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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.
In the last movie, we took a look at the Color palette, which as you may remember is very good for very precisely dialing in a color and it is also a nice visual way to find a color. But if you come from the traditional world, particularly in painting, this may seem a little alien to you. It's definitely a very good color selecting tool, but in the traditional world, color is arrived at very often in a very different way and folks from that side of track are going to be very interested in Mixer palette.
The Mixer palette behaves very much like a traditional painter's palette in that I can mix colors in this mixing area and you can actually control what the background color is. Now, I'm working on white, so I'm going to go ahead and change this and this is the first thing I'll show you is if you go up to the disclosure triangle on the Mixer palette bar and click on it, this is where I can do various options and the one I want to do right now is down at the bottom, Change Mixer Background. So, this is going to call up a Color Picker and depending on your system and how you've got a set up, you may or may not see something exactly like this, but I'm going to use this one in this case to just dial it down to white and I'll say okay.
And now I have got in mixing area that matches the background I'm going to work with. I do have a set of colors that I can work with across here, so I'm just going to select one for now. This orange and you will see that the tools down here provided a great deal of functionality in what I can actually do in the mixing area. The primary mixing tool is actually the second one here, this Apply Color, and the one on the immediate left is the Dirty Brush mode and I'm going to show it you both ways, so you can see why you would and wouldn't want to use it.
So, this is basically an option to the Mix Color tool. You know turning it on and off. It's off right now. Turning it on, changes the behavior of the Mix tool itself. So, we are going to start with Dirty Mode on. I'm going to apply a few strokes, grab a different color, start to mix and I'll just mix a bit here so, you can see and it works very nicely. In fact this is very faithful to the way real mixing works because what's happening here when Dirty Mode is on is when I take a color and paint into an area, it smears and blends but now my brush has whatever was at the end of that stroke.
That's on my brush. So the next time I stroke, you can see it's contaminating. Even though I have blue on my brush, it is now going to each time, it is going to pick up the color from the last stroke. So, as traditional painters know, you can very quickly kind of turn your colors to mud when this happens because your brush is contaminated with the last stroke. And you can also use that to its benefit and mix in a way that you get very subtle color gradations. But I also, you know, a lot of times where I don't necessarily have to stay in this traditional model.
So, I can disable the Dirty Color Mode. Now, when I select a color and while I'm up here I want to show you, you can use this in concert with the Color palette. You are not relegated to these little color chips in the Mixer itself. I can actually select a color here and sure enough that is my color. But notice it's no longer dirty. Each time I stroke into an existing color area, the brush doesn't remember it. It's always starting as if it were a fresh stroke. So, I find that sometimes for mixing purposes, I like to disable this Dirty Mode because it gives me a little bit more control.
But if you want the sensation and the look and the feel of actually mixing colors like you would traditionally and you get that Dirty Mode, by all means turn it on. That's exactly how you get that look. The next tool we'll look at here, it looks like a little palette knife, is the Mix Color tool and this lets me go in and unlike the brush which applies color, this just mixes color that's on the mixing pad. So, this just gives me a way to start to create more color by just gradating them together with the Mix tool.
I can move back and forth, get a very different color here and mix it in, do a couple more here and then go to my Mix tool and once again, I'm going to use just kind of blend is to get intermediate values between the colors that have been laid down. So, we have got several ways here to add and blend and modulate color. The next thing you are going to want to do is select color from your mixing area. So, you have got what is very similar to the basic eyedropper in the Tool palette. This lets me select a color and then I'm going to use the Artist Oils Brush here and sure enough as I pick a color up from here, it's painting with the color that I have selected on my mixing pad.
But this is almost like just adjusting this and getting to colors. The real advantage of selecting colors of the mixer pad has to do with the next eyedropper here, the one that has the little circle on it. This let's you sample multiple colors and a traditional technique is what's called brushloading. You actually use the fact that you have multiple colors mixed on your canvas so that you can pick an area and I'll do one here that's fairly obvious like this kind of browns and yellow. I am going to select that and I'm going to draw with it and sure enough you can see I have got multiple colors across my brush, so I can literally load my brush with these multiple colors.
