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Corel Painter X : Graphic Techniques - It is Only a Mask (part 1) - Fancy Schmancy

10/27/2011 4:53:41 PM
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Pixel-based applications like Painter and Photoshop provide several tools for selecting portions of the canvas to accept painted strokes or effects. Whatever isn’t selected is, by definition, masked. You can make selections based on geometric shapes or draw freehand selections around an irregular area using the Lasso tool. A sophisticated selection tool that has no counterpart in traditional media is the Magic Wand, which selects all pixels in a defined color range. Figure 1 shows where the Selection tools are located on the Toolbox. The Rectangular Selection tool is currently active. Its roommates are the Oval Selection tool and the Lasso. Notice the Selection Adjuster tool, which allows you to move or resize a selection marquee.
Figure 1. Selection, selection, selection.


The Select menu offers handy commands for altering and managing selections. There is also a special Library Palette, the Selection Portfolio, with a collection of common (and not-so-common) selections you can simply drag to the canvas. Open the Selection Portfolio by selecting Window > Show Selection Portfolio and load the Lettering selections from the Extras folder in the Painter X application folder. If you’re using an earlier version, choose the heart or star selection from the default portfolio shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Just drag and drop.


When the Ants Come Marching In

An active selection of whatever shape has a moving marquee like an animated dashed line. The cute nickname for this is marching ants. You might want to turn off the marching ants (without losing the selection) to see your work better. The Hide Marquee command in the Select menu has a keyboard shortcut: Shift+Cmd/Ctrl+H.


Once you have a selection, you can paint in it without the need to be careful at the edges—there’s no way you’ll go outside the lines. You can also fill a selection instantly with a solid color, a gradient, or a pattern, using either the Paint Bucket tool or the Fill command in the Effects menu. An especially useful command in the Select menu is Stroke Selection. This will automatically paint the edges of your selection with the current color, using the current brush variant. Yes, that sounds a bit like the Align to Path option.

Fancy Schmancy

Figure 3 has a sampler of creative ways to work with a selection. Here are the techniques used, top row from left to right, then bottom row.

Figure 3. Say “Aaaaa.”


  • Gradient fill.

  • Fill with current color (pink), then Stroke Selection with Impasto > Acid Etch brush.

  • Select > Invert (this makes the selection a mask so it is protected) then paint freely around the letterform with an Artists’ Oil variant.

  • Fill with the current Pattern (Silver Tubing Pen). Then copy and paste to make the item a new layer. Apply Effects > Objects > Create Drop Shadow.

  • Choose Lotus Petals as the current pattern, then Stroke Selection with Pattern Pen Masked (the Pattern Pen category will be discussed shortly).

  • Fill with solid red. For the 3D bevel use Effects > Surface Control > Apply Surface Texture, using Image Luminance.

There hasn’t been much drawing and painting in this lesson, and your mouse would have worked fine for most tasks. Now it’s time to pick up your Wacom pen again to explore the amazing Pattern Pen category. Take a look at the strokes in Figure 4. With only two exceptions, all these strokes were made with the Pattern Pen Masked variant. The difference between the masked and the “not masked” variant is demonstrated with the two Double Helix strokes. The blue background that is part of the Double Helix pattern is masked out when you use Pattern Pen Masked. In the lower right of the figure, Wave Mosaic is also painted both masked and—the other way. (“Unmasked” can’t be the right word for a stroke that includes a strip of background color. It makes me think of somebody being forced to reveal his or her true identity.) The potential for decorative, expressive, and whimsical uses of Pattern Pens will be explored in the next lesson.

Figure 4. Strokes of genius.


 
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