felt like i had complete control over the painting, it wouldnt look good or feel right when blending. It can be done easily without one. Using pen pressures and different combos of hard and soft brushes to paint with. Youll just need to learn to paint it out and use other brushes to blend things out instead of smudging it. ill do my paintings with only using the brush tool. You dont need to smudge tool at all. it lame imo.
I used it when I first started out with digital programs. Over time my style started to become a lot more 'painterly' and the smudge tool makes you lose values in the colors and doesn't mix with my style well. Instead I started mimicking 'smudging' by just choosing an in-between color (or several of them.) It's pretty difficult to get rid of habits or change them, but it'll be fine once you start and get used to a new method.
Using the smudge tool in an early phase often results in lack of colorvariation. In skintones there should be green hues, pink hues, greyish tones, etc. Often you see an artist basing a portrait on 3 colors, just highlights, midtones and darks. But when aiming for a realistic painting, you need to add a lot more colors. Smudging doesn't add these colors.
Now as to regarding this topic, I don't really know what to say. Stop using it Have your mum or roommate hit you every time they see you using your smudgetool, I dunno. And don't think it's always bad, I know some great painters that use smudgetool, but they use it more often to stretch their colors, rather then blending colors together. With stretching I mean they already have a nice variety of colors, and they want to expand that palet, for example for rocks, using the smudge tool at a very high percentage. Do as you wish, I would advice you not to mind people who find it amateurish, because if you can create great paintings using the smudgetool, why not? But I would suggest getting down the essentials first, and leave the smudgetool out for now. Maybe it makes its return later
I think it's all a matter of preference. You could call it your technique. Some artists advise others to build guide lines to draw a face. A oval, with a vertical line down the middle of the face, and a horizontal line across the eye mark. Some people stick by this method religiously, and will tell others they are "incorrect" for starting on something like the eye and building outward. I think as long as you are satisfied with the finished piece there is no need to criticize it. Don't fix what doesn't need fixing right? Then again different techniques help build skill, but ultimately I think we all tend to have our preferences for techniques. I myself don't use guide lines for drawing figures. I don't draw a guide line center of balance, direction of movement, I just draw. I visualize the shape, and I just draw it. Sometimes I will make a few very small sketches to get a visual of what I want as the final, bigger product. Anyways, I don't think there is any "right or wrong" in this shading technique, just different ways of doing things. Btw, have you considered Paint Tool SAI for your blending, works much better than photoshop. It has a great flow to it. ^___^
I see what you mean and your point is very good. You see, I am curious when it comes to new things ( I have just started painting in photoshop with my tablet ) and always want to test out various techniques before I choose one. I felt that smudging is quite good when it comes to colouring the skin and so on!! Thanks for the comment ^^!