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Corel Painter X : Drawing People - Self-Portrait (part 2) - Mix and Match

5/21/2013 4:53:25 AM
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2. Mix and Match

I really like the colors in the scarf, and I can make them into a color set by dragging a lasso selection loosely around that area (nobody wants a tight scarf) and then using the Color Sets menu option to make a New Color Set from Selection. I added a couple of useful colors that are not present in the scarf (white and bright red) by choosing each of them in the color wheel and clicking the Add Color icon at the bottom of the Color Sets Palette. Figure 4 shows this color set, as well as a great Painter feature we haven’t worked with yet, the Color Mixer. Incidentally, if the color set looks a bit different, it’s because I turned off the grid of white lines that normally separate the color swatches. Just toggle the Show Grid command in the Color Sets menu.

Figure 4. Welcome to the Color Mixer Palette.

The Color Mixer is available as part of the Colors Palette in the Window menu. It functions much like a traditional mixing area on an artist’s palette: blobs of paint are placed next to each other, and a brush or palette knife is used to mix them partially or blend them completely. Then the brush is loaded with a color or a combination of colors that can be applied to the canvas. Most of the tools at the bottom of the Color Mixer will be familiar to you, but a couple of them need to be explained. The Brush icon can apply the current color and also mix colors already on the mixer pad. If Dirty Brush mode is enabled, the mixing brush will begin with the current color and blend it with the colors on the pad. The Eyedropper tool, as expected, samples a color from the mixer pad and makes it the current color for painting. Now here’s the interesting part: the eyedropper with the circle at its tip can sample more than one color. For maximum effect, click it on a part of the pad where two or more colors meet. So why is this exciting? There are a couple of Brush categories that can paint with more than one color at a time. I’m talking about Artists’ Oils and (new in Painter X) RealBristle Brushes.

Take a few minutes to play around with the Color Mixer and some of the Artists’ Oils and RealBristle Brush variants. Did I mention you can save not only the colors created on the mixer, but also the entire mixer pad? Load the mixer pad I’ll be using for this project from the Palettes and Libs folder on the CD. It’s called PurpleRedOrange. While you’re at it, help yourself to the custom palette I made for this project, called Ink-Oil-Real, shown in Figure 5. It includes, from left to right, the following variants (category names are also shown):

  • Calligraphy > Dry Ink

  • Pens > Scratchboard Tool (smooth pen and ink for details)

  • Artists’ Oils > Clumpy Brush

  • RealBristle Brushes > Real Oils Short

  • Impasto > Smeary Varnish (back by popular demand from the JohnG painting)

  • RealBristle Brushes > Real Flat (all RealBristle Brush variant names start with “Real”—I don’t think this name means it’s very flat)

Figure 5. Clumpy and smeary and (like) real.

Figure 6 has some test strokes made with the Artists’ Oil and RealBristle variants from my custom palette. The two vertical strokes in red and mauve were made with the Clumpy Brush. I like the random variation in spacing of the bristles. That’s what “clumpiness” means in Painter’s terminology. Notice that the position of colors in a stroke depends on the direction used to apply it. Also notice in curved strokes that the width of the brush is unchanged. The RealBristle Brush variants, on the other hand, are capable of a variety of stroke shapes, based not only on the shape of the brush but also on response to the tilt and bearing of your Wacom pen. The purple and brown strokes were made with Real Oils Short. The orange and yellow strokes were done with Real Flat.

Figure 6. This is only a test.

Testing Brushes

Before you begin working with a brush category or variant that’s unfamiliar to you, create a new document for testing it under a variety of situations: paint over different backgrounds using different colors, pressure, and direction. Make some long strokes to see if pigment fades out. Drag a stroke over changing colors to observe the smeariness of the brush. See what happens when you change the value of controls in the Property Bar, then use Restore Default Variant in the Brush Selector Bar menu.

I made the test canvas in Figure 7 to explore the behavior of RealBristle Brush strokes when dragged across different colored backgrounds in different directions. Both of the variants I’m using pick up color at the beginning of the stroke and carry it along. The effect is stronger with Real Oils Short, due to its much higher values for Bleed and Blend. I’m quite liking the look of this test canvas and thinking it could come in handy when we create some abstract paintings in a later lesson.

Figure 7. Bleeding and blending.

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