Painter 12 for Photographers: Creating painterly images step by step

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Corel's Painter 12 offers photographers a suite of creative tools to produce stunning painterly images. Written specifically with the photographer's needs in mind, this book takes the reader step by step through the complex tools and features of the latest version of this powerful painting software. Starting with the basics and moving on to cover brushes, textures, cloning, toning, and other effects, Martin Addison will help readers master the techniques needed to transform photographs into beautiful works of art. Packed with vivid images to illustrate what can be achieved with the right skills and know-how, this guide will inspire those new to Painter as well as seasoned pros.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780240522715
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 11/21/2011
  • Pages: 376
  • Sales rank: 540,061
  • Product dimensions: 9.70 (w) x 7.64 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Painter 12 for Photographers

Creating painterly images step by step
By Martin Addison

Focal Press

Copyright © 2012 Martin Addison
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-240-52272-2

Chapter One

What's New in Painter 12

There is so much new in Painter 12 that I have devoted a separate chapter to cover just the key changes. The interface has a new more modern look, with tabbed palettes and panels and a new customizable Toolbox.

There are of course the new brushes, three new brush categories including Real Watercolor and Real Wet Oils which replicate traditional art materials. Gel brushes can use the new merge modes as in Photoshop, as can the six new Airbrushes. There are several new control panels for brushes to add further customization. Mirror and Kaleidoscope painting has been added and is something to play with and have fun.

Cloning has received a new look with a new Clone Source panel and new ways of working. Custom palettes, New Image and Open dialog boxes are improved as are Workspaces, Media Libraries, Smart Blur, Layer enhancements, performance improvements and so much more.

The Painter 12 Interface

The most obvious change apparent in Painter 12 is the interface, it has had a major redesign as you can see above, the palettes (individual palettes are now called panels) look more modern and are stacked in tabbed form. This allows the individual panels to be stacked in groups (called palettes), which gives a greater degree of customization, so important when there are over 50 panels and palettes in Painter 12.

The Toolbox has been redesigned with new icons and, rather more important, you can now choose from several display styles, vertical or horizontal and in one column or two. The shortcut to the Papers is on the Toolbox, but the shortcuts for patterns, nozzles, gradients, looks and weaves now have their own panel shown in Figure 1.4.

A new addition is the Navigator panel which can be used to move around the picture when it is enlarged and includes the controls for Tracing Paper, Impasto, Grids and Selections which were previously on the edge of the open document. It includes several options for changing the display on screen plus what was previously in the Info palette.

The Library palettes have been redesigned and have been split in two, with the active item in one panel with all the controls, while the libraries are in another panel. This means that several libraries can be included and the previews can now be seen. Organizing and creating your own library is also much easier. Additional papers, nozzles, etc. have been added to the panels. Paper Libraries can also be chosen from the flyout in the Papers panel, highlighted in Figure 1.5.


Every new version of Painter brings speed and quality improvements and Painter 12 is no exception, it supports all the latest Windows and Mac operating systems including 64 bit support for Windows and multi-core processing for brushes. Painter 12 also renders smoother looking images when zooming in and is faster when zooming out.

Palettes and Panels

The Open dialog is much improved with the file structure on the left and large previews of RIFF and JPEG files on the right; the preview shown is on Windows 7 and may vary on earlier versions or different platforms.

The New Image dialog box has been upgraded and now allows more options and customizing including selecting the paper color and paper texture.

The Temporal Colors floating palette has been introduced to allow easy access to colors without the need to have the standard Colors panel on screen. You can bring it on screen with the shortcut Ctrl/CmdAlt/Opt1.

Smart Blur has been added to the Effects menu, this softens the image by smoothing out colors and details.

The Help files have been redesigned and are web based to ensure that they are completely up-to-date, a copy is also installed on your computer to use when off-line, they are much improved on the previous files and well worth checking when you get stuck.

