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Corel Painter X : Mixed-Up Media - Isn’t That Special (part 1) - Anatomy of a Brush

6/10/2013 4:10:24 AM
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There are several other brush categories and variants that allow you to go past mixing media and into the realm of special effects. Figure 1 shows a sampling of strokes you’ll want to try, . It’s called Special Effects and is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 1. Wild, weird stuff.

Figure 2. Special Effects starter kit.

If that stroke on the far left in Figure 7.1 looks familiar, then you haven’t forgotten Pattern Pen Masked. The pattern used here is called Double Helix, but I think of it as Twisted Linguini. Moving to the right, you’ll see a stroke made with a Pens variant, but this one doesn’t use the current color—it paints with the current gradient! This particular gradient is called Vivid Colored Stripes, and it was used with the Paint Bucket to fill two rectangles at the far right, in order to demonstrate some distortion effects, Hurricane (in the Distortion category) and Shattered (an F-X variant). Gradient pens come in two flavors, and both are shown in Figure 7.1. Grad Pen uses all the colors in a gradient and squeezes them down the stroke like toothpaste. Grad Repeat Pen performs as advertised, repeating all the colors in strips that run perpendicular to the stroke. I don’t think they can do that with toothpaste—yet.

Anatomy of a Brush

The next stroke has the charming name Piano Keys, and it resides in the F-X category. I like using this brush to demonstrate how to change the behavior of a variant using Brush Controls. Choose Piano Keys from the Brush Selector Bar or the Special Effects custom palette and start a new canvas big enough to let you do a lot of test scribbles. With a bright color at medium saturation, make a couple of strokes so you’ll have the default qualities of the brush visible to compare with changes. Open Brush Controls from the Window menu. We’ll be looking at several sections of this long palette, and you won’t be able to see all of them at once. That’s okay; just expand or collapse them as needed with the little black triangle next to the name of the section. Let’s begin with the top two controls, General and Size, shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Top two Brush Controls.

General gives you the most basic info about any variant. The Dab Type for this brush is Captured, which means it is an irregular shape or group of pixels, such as a small drawing. The shape in this case is a very thin rectangle. You can get an individual Piano Keys dab on your canvas if you tap your Wacom pen tip on the tablet. The Size Controls also show the shape of the Dab, in the Brush Dab preview window. (If that window shows a circle, tap on it once, and it will show the captured shape.)

Grab a Dab!

Several other members of the F-X category use captured dabs: Fairy Dust, Fire, Shattered and Squeegee. Yes, you can make a new and unique brush dab for your current variant. Create it, then select it with the Rectangular Selection tool. Use the Capture Dab command at the top of the popup menu in the Brush Selector Bar.

Skip to the Opacity setting and notice that it is at 100% and the Expression field shows None. This means there can be no variation in opacity within a stroke. Click on the Expression popup menu to see the choices available for altering opacity. (These are the same choices you get whenever you see the Expression option in any of the Brush Controls sections.) Choose Pressure, and make a test stroke. Now your brush can respond to pressure input from your Wacom pen. Figure 4 shows my stroke with default settings at the top left and the pressure-responsive strokes at the top right.

Figure 4. Piano practice.

Close or collapse General Controls and take another look at the Size Controls. You can choose to vary the width of the stroke, but there will be no effect unless you reduce Min (minimum) Size to less than 100%. When Min Size is around 40% and Random is chosen for Expression, you get the jagged result in the blue stroke. (I’m just switching color between changes because it’s more fun.)

Let’s return to the original settings before you make the next few changes. You don’t have to remember what those settings were, just use the Restore Default Variant command in the Brush Selector Bar popup menu. Close or collapse the Size Controls and expand Spacing and Angle.

Spacing refers to the space between dabs. Raising that value to about 40% gives you the picket fence look shown in purple. There are two important things to notice in the Angle Controls section: Expression is a function of Direction, and Ang(le) Range is the maximum 360 degrees. This makes it possible to paint a circle and have all the dabs radiate from the center. What happens if you reduce the Ang Range or change the Expression choice to something different? The gold color I used for strokes with Ang Range at 180 degrees and Pressure used for Expression look a bit like twisted ribbons.

Restore the default variant again and open one more control section, Color Variability. It’s near the bottom of the stack of palettes and shown in Figure 5. With the HSV settings shown, you can see why the color variation in the Piano Keys stroke has darker and lighter shades of very similar colors. Value or Luminosity variation is relatively high at 15%, with Hue variation only 4% and no Saturation variation at all. Play with those sliders and see what happens. I chose the red color used for the original default stroke and raised Hue variation to 25% for the multicolored stroke at the bottom left. The last stroke has Saturation variability set to the maximum. As expected, the dabs range from rich vibrant red to neutral gray.

Figure 5. Color keys.

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