I have tested the hardness on pencil tool and actually is not usable as classic hardness...The hardness on pencil has the capability to expand the stain... and this is could be useful to emulate some bristle effects.
To use in this way is necessary to use the range of hardness >= 80. In fact, in this range is possible to use to modify the shapes of traditional bristle concept to open or close more or minus the points of bristles.
Now, the full range is really not usable in comfortable way, and mainly, for nobody raster brush.
To control this in better way is necessary change the range... what is now [80, 100] should become [0, 100].
To see the figures related on this thread see the bug report:
Pencil tool context usages
Pixel-art and drawing/painting with precision
The pencil tool is considered commonly to *Pixel-art* and *drawing*, precision work and such, but can be used also to *painting*... as is also possible paint with Clone Tool as I have already demonstrated... or rather I don't see a convincing reason why for which the Pencil Tool cannot be used to paint.
On Pixel-art, we use hardness = 100 and the raster brushes are adequately thought for the pixel-art (and for this scope the brush raster are no affected by the hardness), see the *Figure 1* [https://bugzilla.gnome.org/attachment.cgi?id=354880]. Also to eventual Color brushes to *pixel-art*, after my tests, them are usable only above hardness>75, below this value we have strange effects and blur not usable to this specific works, see *Figure 2* [https://bugzilla.gnome.org/attachment.cgi?id=354881].
So for the cases, specifically for the *Pixel-art*, the hardness used is equal 100 (but I supposed because I am not an specialist). To drawing and/or to give precision or details is the same thing, the brush pixel must be hard and don't have blur effects.
Already in June 2016 I have wrote a email to gimp-developers mailing list with an idea to cut this feature of the Pencil Tool... the thread was a long discussion, but in my opinion not focused on my request... well explained by Elle Stone in her comment here: https://mail.gnome.org/archives/gimp-developer-list/2016-June/msg00123.html
Problems with hardness range
To exemplify my idea of usage, I have selected two raster brushes of official and current brush set, the Bristles 01 and Bristles 03 (Media Set).
The hardness effect on the shape transform it in big black block, quickly, and this don't have any practical usage to pixel art, but to painting is possible to think some usage as I am proposing here. The current range is demonstrated on *Figure 3* [https://bugzilla.gnome.org/attachment.cgi?id=354882] and *Figure 4* [https://bugzilla.gnome.org/attachment.cgi?id=354883].
If the range [0, 100] would be equivalent of current [80, 100] is more easy control the variations and increase the usage possibilities with many kind of stains. So, in this case is possible to imagine some creative usage for the hardness on Pencil Tool and mainly to digital painting to emulate some characteristics of bristle brushes, mainly (at moment was what I have able to imagine).
Consistency versus Usability
Is clear that to paintbrush, airbrush, eraser and others the current range of the hardness has a sense and an evident usage... but for the Pencil the case is completely different... we cannot based on the consistency of the other painttools to uphold the same range on Pencil Tool.
Is better think in terms of usability or which is the sense to use a tool with difficult and a short range of usage?
Is clear that is possible to use as is the current status... but with difficult and not in comfortable way.
Also to control it via dynamics has basically the same problems of control it, because the curve must be placed in top and with short range of sensibility, see *Figure 5* [https://bugzilla.gnome.org/attachment.cgi?id=354884].
If is not possible adequate the hardness range of Pencil Tool, for something reasons, I suggest to cut off this feature off Pencil tool and consider basically what is document on official GIMP manual about this painttool [https://bugzilla.gnome.org/show_bug.cgi?id=767916]. If the choice would be this, I think that is more interesting clean completely the sliders of 'hardness' and 'force' of the Tool Options dialog.
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