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Painter has multiple ways to mix color. We have already looked at the Color palette, which gives you a very intuitive way to dial in a color that you want to work with. But the Mixer palette goes beyond that, the Mixer palette is really something that particularly people who come from any kind of traditional background will appreciate, because this allows you to actually mix colors in the mixing area, much as you would do in a traditional environment with paint on a palette, where you apply various colors with your brush and intermix them on the palette. You can then pick up colors from that palette and paint with them.
One of the main reasons a traditional artist will do this is, they do what's called a Loaded Brush technique, and what that means is rather than painting with one individual color on the brush, they actually mix their paint, so that when they dip into that mixture, they are intentionally picking up a range of colors across the brush. And what it does is it just imbues the strokes with much more complexity and enriches the look of the painting that's done in that style. So that's one of the primary reasons the Mixer palette is here.
If we take a look at it, you'll see that it's broken up into a couple of areas here. You basically have a set of color swatches or color chips here that are there for you to be able to select from to mix with, and then you've also got the individual mixing area itself. If I use the Hand tool here, we can move around, we can see this is actually larger than what you see in the mixing area. And the reason for that is, that you can actually expand this out to quite a large area if you like, and particularly if you have a very high resolution display or multiple displays, you may find that you want to have a much larger mixing area than it's going to have when it's tucked in to a palette like we saw.
So now that we have got this open, let's look at some of the controls that we have. One of the things we can do is we can use the Clear button down here, the little garbage can, to clean off what's on the mixing area and you'll see right now it's got kind of his light brown mixing area, which is perfect, if you are going to be painting on an image that may have a color like this in your background. Some people may even want to start with their canvas this color. So in that case, if you go into mix colors, you are going to find that it makes sense to have that color back there, because some of these colors are going to intermix differently based on what's underneath of them, for example, and what I want to do here though is, I would rather have just a neutral white background, and I can change that if we go right up here and we go to change the mixer background, and I am just going to set this to white, and now I'm on a white background.
So it gives me a different visual cue to how I'm looking at the colors as I mix them on screen. One thing that I discovered in preparing for this, that can be a little confusing is, this is called the Dirty Brush and what this does is it treats colors in a manner that as you paint with them, once you touch a color, the next brush is going to have that color on it and it's more like a real brush, operates in the physical world.
Obviously, as you paint in a wet color and pick up your brush, whatever colors it was touching, they are going to get picked up and contaminate the brush stroke. So that's how it works. The odd thing is this control is backwards, this is to turn on Dirty Brush mode, but it's actually on what it shows that it's off. So that's a little confusing, because the interface is giving you incorrect information, but once you adapt to it you will realize and you'll see the difference in the behavior. When I paint with a brush, and even though it doesn't say it's Dirty mode, well obviously, it's got to be dirty mode for it to pick up those colors as I change, and it does give me, in some cases, a more realistic mixture that you'd expect when mixing with a brush that's wet and wet.
But if you don't want that behavior, you can turn it off, which is going to make it look like it's on, and now when I paint, each stroke, well, no matter where it's been, will always come up in the color that you have set. So this is a little bit more artificial and it just depends on how you want to mix colors. This one kind of always keeps your brush automatically clean for you at the beginning of every stroke, Dirty Brush mode on the other hand is always going to be contaminated by whatever it touched last. And it's up to you as to which one of those behaviors you would want to work with.
We've also got a mix color, which is kind of like a little color palette. This doesn't apply color, it just let's me go in and mix colors that are already on the mixing area, and I can adjust the size of this. So if I want to make this larger, I've now got a larger brush and at some point here I probably want to just clean off my mixing area, so we can continue. So you have got these various mixing modes that you can work in, and let's just say we want a mix up some color. So I am going to start and select a few colors here just to get some intermixtures, and I'm just going to go through here, because it's kind of nice sometimes to actually do it through the spectrum.
