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In Painter 11 Essential Training, John Derry, one of the original Painter authors, demonstrates basic and advanced creative techniques that can get beginners up and running. He also shows old hands the new features that can get a creative vision out of the head and onto the canvas. John demonstrates how to establish an easy workflow in Painter by using a Wacom tablet, and he explains how to create, edit, and publish projects. Exercise files accompany the course.
Download the Painter/Photoshop Consistent Color Management PDF and the Brush Troubleshooting Checklist PDF from the Exercise Files tab.
When you think about photographic and paint, the color comes from really two very different sources. Photographic prints are composed of dye layers whereas paintings are composed of pigments. And so what happens is, each of these mediums has very different, in some cases, colors that are represented in the image. Now, the image I have got called up right now is a photograph. So, it's got photographic colors in it and if I were to translate this into a painting, I would want to do some things and I'm going to go ahead and make a copy of this, so we'll be able to compare these.
So, I'm going to do a Command+A or Ctrl+A for select all, then I'm going to do a Command+C or Ctrl+C to copy, then Command+V or Ctrl+V to paste and now in our Layers palette, we have got the original and then one that I can change so we'll be able to compare them. So, one of the first things that you have to consider is that pigment based paint has much more vibrance and much more saturation than your typical painting can ever have in it. So, one of the advantages of paint is it's not constrained by this dye based memory of photography that we tend to encode in our mind, so that we have a very specific sort of sensibility about what represents photographic color.
So, one of the first things I do to an image prior to painting is, I increase its Saturation. I'm just going to go up to the Effects menu here under Tonal Control and if you go to under Adjust Colors, you will find the controls for this and this is where I can adjust my saturation up. Now you do need to kind of look in this little window here to find it and again from a photography point of view, people will be cringing and going, oh, wow! Look he is really over saturating that, but you have to do that in order for this, as a photograph we look at it and it's like, wow! Way too over saturated, but as a painting, those colors aren't necessarily overly saturated at all and the other thing that we can do here is when you think about this is selective blurring or selective reducing the information about the things and what I want to do is the subject to this painting really is the wild flowers here, just were brilliant on the mountain, when I was up shooting and I don't want all of these colors to necessarily be as important.
And so there is a couple of things I could do. One of the things I'll do here is I'm going to go Painter's Blenders, actually I'm going to go down to Painter's Photo Brushes and one of the photo brushes here is Blur. So, I'm going to grab blur and I'm going to resize that up here in the Property bar and I'm just going to go in here and blur this out a little bit. So, it's something that I didn't do in the camera quite so much, I can do it here and I think you will see in just even a moment how much this starts to get your eye to read this foreground much more so than the background and you don't have to do this so that it looks photographically correct.
It's more a preliminary step towards changing this into a painting and by having already somewhat pre-blur these areas out. I can start to reduce the importance. Once again, in this kind of situation, I don't have the lighting control like I would on a stage so much. I want to retain the look of outdoor lighting. So, it's obviously important here to keep this looking basically photographic, but I don't necessarily need to do it to the point that it looks photographically correct and that's another thing.
It's real easy to sometimes keep yourself in that photographic vocabulary when you really don't have to. So, some of these things even though, they are not true to the photograph, have a tendency to work in terms of what you do for the painting and one of the things I've developed, the more I go out and shoot photograph with an intent towards painting them is, you develop a sensibility that you can almost look through the camera and still see what it is you want to do as a painting and the more you learn how to do that, and it does take time in going through several iterations of interpreting a photograph into a painting, the more you do this, the more you build the machinery to be able to almost apply a painting filter as you are out of photographing, so that you can see what you want to end up with prior to ever painting it.
Now, another thing I want to talk about in terms of saturation is what happens when you start painting and a good example brush here might be in the Artist's Oils brush, I'm going to go down here and get the Grainy Blender. And I'm going to start to just kind of paint in here and I want to show you what happens when you start to mix these areas, because we are taking these highly saturated colors and we are blending them together. So, what once were individual saturated colors, are beginning to get dulled down by the fact that they are getting mixed- up and we'll just kind of go back into here, but you can see that the saturation starts to get diminished in this and that's why sometimes even over saturating may seem like it's too much but the fact that you are going in here and actually softening this area up and how far you might take this, could vary, I'm doing this more to demonstrate to you how much the colors get dulled down by mixing.
You may or may not want to diminish the background so much that you almost don't know what it is but even now, you can see, this still reads as a mountain scene with a very, just kind of diminished background back here. We are starting to figure out how to make the flowers really be the stars of the show here. Just by blending, blurring, they retain their saturation, the saturation of the background has been dulled down through painting and I'm not going to try to finish this off, but I want to give enough so that if we go and look at the before and after, you can see already how we have taken it from those photographic colors into a much more painterly space.
The addition of brush strokes now and the softening down of those colors, this starts to have a much more painterly feel to it than the original photograph it came from. So, Color Adaptation is just pushing colors more towards pigmented color and away from photographic, and kind of dye based colors so that you end up with an image, which is going to have a much more painted look to it because we are transposing that vocabulary of the color that we associate with the photography with the saturated color that we associate with painting.
Color Adaptation, use it.
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