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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.
Imagine yourself driving. How do you get around? Drivers rely on standardized signage for example, or they might take advantage of customs like driving on the right or the left side of the road. Applications employ a similar technique to aid the user in navigating around the interface. We are going to take a road test in Painter and try it out and see how we can get around in it. Let's go for a test drive now. Well, here we are, sitting in front of Painter with an image open. What's the first thing you are going to want to do? Well, the first thing is going to be navigating this image. Before we even start talking about the interface the elements around an image, we want to talk about just how do you control and adjust the appearance of the image on the screen as you are working with it? Consider the way an artist works on a canvas.
When he is working up close, he is only a foot or two away from the image and he is painting and creating detail. However, at one point, he is going to move back and get several feet from the canvas, so that he can get an overview of what he has done and how the entire composition is working and a painter will continue to work back and forth up close and at a distance during the creation of the image. You want to be able to do the same thing when you are working on a digital image. In Painter, there are several ways that you can basically accomplish the same technique that the traditional painter uses of moving in and out of your image.
It's typically referred to as zooming and the tool that is most associated with it is not surprisingly the Magnifier tool down at the bottom-left corner of the tools in our Tool palette. So I'm going to click on that and you will see where I put it out onto the screen that there is a little plus in it. That means that when I click now, you will see that it zooms in or magnifies the image. So the first thing you will probably ask is well now I have gotten very close, how can I get away from the image? Basically if you hold down the Option or the Alt key, you will see that the little indicator in the cursor changes to a negative sign.
That now indicates that you can zoom out or away from the image. So simply using the Magnifier and your finger with the Option or Alt key gives you a very quick way to be able to move in and out of an image. So that is the first thing you want to understand. Now secondly, you can be at a very extreme magnification in or out of an image like I am now, and one way to get back at the full resolution is to just double-click on the Magnifier. So I'll double-click and now the image is at 100%.
But as you can see in the case of this image, it's at 100%. I'm actually not seeing the entire image. So how can I get it so that it fits on the screen very quickly? Well the companion to the magnifier is right to its immediate right, and that is the Grabber tool. The little hand, so if I click on that, you will see I now have a little Hand Cursor, and what I can do with this is if I click and drag, you will see that I'm moving this image around. So if I pick up, and click, and drag, this lets me navigate the image when I'm up close.
So how do I get my image back to fit on the screen? Well, just like we double-clicked on the Magnifier to get to 100%, if you double-click on the Hand tool, it makes the image fit within the allocated space available minus the interface itself. So with this pair of tools, the Magnifier and the Hand, you have got two quick ways to be able to quickly zoom in and by holding down that all important Alt or Option key, zoom out and you have got the Grabber tool which even if it's zoomed-out lets me move it around, or by double-clicking on the Grabber tool, I can instantly get it to fit the screen.
So that is the basics of just being able to move in and out of your screen. However, Painter does offer multiple ways to do the same task and another one is right down at the lower-left corner of the current image. You will see there is a slider here and a value associated with it. If I move this to the left or right, I can zoom in and out this way. So this is yet another way you can close in on your image and you can then use your Grabber tool to pick up and move the image around.
Here is another thing that can happen. You might be working and you are doing some detailed work up close. A lot of times what I like to avoid is what I call Navigation Time. If I have to start now, I want to pick this up. I want to move this over. Now, I have to go and get my Brush. If I was doing a little work, I'd do it, then I want to move it again. This takes up a lot of navigation time. You really want to focus on the task of painting, and not be spending a lot of time driving back and forth from your image over to the Tool palette to change these tools.
So one thing you can do in many of the tools and probably the most this will happen is when you are in the Brush tool is, if I hold down the Spacebar, you will see that automatically switches me to my Grabber tool. So this is an excellent way to be able to be painting, if I'm painting in the image and then I want to move just by holding that Spacebar, I instantly now can navigate to other areas of my image and continue to paint or work on whatever I'm going to do. The second keyboard shortcut that's important is you also want to be able to zoom in and out while you are in the Paint tool, and what I can do is by holding down the Spacebar just as I did before that changes me to the Grabber, but if I also at the same time hold down the Spacebar and the Command or the Ctrl key, that changes to my Magnifier.
Now, I'm already zoomed in, so I'm sure some of you are saying, "Well, how can I zoom out?" Well, if you have got one more finger left here and if you put it on the Alt or Option key, that does change it to the Magnify or zoom out version of the Magnifier tool. So this is what I call cording. What you are starting to do is use 1, 2 and 3 finger combinations to be able to quickly change the function of the cursor. So I can have my Brush tool, I can quickly change it to be able to zoom in. I can also quickly move to zoom out.
So I have a trio of commands here that are worked out by the combination of the Spacebar, Command or Ctrl and Option or Alt keys that enable me to very easily navigate throughout my image. So those tools are very important and ones that you are going to use all the time. The final version of zooming in and out I'll mention to you is you can use a pair of keyboard commands and these are consistent as are the cording techniques I just showed you with Photoshop. So if you are a Photoshop user, you are going to find these fit right in with what you already know in Photoshop, and like the cording scenario I just showed you, you can also use the Command or Ctrl and Plus and Minus keys.
If I do Command or Ctrl+Plus, that zooms in. If I do Command or Ctrl+Minus, that zooms out. So some people are very keyboard oriented. They want to do it that way. Some people want to use the icons and they work that way. Some people like to use the slider. There is no right or wrong way. Whichever method you prefer, that's the way that works best for you and don't let anybody tell you you are doing it the wrong way. There is multiple ways built-in here for different types of workflows and for you it's just a matter of taking advantage of it.
Now, the last thing I'm going to show you that's another important feature is something that is called Full Screen Mode. One way to get to it is you can go up to the Window menu and you will see right here, Screen Mode Toggle. If I click on this, what this does is it eliminates my desktop, so that I no longer see anything but this gray background. What it helps you do is focus on the image. That's an important thing. You don't want to be distracted by a lot of icons or file folders or whatever in the background. I work most of the time in this Full Screen Toggle.
But as you saw, we also have a keyboard shortcut associated with it, Command or Ctrl+M. By using that, you can see here I can very quickly toggle between being able to see my desktop or completely working in Full Screen Mode. So that's yet another command that is very useful. The final one I'm going to leave you with is there are many times when I'm working even the interface is a bit distracting. So I can use the Tab key to turn that on and off.
So if I want to get into Full Screen Mode and have my Paintbrush, I'm just kind of drawing here. So you can see I can work without any interface elements on the screen and I can also have no distractions around the image at the same time. So I can completely focus on my image. So these are basic navigation skills that you are going to want to learn, because as you incorporate them into your workflow, you are going to find that you are going to become much more efficient. So navigation, learn it.
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