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Corel Painter 11: Mastering Brushes takes a deep look into the variety of mark-making tools found within Corel Painter, a software application that allows you to create painterly images that look like they were made with natural (non-computerized) painting media. Through a comprehensive demonstration of different brushes, Corel Painter guru John Derry shows how to adjust multiple variants to achieve desired results. Just like an artist who holds a paintbrush or piece of chalk at a particular angle to create a specific mark, John demonstrates with both live action and within the application how to modify brush variants for maximum expressive impact. From bristle media to ink media, watercolor to utility media, he explains how to get the most out of this drawing and painting application. Exercise files accompany this course.
Pressure, as it relates to the Wacom tablet, is the single most important dimension of expressive control communicated by the tablet to Painter. The artist's hand pressure imparts a great deal of expressive character to the brush strokes. Many of Painter's newer brush dab models actually respond more subtly to pressure than in the past. As such, it is important to periodically adjust your stylus' sensitivity as you're working. Let's go ahead and take a look at the Brush Tracking palette where this sensitivity is adjusted.
I'm going to go to the Corel Painter 11 menu, which in the Mac is where you'd get to Preferences. On Windows, you'll find it under the Edit menu. And let's go to Brush Tracking. Before we even go any further, I want you to take a look at the keyboard shortcut here. On Mac it's going to be Shift+Command+K. On Windows, it will be Shift+Ctrl+K. But you want to memorize this keyboard shortcut, because I'm going to be going back and forth between Brush Tracking palette and the image, so it makes great deal of sense to be able to quickly access it rather than going the long way through the menu.
So let's go ahead and we'll open it up, but from henceforth, I'm going to be using the keyboard shortcut to open it up. You've probably used this before and the idea is that if you draw a sample stroke in the style of the way you feel like you're going to be working, it adjusts these parameters for how to provide pressure to the tools in Painter. But I want to show you how you can take the Pressure Scale and Pressure Power sliders and even use them a little more finitely than you can get when you use the Scratch Pad up here.
Just to give you an example, I'm going to turn this down and let's go ahead and I'm going to draw now with the Scratchboard tool, which is a pen that has a very nice thin-to-thick ratio. I'm going to go ahead and just draw a sample here. Right away, it's very hard to get to the fine end of this scale. If I try really hard, I mean I'm literally just dragging without any other pressure input to get in there. It's hard to get to that thin end of the scale. Why is that? Well, that's because the Pressure Scale slider relates to how many iterations of pressure are being applied to the tools in Painter and with a short Pressure Scale, there are not very many iterations available.
That's why I can't get to the full range of pressure. If I turn this up, now I've elongated or created a longer scale with more iterations of pressure throughout the scale. Now when I go in here, I have a very nice control over the thick-to-thin ratio. So, when you're working with tools in Painter, I find that a lot of times you just need to go in here and adjust this up or down a little bit to get the exact feel that you want, and for my money, it's far better to get used to using the Pressure Scale slider to get the control over how you're delivering that full range of pressure than you're ever going to get using the Scratch Pad.
So that's a very important aspect of pressure control in Painter. The other thing I want to show you quickly is I'm going to go to the Control Palette for the Wacom tablet. That will be in your Control Panel on Windows. The thing I want to show you here is you do have this thing, Tip Feel, and you can make it Soft or Firm. My advice is to just keep that centered in the null position, so it's neither soft nor hard, because Painter actually has a more sophisticated control in the Brush Tracking palette than you have here.
If you set this to something different, it's going to bias the way that that control was acting, because you're actually controlling it at two different times. So, I find it best to just leave the Wacom Setting in its default null setting and let Painter handle the heavy lifting of changing that scale for you. So, you don't want to tweak both the Wacom tablet and Painter's controls, otherwise you'll be double-controlling them, and you won't know for sure when you actually have an accurate setting.
So using the Brush Tracker to adjust various brushes is the single best way I know of to get the maximum performance out of Painter and your Wacom pen tablet. Whenever a brush doesn't seem to be delivering its full expressive character, it's time to go check the Brush Tracking.
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