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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 this video, we are going to take a look at the Artists' Oils brushes and one reason that I want to really get into them is they become one of my favorite brushes. They really have a very lush quality that's very, very close to how traditional brushes work. You can see right away that the brush runs out of paint over the course of the stroke, and when they first came up with this in Corel, I was a little bit like, why do that? I mean, digital paint is cool because I can just keep painting. And the more I used it, the more I realized the really cool thing about this is that the resulting imagery as I'm building it up here, it starts to have a much more realistic feel to it because it is running out of paint.
That's part of the signature of a traditional brush stroke and because of that, I just really over time have become an ardent fan of this brush. The thing is though that each individual stroke is not necessarily that impressive. It's this build up of the strokes as you are working that starts to give it the full character that it's capable of. And for that reason alone, I really like it. I'm going to go ahead and clear the canvas, and to that I'm going to hit Command+A or Ctrl+A, which is for Select All, and then I'm going to hit the Delete or Backspace key and that will remove the imagery.
So let's go ahead and take a look at the Artists' Oils brush. I have put the Artists' Oils Control palette right in my main palette and I make so many little adjustments for it, it's really nice to have these right here. So we are going to work with one particular brush here and let's go down here and we are going to get the Oily Bristle variant. So let's take a look at this brush. Now I'll get a kind of dark stroke here so we can see the character of it. You will see that initially this brush stroke lays down a very long stroke as it's depositing its color and slowly deposits it and expands the color that's on the stroke.
We are going to start by adjusting the paint component, and let me talk a little bit about these before we get too far in. The Artists' Oils is broken up into three main areas of control. So what's a little less than straightforward is that these various components sometimes interact with the other components and in fact, I have seen times where I can make the brush look the same with very different settings because you can configure them in different ways so that you are basically balancing the brush to do a certain thing, and various setups can actually almost give you the same exact look with a very different setting.
And at first, it was kind of a head scratcher, like why do that?, and it's just because these controls interact with one another, is why if one settings' set real high means the other settings may have to be kind of low but if they are set real high and the other one is set kind of low, you will create this balance that will essentially do the same thing. That's what I want to try to demystify for you. We are going to begin by starting to control the length of the tail of the brush. How quickly it's tapering off, and to do that, I'm going to go to the Viscosity slider. Now Viscosity means adhesion.
It's how does one medium interacts with another and in this case, it's essentially the stickiness of the paint and at high viscosity levels, I'm going to turn this all the way up, the paint is going to stick to the canvas much quicker. So you can see already, we've now half basically the length of the stroke, so that it's now the paint has more of a higher adhesion factor and it's sticking to the canvas more rapidly. And as a result, the stroke length is decreased. Now we are going to turn down the Paint Amount slider and this controls how much paint is applied within each stroke. Rather than shortening the stroke however, you will see that the stroke tends to weaken.
It is still applying paint but it is weakening as it goes. This is because Canvas Wetness is currently high and Wetness controls how wet the underlying canvas is. As a result, this setting interacts with the Paint settings. So let's turn Wetness down to zero. Now look what happens. It's an extremely short stroke. Let's adjust this Paint Amount up a bit, and now I have a pretty good control over the stroke length of this brush. Just right now adjusting Amount, you can see as I get way down here, it's almost hardly anything. It's just a dab.
Now I have pretty much precise control over the length of these strokes. Now Paint Amount and Viscosity. They influence one another. So here is yet another interaction that can do things. You can actually use both of these to control the stroke length. Let's turn this down and now I'll play with a little bit of Viscosity and you could see how I'm getting the stroke almost similar to the other setting I have. That's what I was mentioning. A different adjustment of these two strokes can actually create several balance points that you will essentially get the same appearance in the stroke.
So that's one reason you can't say there is an absolute setting that is always going to give you that length of stroke. Particularly in this case, Amount, Viscosity, and Wetness are all playing a part in how the stroke length is controlled and because it's a trio of three values, as I said, this is like a set of ratios of these values in which you could alter them and you essentially end up with the same stroke and understanding that will keep you from getting confused about why did one setting do that, and now I'm playing with it another one and it isn't. We are essentially dealing with three components here and it's that ratio of the three of them that can change it.
