Macworld Masterclass: Painting with Corel Painter 12

Reproduce the movement and feeling of traditional canvas digitally with help from Corel Painter 12

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  • Painter image Ray Intro
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Intro

The award-winning natural-media emulation software, Corel Painter 12, is a major improvement upon its predecessor with a range of new and tweaked features, including a streamlined interface, aimed at making workflow more intuitive and industrious. Painter 12 adds some essential (Real Watercolour and Real Wet Oil brushes, Clone source palette) and not-so-essential tools (Kaleidoscope painting and Mirror Painting). Here we look at creating a portrait using many of the tools and brushes found in Painter. For professionals and enthusiasts, Painter promises a wide array of brushes, paper textures, paints and more to get the creative juice flowing without getting your hands dirty.

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Next Prev Painter image Ray

The award-winning natural-media emulation software, Corel Painter 12, is a major improvement upon its predecessor with a range of new and tweaked features, including a streamlined interface, aimed at making workflow more intuitive and industrious. Painter 12 adds some essential (Real Watercolour and Real Wet Oil brushes, Clone source palette) and not-so-essential tools (Kaleidoscope painting and Mirror Painting). Here we look at creating a portrait using many of the tools and brushes found in Painter. For professionals and enthusiasts, Painter promises a wide array of brushes, paper textures, paints and more to get the creative juice flowing without getting your hands dirty.

 

Step 2 of 16: Step 1

Choosing an image  Generally, the higher the resolution of the source image the more detail you’ll have to work with when creating your paintings. Photos with contrast and varied colour tones should help enhance your finished image. Additionally, you can tweak the photo in an image editor before opening in Painter.

 

Step 3 of 16: Step 2

Alternatively you can use a stock image, either free or royalty-free, from useful online resources. Stock images are particularly handy when you need to add people, props or scenic backgrounds to composite images to create in Painter. Remember to check the terms and conditions to clarify image usage rights.

 

Step 4 of 16: Step 3

Here we have chosen a jpeg image, which is cropped and has a 300dpi image resolution, ideal for print. In Painter we’ve opened the image and selected Full Screen Mode to reduce screen clutter. Corel offers a selection of workspaces, one familiar to Photoshop users, but here we’re using the default.

 

Step 5 of 16: Step 4

Let’s create a clone of our photo by going to File > Quick Clone. This produces a tracing paper-like layer, which acts as a guide for painting or drawing. There are several ways to clone an image including those found in the Auto-Painting panel. Discard the original photo once your image starts to take shape.

 

Step 6 of 16: Step 5

Painter 12 has a new Clone Source palette, so cloning from more than one image is simpler. Open the clone image to which you want to add a clone source, choose Window > Clone Source, and click Open Image. You can add additional images to build a composite image from which to paint.

 

Step 7 of 16: Step 6

For now let’s stick with a single image. Using the Magnifier found in the tool box, zoom into your photo and select one of the Clone brushes from the Painter Brushes panel. We have chosen the Straight Cloner. You can fine-tune your brush by adjusting factors such as size, opacity and bleed via the property bar.

 

Step 8 of 16: Step 7

Using the photo as a base start drawing, ideally using a graphics tablet to have finer control over stroke and pen pressure. Start with significant features such as eyes, nose and mouth and if you get these wrong you can always start again, tracing less complex areas later.

 

Step 9 of 16: Step 8

The new Photoshop-like Navigator Panel allows users to navigate large images easily when working on details. It displays details such as X and Y cursor coordinates and document size and resolution. You can also rotate the canvas, adjust zoom levels and toggle the tracing paper from the Navigator panel.

 

Step 10 of 16: Step 9

Painter has varied cloning options among its creative tools, such as paints, pens, pencils and crayons. Try mixing cloning types while working on your image. Moreover, you can increase cloner brush sizes and vary opacity when cloning larger areas such as backgrounds or clothing to save time.

 

Step 11 of 16: Step 10

You can select the scratch pad to set brush tracking and calibration; this calculates the pressure and velocity settings for you. However, you can also manually adjust settings by choosing Preferences > Brush Tracking. You can adjust the four sliders to tweak your settings.

 

Step 12 of 16: Step 11

You can create brushes and save variations of the presets – in size, opacity or grain, for example – in the Brush Library panel. This displays brush categories and variants and lets you save brushes you’ve created or modified. You can also input user- created and professional brushes, often offered free on the internet.

 

Step 13 of 16: Step 12

Painter offers a way to mix a vast array of pens, pencils, paints and papers to fuel your creativity, so try combing different brushes and media. For added decoration, a new Kaleidoscope Painting Mode lets you transform basic brushstrokes into a colourful and symmetrical kaleidoscope image.

 

Step 14 of 16: Step 13

Creating layers is a useful way to experiment further without spoiling your image. When you select a layer in the Layers panel, it becomes the target for your new brushstrokes. You can hide, delete and change the opacity of layers. Use the Layer Adjuster tool from the toolbox to adjust layers.

 

Step 15 of 16: Step 14

Corel offers free additional Painter content for both Mac and PC users online, including Brushes, Textures, Patterns, and Selections. Seven workspaces are also available for download aimed at specific users – concept artists, for example. Corel also offers a range of tutorials and help guides online.

 

Step 16 of 16: Step 15

RIFF is the native file format for Corel Painter, which retains the software’s specific elements when saving, such as ensuring Watercolour layers preserve the ‘wet’ capabilities. More popular file formats, such as Photoshop, TIFF and JPEG are available under the Save As option.

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