New Ways of Cloning

Cloning has changed in Painter 12 and there is no need to keep the original source picture open on the desktop. If you save as a RIFF file the clone image will remember the document from which you were cloning and it can be saved and opened again with the information intact. There is also a new panel where you can see what your cloning source is. This makes it much easier to clone from multiple sources; as you can see in Figure 1.9, there are four clone sources active and you can easily switch from one to another.


Workspaces have been improved and there are six sample workspaces created by Painter users available to download from the Corel website (see the Customizing brushes chapter for details on how to download extra content). I recommend that you download these and also look at the videos in which the Painter artists explain the workspaces they have created. They will almost certainly give you ideas on how to create your own workspace. Remember that brushes and palettes created in one workspace will not be available in another unless you manually copy the content into your system files.

Brush Reorganization

Selecting Brushes

The method of selecting brushes has changed with a new Brush Selector panel which makes brushes quicker to select. You can customize the view so that you see the brushes as lists or as icons and dab types. You can select the options in the Brush Selector panel options menu.

Recent Brushes

The Recent Brushes display replaces the Tracker palette and is shown both on the Properties bar and at the top of the Brush Selector. It is great improvement which works well and I find very useful.

New Brush Control Panels

There are several new control panels in addition to those already mentioned.

The Brush Calibration panel (Window>Brush Control Panels>Brush Calibration) lets you calibrate individual brush variants to match your stroke strength in the same way as Brush Tracking does for all the brushes. For that particular brush, this setting will override the one set in the Preferences dialog.

The Dab Profile panel consists of the display from the Painter 11 Size palette and will update as you change the settings in any of the other panels.

The Computed Circular panel lets you change the settings for any brush which uses this brush dab.

Brushes Reorganization

The brushes have been reorganized in Painter 12, the ever-growing list of categories has been reduced and several categories combined to remove some of the smaller ones. A table showing where the brushes have gone is shown below.

Custom Palettes

Custom Palettes have been upgraded and are now much more flexible. The Shift key must be held when dragging icons to a palette, which makes it less prone to unintentional creation.

New Brushes

There are always new brushes in every new Painter program, but this upgrade has a veritable feast with two major new natural media brush categories, a new Gel brush category, six new Airbrushes plus several new panels for customizing the brushes. In addition the brush categories have undergone a complete update with both the way they are selected and the organization of the brush categories.

Real Watercolor

This new watercolor brush category joins the Watercolor and Digital Watercolor to offer yet more natural media characteristics. There is a dedicated control panel in which you can customize the brush, water, pigment and wind force to change how the brushes react with the paper.

Real Wet Oils

The Real Wet Oils flow as wet oil and are similar to the Artist Oils brushes. This category also has its own control panel.

Gel Brushes

The Gel category allows the brushes to use the new merge mode and stroke opacity options which have been added to the General panel. These allow the brushes to paint using blending modes as in Photoshop which includes some very useful modes such as Lighten and Darken. These modes can also be used on many other brushes in Painter, not just this category.


The new Digital Airbrushes also use the new merge modes and are similar to the airbrush in Photoshop. These brushes are very useful for painting on layer masks as they include soft or hard edge variants, most of the brushes build up opacity with each stroke.

Mirror Painting

Mirror painting mode allows you to create a symmetrical painting, at first sight this looks more suitable for painting from scratch rather than using photographs; however, a closer inspection reveals quite a lot of photographic opportunities. What is certain is that Mirror painting and its companion Kaleidoscope painting is a lot of fun and that must be a good thing!

When Mirror painting is used as a clone it doesn't mirror the picture, it mirrors the brush strokes but the picture remains the same. What makes it interesting is when you use a brush with very distinctive marks; here are a few to try:

Palette Knives>Loaded Palette Knife.

Liquid Ink>Depth Bristle and Graphic Camel.

Artists>Impressionist and Auto Van Gogh.

F/X>Furry brush and Distorto to blend and pull.