The feature of this is that it gives you an incredibly powerful way to add a different of emotion or character to the expression of the brush that you are using. So, that is a very useful feature that you'll want to take advantage of. In fact most of the time I'm working, I typically have it set to the Sample Multiple Colors mode so that I'll get this. Now, I have to tell you not every brush in Painter respect or is knowledgeable of being able to apply multiple colors across the brush and I don't have a list in my head that I can cite to you, but just be advised that you will find some brushes are aware of the ability to distribute multiple colors across the brush and others aren't.
And it's really just a matter of experimentation as you are working with a brush. You just may want to go try it out and see well, this is a brush that applies multiple colors so I can load it and some brushes just don't know how to do that. So, be advised that you will run into some that do and some that don't. You can also change the size of the brush so if I want to get a much larger mixing brush here, and we'll go back to Dirty Mode for finding a different color. Now, I'm working with a much larger strokes for example, so I'm not constricted to the initial size that I was working on. Now, you will see that there is a Hand tool here and yeah, I can move this.
I can actually -- Wow! I took it to where I don't even know it's there, but reason that's is there is that you actually have more mixing area than you are seeing here and like I showed you with the Color palette earlier if I detach this, I can actually have a much larger mixing area. The other thing that you will see that happened is there is actually more subtle color gradations in the chips going on. So, as I enlarge this and I've now got it to its maximum width, I have got many more colors up here that I can work with. The other thing that's very interesting is I can find a color that I really want to work with, like I may have some shade of dark red that I want to use.
If I go up and click on one of these little color chips while I'm holding the Command or Ctrl key, I can actually put that color into that chip. So, if I have colors that I use a lot, I can go through and just decide I really want to use this color and I don't want to forget about it. I'll hold down the Command or Ctrl key and then click in the particular place where I want to put it and I can store that color in there. Now another important feature of this is both with regards to the mixing pad itself as well as these color chips at the top is if we once again open our little Options palette here on the right side of the palette bar, you will see I can load and save the Mixer colors as well as the Mixer pad.
So, if this is some pad that I have designed and I specifically want to be able to repeat picking up different loaded strokes, I can go ahead and save my Mixer pad and we'll just save it to the Desktop here for convenience sake. But I'll go ahead and say I want this to be My Mixer Pad, so I'll just append it here at the beginning, say My Mixer Pad. And once again you can see here as in other Save dialogs, you can either hide the extension or not. I tend to leave it on which happens to be the MXS for the Mixer palette.
That way there is not a file just floating around in your folder somewhere that's like 'My Mixer Pad.' What's that? Well, when it has got the MXS on it, it gives you an indication that oh, that's a Mixer Pad file. So Painter just saves this in a format that it can load back up. So, I typically disable Hide Extension for these, so that I do have that extra bit of information that tells me what this is. So, I'll go ahead and save this now and then let's say I got rid of this. Later on it's like, "Oh! You know what? I want to get that back." So, we'll go back up here and I say well I want to open a Mixer Pad.
And we go to my Desktop, there is My Mixer Pad and I click on it and open it and there is that pad. So, I can save these and get them back and similar to the pad itself, I can go in and save and load and retrieve these colors. I have changed some of these and it may be like I want to get that back to the original. So, if I click on that, you see I have now restored this to the original order. But if I were to go through here, maybe create a much longer say gray scale or a scale that goes from very dark blue through to almost a white with just a little bit of blue, I could go through here and using my Color palette, create different ramps of color that I want to repeat or if I have specific colors that are associated with say a logo or some color you are using in a particular advertising or brochure work or something, you want to repeat that color and even though you may be mixing it, you want to always start with that same color.
This is a perfect place to save those colors. So, the Mixer palette-- and let me just finish by saying you can expand it when it's detached from this palette stack, but keep in mind even now, if I go ahead and put this back in here, it can be longer but it can't be any wider. And in fact you kind of run into a difficult situation at times. You can see you can adjust the size somewhat, but the best way to do this is rather than put it in large like that, what I typically do is kind of get it back down to its normal size, then put it in here and then you will end up with a weird shade mixing area that's taking up an inordinate amount of space.
So, this is the Mixer palette and it's really a great addition to Painter that a lot of people appreciate and now with the ability to even expand this into a larger area, it even gives it more power so that you can have rather large mixing areas and save those mixing area and retrieve them at a later time. So, I'm sure many of you will find yourself using and loving the Mixer palette.
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