you can fly!? Learning to paint with PD Particles:

Fade Last Action

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Here's a great tool: Fade last action.

It' can be found in the Filter menu, but don't let this fool you. It's not only meant for filters.

Whenever you do something that draws or changes colors, you might say to yourself something like "Hm, I like the size and dimensions of what I just did, but I wish it wasn't so strong and harsh, less intense, more subtle!"

Fading the last action does exactly that: it reduces the intensity of the most recent action. If you paint a brush stroke with a very opaque airbrush, for example,  and wished it was less opaque, less intense, then this is the tool to try.

We also call it 'interactive undo', because in some way it is like undo'ing, but not altogether. You can fade between 0% undone to 100% undone.

Take for example the wet Tempera brush, and plaster it all over the image. Perhaps with a blue color, so as to make it a sky.

And then we'd like to give it a little more of a faint appearance, perhaps more like translucent watercolor or acquarelle.

Fade the last action, and you'll be able to reduce the intensity of the just-painted effect. Note that I had to paint the whole sky in a single stroke without letting go of the mouse button. Only the last action, i.e. the most recent brush stroke, can be faded.
Of course, we could have done this in several steps too, with smaller, incremental brush strokes, and faded them separately. But the result would be different, and it would take longer to do so.

Now, select a particle brush, such as the dark Winterbranches.

note: you can find additional presets of Particle brushes (Optipustics) in the Dogwaffle freebies section.

These winter branches may appear a little bit too opaque, especially if we want to have a first row of them to appear 'in the back', i.e. at a far distance. They should fade more into the background color. That can be done in various ways, such as checking the Fog flag in the Particle tab's bottom, or by checking the Tinted flag. In both cases we'd have to remember to set that flag before we paint.

A similar effect can be reached after the fact by fading the last action. It's not exactly the same of course, but it often will do just fine for a quick dabble.

Perhaps you're a webmaster and you need to whip together a quick background image for a nordic skiing client. Considering that you'll probably apply additional fog effects or other transforms in Photoshop or other imaging tools it's probably not worth wasting tons of time and thought on going beyond perfection at this stage ;-)

Here we fade it to about half intensity. Suddenly it appears as if the branches were in a misty fog, thus perhaps farther away.
Change a few parameters in the Particles tab, to preare for another row of winter branches that apear closer now:

- use Shrinking Lines so they start thicker
- increase Lifespan or split more often to make them longer/taller

Paint the second row of winterbranches slightly below and also in part overlapping and above. The darker, more solid appearance will make it easily  look like these bushes are closer.

Finally, we can take this image to another image editor, by Clipboard or saved to file.
Here's an example, where we further processed it in PD Pro to turn it into an animation:
We've added a fog effect in the lower half, and turned it into an animation to add the animated Snowfall effect,
using several sizes and speeds for far and close snowflakes and an alpha mask to prevent the small, far snow
from appearing in front of the nearby branches.

other movie formats:   AVI  or Quicktime