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Corel Painter X : Basic Drawing - Send In the Clones

4/25/2013 3:17:29 AM
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If you’ve completed all the drawing exercises in this lesson, you’ve earned a treat. I don’t mean eating the pear—but it was delicious (tossed with lettuce, celery, walnuts, and bleu cheese dressing). No, I’m referring to Painter’s incredible feature for turning photos into drawings and paintings, not by clicking on filter effects, but created one brush stroke at a time! And, yes, you’re the one applying the brush strokes.

Taking Responsibility

Actually, you can get Painter to do all the work while you take a coffee break. Check out Painter X’s new Smart Stroke Brush category, used in conjunction with the new Auto-Painting Palette. But that’s not art, just a parlor trick. I use Painter to help me prepare an image and provide some shortcuts, but I reserve the right to make each stroke myself. Yes, that’s where I really draw the line!

We’ve been using only the Tracing Paper feature of cloning so far. You can turn any variant into a Cloner Brush by enabling the Clone Color check box on the color picker. Its icon is a rubber stamp. Figure 1 shows Clone Color on, with the usual color selection area faded to indicate it’s not available. For the current brush variant, then, all color information will be coming from the Clone Source: hue, saturation, and value (brightness). You’ll see how this works in a minute.

Figure 1. Color info will come from the Clone Source.

Let’s make a clone drawing. Open the pear image again, and use the Quick Clone command. Choose Pastels > Square Hard Pastels 10 and the Charcoal Paper texture used earlier. Enable Clone Color and apply strokes following the contour of the pear (that’s generally a good practice whatever medium you use). Make Tracing Paper more opaque as you go so you can see your work. Include a few strokes under the pear and in the background. Does your drawing look something like Figure 2? How cool is that?

Figure 2. Pastel clone drawing.

Where Are the Clones?

Cloner brushes have always been the most exciting feature of Painter, in my not so humble opinion. There are 38 brush styles to choose from. Version X provides a handy way to jump to the Cloner category instantly. Choose the Cloner tool in the Toolbox. (Look for the brush icon with a little cross-hair indicating a clone source.) Its roommate is the Rubber Stamp tool, used for point-to-point cloning: with your Option/Alt key engaged, click on the pixel area you want as the source. Release the modifier key, and you can paint from that source to anywhere else on the image.

Pick a Pepper

This pepper has such a fascinating shape that I took several shots of different “poses,” some in bright sunlight and some indoors on a semi-gloss gray background—my Wacom tablet. Let’s work with ChiliSunlit1.jpg, shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. This is not a pear.

Painter X introduces a way to prepare an image to enhance the effectiveness of cloning, based on the type of clone you plan to make. These choices are found in the new Underpainting Palette (found under Window > Show Underpainting), shown in Figure 4. I chose a new color scheme optimized for chalk drawing. The result, in Figure 5, is a less saturated, warmer tonality. Make a Quick Clone of this version, and then select File > Save As to choose the RIFF file format. Now you can preserve the stages of your drawing with Iterative Save.

Figure 4. The Underpainting Palette.

Figure 5. Prepared pepper.

This time you’ll use an approach I call “scribble, smear, and pick.” It includes my choice of texture, Sandy Pastel Paper. Import it now, or you can select the same variants I’m using:

  • Pastels > Tapered Pastel 10

  • Blenders > Pointed Stump 10

  • Chalk > Sharp Chalk

Begin with the Tapered Pastel, using Clone Color. Make rough scribbles over most of the pepper, guided by the contours of the shape. Include the cast shadow and some of the background. The top image in Figure 6 shows this stage. Switch to the Blender and smooth out some (not all) of your scribbled strokes. Look closely at this stage with Tracing Paper turned off, comparing it to the source image. Decide which details you want to bring out. Pick out those details with Sharp Chalk, using Clone Color.

Figure 6. Scribble, smear, and pick.

The final stage shows more detail on the stem and the small highlight on the upper part of the pepper near the stem. One very subtle but important element is the thin rim of reflection between the core shadow on the lower right of the pepper and the cast shadow. This could not be made with Clone Color, so I disabled that option, selected a light color, and drew it in with Sharp Chalk.

Repetitive Pepper

Prepare to make a pencil clone of the pepper. Go back to the original bright color scheme and use a Grainy Cover Pencil variant with Clone Color enabled. Change brush size as needed. Try a technique similar to the crosshatch contours you used on the pear , allowing quite a bit of white paper to show through. Start with a quick outline of all the shapes, including the shadows.

Quick-Change Artist

To change only the size of your brush, it’s not necessary to choose another variant. Just use the bracket keys: the left bracket ([) makes the brush smaller, the right bracket (]) makes it larger. This is especially handy when cloning because you must enable Clone Color every time you switch to a different variant.

Figure 7 shows the development of my pencil clone sketch. Notice the outlines around highlight shapes in the early stage. Playful scribbles are mixed with crosshatching, building up tone in the shadows and darker parts of the pepper. Your sketch will have its own style and character—and spicy flavor.

Figure 7. Hot and spicy.

I’ll return to cloning techniques in future lessons, but I just couldn’t wait to introduce you to this powerful feature. No offense to the fabulous folks at Adobe, but Painter’s Cloner brushes leave Photoshop in the dust!

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