So you can see here, each time I do this I'm not going to get just a swath of that color, it's going to be intermixing in areas with it. So how do I get those colors? Well, those are the next two tools. You've got a sample color and let's go ahead and try that out. If I select that, say right here, in an area that has an intermixture, and then I go over here and paint, well, it's only painting with one color, and that's because the Sample Color tool only picks up single colors from the palette. And there are times where you are going to want to use it that way, but to really enjoy how this works, you want to take this one right here, the one with the little circle around it, this indicates it's not going to pick up a point color, but its going to pick up a group of colors around the area.
So now if we go here and sample that same area. Now I am going to get a nice brush stroke that has a lot of different color variation in it, and each time I select a new color from the Mixer palette, I've now got a much different range of colors to work with. And you can already see it, I think, as I start to just diddle around with this and not even try to draw anything of any import, I'm getting a nice set of colors and it's much richer, there is much more going on in those individual strokes.
And as such, you just get a nice traditional appearing set of strokes building up on your image. So the Mixer palette really is the way to be able to get at these loaded brushstrokes. And I have to tell you, not every brush in Painter responds to the loaded brushstroke. There are some brushes that will and won't, and the list is so varied, I couldn't even tell you with any intelligence, which ones do and which ones don't. It's one of those things, it's best learned by experimentation.
So as you try out different brushes, you may want to try the Mixer palette to see if it works. Say something like watercolors, they really don't respond to this, and in real watercolor you typically don't load up a brushstroke anyway, but some of the various brush models in Painter just don't understand how to interact with multiple colors across it. So just be aware that you can't depend on this for every possible brush to respond to a loaded brush. The last thing I want to talk about are the color chips up here themselves.
You can select a color, and let's say I back over here and go to my Color palette, let's say I want a specific color on the Color palette, like kind of a light cyan. And in order to place that into here, if I hold down the Ctrl key on Windows, or the Command key on Mac and then click in an area where I want to replace it, it will replace that color. Now let's say you've changed colors and you realize, oh, I don't want that, or I really like a set of colors that I've changed, I can go up here and I can say, I just want to reset the mixer colors.
In that case I've reset them, but let's say I've gone in here and made several different color changes for very particular set of colors I want to repeatedly get access to, I can go in here and I can save the mixer colors, and this will save it in a file that you can then load, so that you can have different sets of target colors in the top of your palette to be able to mix with. You can also, I should mention, I can go into an image and just by holding down the Option or Alt key, I can sample a color and then that becomes a color I am painting with.
So you're not restricted to only mixing colors with colors you find here. Any color that is either current or in the color that I set up here, will become the color I mix with. So while these are good to whole set of colors, you don't need to mix colors with only them. You have both the Color palette, as well as sampling from an image in order to get colors to mix with. A new feature in Painter 12 is that you can load an image into the Mixer palette, why would you want to do that? Well, let me show you.
I am going to go up here and I'm going to go to Open Mixer Pad. So I am going to go to the desktop, and I am going to go to my exercise files and in Chapter 05 you'll find an image, and it can be any image you want, we are just going to use this sample, so let's go in here and click it. So once I've got this image loaded in here, I can go ahead and begin to sample colors off of there, because the colors in the image are much more varied at any given area of the image.
You just get these very nice blends of color. So being able to actually select colors off of an existing image is a great way to get these really nice complex strokes, and just depending on where I select within the image, I am going to get a very different kind of sensation in terms of how the brushstroke looks. So being able to now load up images is another interesting aspect of the Mixer palette, that's very welcome.
So just to encapsulate what we've looked at here, the Mixer palette is a way to emulate traditional mixing techniques and even in the digital world, you may find it to be a very interesting way to get at a type of brushstroke that you wouldn't be able to get in any other way in Painter. Being able to load up a set of colors across a brush and then paint with it, as I have mentioned, is a way to really enrich those strokes and give them a lot of character. So I think you are going to like the Mixer palette once you get in there and start experimenting with it.
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