This is definitely a feature to play with, I had a lot of fun creating the picture above. It started with a picture of a fairground at night, I worked on it with the Loaded Palette Knife and Impressionist brush on several layers then pulled the shapes out with the F/X Distorto and finally added a few brush marks and pulled them into a face. The original picture and some of the layers are shown in Figure 1.19.

Kaleidoscope Painting

Kaleidoscope painting works like Mirror painting, but introduces more mirror planes to the image. The Mirror and Kaleidoscope tool is in the Toolbox near the bottom. Click the tool and in the Properties bar select either Mirror or Kaleidoscope which are the second and third icons from the left. The first icon is the reset tool as usual. Set the number of planes in the first option box and rotate the grid in the next box if required. The final icon hides the guidelines while painting. Click the brush icon in the toolbox to start painting.

The illustrations in Figure 1.21 show some of the different settings.

Top row from left to right: mirror painting, three and eight plane painting.

Bottom row: Twelve plane, three plane with center point offset and multiple kaleidoscopes in one document.

The images in Figure 1.22 show how this tool can be used to create textured backgrounds as a base for other images.

Chapter Two

First Steps in Cloning

This chapter starts with several simple cloning tutorials to get you started quickly and to help you understand some of the different ways in which pictures can be created from photographs. All the source pictures which you need to use for tutorials throughout the book can be downloaded from

The final tutorial in this chapter is a longer step by step tutorial which starts with a digital photograph and shows how to prepare the picture prior to cloning, the cloning itself, tonal and texture adjustments, through to printing on an inkjet printer.

As you work through the steps you will cover all the main areas in Painter and if you are new to Painter this is a great place to start. More detailed information on the Painter interface and tools can be found in the Painter Basics chapter, while lots more information on brushes are in the Choosing Brushes and Customizing Brushes chapters.

Soft Cloner: A Simple Clone

This first tutorial uses the Soft Cloner from the Cloners brush category, all the brushes in this category are set up for cloning without any adaptation, a good place for a beginner to start. The Soft Cloner is a brush which is used a considerable amount while cloning, as it produces a gentle but accurate copy of the original photograph; apart from using it as the main brush as here, it is valuable to add more detail back into many pictures where the brush being used distorts the original.

1. Open 'Rose petals.'

2. File>Quick Clone, this produces a new document which is empty but is linked to an image of your photograph. It will show an overlay called Tracing Paper which is there to help you start painting, but is not actually part of the picture.

3. Select the Cloners>Soft Cloner brush, size 237 opacity 5%.

4. The Tracing Paper overlay will be active after you create a clone copy, paint in the picture in the center and then turn the Tracing Paper off (Ctrl/CmdT is the keyboard shortcut). The Tracing Paper is very helpful when you first start a picture, but then it obscures your brush strokes so turn if off as soon as you know where to paint. Try turning the paper on and off using the shortcut, which is a toggle action.

5. Paint the rest of the picture very lightly, keep the brush on the paper rather than making lots of separate brush strokes, this helps to keep the picture very smooth. Don't paint right to the edge, leave the outer areas white and allow the color to blend gently into the background.

6. Paint the center again, bringing more color and density to the center of the flower. This brush will add more density every time you paint over an area again and this is why, when making a gentle picture like this, it is better to start off with a large brush at a low opacity to lightly show the entire picture and then build up the areas which are the center of interest.

7. Increase the brush opacity to 20% and paint the main areas once again to get to the density that looks right.


Excerpted from Painter 12 for Photographers by Martin Addison Copyright © 2012 by Martin Addison. Excerpted by permission of Focal Press. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Getting Started in Painter; Chapter 2: First Steps in Cloning; Chapter 3: Choosing Brushes; Chapter 4: Customizing Brushes; Chapter 5: Paper Textures; Chapter 6: Layers and Montage; Chapter 7: Using Color; Chapter 8: Landscape; Chapter 9: Children; Chapter 10: Portraits; Chapter 11: Special Effects; Chapter 12: Printing and Presentation; Index

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