Now we are going to adjust the interaction of existing paint with some applied paint from the brush. So as I mentioned, Canvas Wetness, and Brush Blend interact with one another. I'm now going to adjust the Canvas Wetness up to 100% and I'm going to adjust the Brush Blend up to 100%. Now let's take a different color and I'm going to paint over this. Now you will start to see there is some interaction. You could see how it's pulling the red in this case from beneath just a slight amount, but there is starting to be some interaction with the underlying color with my brush.
Now just to add to the mix, there is yet another slider not even on the Artists' Oils palette that has a great deal of control over the look of the brush and that is the Grain slider. This brush is responsive to Grain and the Grain Setting is going to influence the look of the brush. I'm now going to turn this Grain Setting down to a low setting value, very low. Now what's happening is we get a brush that is extremely smeary. You can see it does lay down a stroke at the beginning, but it's now interacting very much with the underlying strokes so that I'm very much getting a smeary wet oily brush.
Let's now turn this up to a very high value and now it's going to start to interact quite a bit with the Paper Grain. One thing to notice, at values of 0, which I was showing you earlier and at values of 100%, no Paper Grain is currently visible. We have to have this at a little bit lower than 100%. Because Grain is important here, just the setting alone may not be enough. I'm going to go over to my Paper Grain Selector and open up the Paper Grain palette, just make sure we have this Coarse Cotton Canvas.
I am going to increase the contrast and maybe darken it down a little bit here. So I'm adjusting this to make it more aggressive, and I may need to also play around with the Grain Setting and just depending on where I put it, there you can see, I'm now getting a pretty aggressive grain incorporated into my strokes. So now we have also added into the mix the fact that the Grain slider can have some effect upon the way the brush is interacting with all of the other components that we have adjusted so far.
The last thing we are going to look at is the Brush Settings themselves. And I'm going to go ahead and clear the Canvas, Command+A or Ctrl+A and Backspace or Delete. You can control Bristling, Clumpiness, and Trail-off. Let's take a look at those. So here is my stroke at this point. When I adjust Bristling up, you will notice you can see there is a little bit of a segregation going on as if the brush hairs are doing something and I have turned Bristling up from where it was. You will see now there is more obvious kind of clumping up of the Bristling and I can even increase that by some more right here.
And each time, it's randomized. So you are never going to just get the same exact look, which is also consistent with traditional brushes. You know the brush hairs are moving around and acting as a reservoir for the paint, and each time you lay it down, the pressure of the brush strokes being applied to the canvas will alter that. So that's another nice little feature in here is that it's randomizing that each time. Trail-off is pretty subtle but it also kind of controls the character of how it trails-off.
You can see with a very high trail- off, it's deteriorating very quickly. It's just kind of starting to get into what I think of as the texture component, and lower values are going to have somewhat of a different feel. And finally, as if this weren't enough, there is one more thing we can do and to do that I'm going to open up the Brush Controls palette. We'll go to Brush Controls > General and we are going to look at Size specifically here. The bottom of this is actually a set of profiles that control the look of the stroke.
And maybe the best way to do this is to turn this down so we just get a very short stroke. Okay, now we have got a very short, obvious stroke. You can see how that tail kind of has a pyramidal shape. That's because I have set this to act as the profile for the tail. If I go with something like this, I'm going to get more of a chisel. You can see how now it's biased towards a longer side of that pyramid, or we can do another bias here. So each one of these is going to somewhat alter the look of the head and tail of the stroke.
So you have got all of these settings. The Artists' Oils brush is just an amazing simulation of the way the paint and the canvas all interact with one another. The real key is you need to understand how these various controls interact with one another and it will take you some time to wrap your head around it, but the more time you take playing with these, the more it will start to lock in that, oh, this settings going to give me this, and this settings going to give me this, and these two settings in concert are going to create some variation within it. So over time, I think you will see that more you play with the Artists' Oils Controls, the more fussier you are going to become at adjusting the brush to get exactly the particular character you want.
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