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With the release of Painter 12, it now has three, count them, 3 variations on watercolor media: digital watercolor, which is Painter 2's original take on this elusive medium, watercolor, which is Painter 6's physical modeling-based extravaganza, and now Painter 12's real watercolor. Why so many variations? Well, each is a child of the times, specifically the area of computing bandwidth, each version was engineered in. Painter 2 was released in early 1993.
At that time, the processor speed limit was 33 MHz and about 136 maxed out megabytes of RAM. When Painter 6 came out in 1999, processors were at the 333 MHz limit and had about 768 MB of RAM they could work with. Today, Painter 12 is at home in a 64- bit operating system, running multiple core 2.88 GHz processors, high performance GPU graphics acceleration, and 8 GB of RAM.
Because digital watercolor emulation favors a computationally expensive physical-based model, each iteration of Painter's watercolors has been necessarily limited by the processor and memory bandwidth available at the time. More bandwidth enables greater interaction of watercolor variables, like wetness, evaporation, pigment suspension, movement in a liquid, media absorption and the like. Let's take a look at Painter's watercolors. I've created a simple Custom palette that has an example of each of the three generations of watercolor in here.
So we can just look at each one of them and I will comment briefly on the behavior characteristics of each. So I am going to start with New Simple Water, which comes from the original digital watercolor category, and let's just try a few strokes with it, so we'll just paint up here, and I am going to mix a couple of color in with it, so you can see how colors interact. You can see they want to blend a little bit. I can also quickly turn on things like Diffusion, and you will see this in a moment when I paint some more. I am also going to turn up the Wet Fringe, which you will see starts to add a little bit of that dark edge that's a signature of watercolor, but notice now, see how that watercolor is quickly spreading out based on the particular paper texture that's active.
This was the early model of watercolor, working in a very low processor bandwidth, and as such, there was a lot that we had to fake and not address, and so it's a very simple model, and yet it's serviceable. It does provide the look and feel of watercolor, and in its time it totally addressed that need. Now let's move up to Painter 6 when we introduced the watercolor model and one thing I want you to watch, I am going to just sample here.
Notice this has a layer associated with it. That's because the model got so complex that we needed to divide up what is characteristics of the brush and what is the actual media of watercolor, so the watercolor layer provides the medium of watercolor behavior and the brush provides the behavior of the brush strokes themselves, and combined, it's a two-pronged assault on watercolor. Both the brush and Watercolor Layer are necessary in order to emulate it.
And you can see one of the things that it does very nicely is it actually models paint, moving within the paper grain as it dries. So this model is much more complex, much more computationally intensive, and that's why it couldn't exist until the processors were up to the 333 or so megahertz of that era. And once again, you can see it does a very good job of mimicking the effects of watercolor.
Now let's go to the Real Wet Wash, which is part of Real Watercolor, the new watercolor introduced in Painter 12, and I will do a stroke here, and this also relies on the Watercolor Layer. And you will see what happens here, it dries over time. There is a delay as it dries, and I may be didn't pick out the best example of this brush, because it looks very good. This is a little static looking here, but this model also provides a model that controls things like, suspension of pigment to drying of paper, all of these things.
The good news is that both the earlier Painter 6 watercolor and Watercolor Layer, and the new Real Watercolor, both share the Watercolor Layer, which means they can interact with one another. So now I have got two types of watercolor models, both of which will interact with each other's characteristics. So that's one of the nice things about this, particularly the two most recent ones, the watercolor which includes the Watercolor Layer, and the new Real Watercolor, which is Painter 12's new addition to this pantheon of watercolor tools.
You can't really interact directly with the original digital watercolor. This is actually on a separate layer, although it still appears as if they are part of a single canvas. So you do have the ability to still use these newer watercolor layer-based models, with the earlier watercolor, as long as you apply it on another layer over it. And you might have not seen that before, but let's go ahead and delete this layer, but once again, as I paint with one of these models, it automatically knows it needs to create a new layer.
And so, it will, you don't have to specifically tell it you want a Watercolor Layer. It just knows, because of the brush, that it has to create that layer initially, in order to have the correct model, in order to operate in. So, you've got these three different watercolor models and each one suits a different need. The original digital watercolor, if you just want a quick effect and don't want too complex of a set of controls to adjust it, then the digital watercolor is your best bet.
But once you get into both the watercolor from Painter 6 with its attendant Watercolor Layer, as well as Painter 12's new Real Watercolor, you start to get into much more complex physical interactions. And physical modeling is taking care of all these physics that go on to make watercolor happen. And because of that, it's a necessarily complex interface to deal with, and because it's so much like real watercolor, you have to expect it's going to be just about as squirrelly as real watercolor can be.
So because of that, I'm not trying to dissuade you from playing with these new watercolors at all. It's just that, be prepared for some frustration just like it happens in real watercolor. So, that's kind of the long and short of Painter's watercolor models. The real benefit is that now with these three different models, and interaction between the two newer ones, and applying it over the old one, means that you can get some incredibly organic, very interesting textures and techniques. Once you learn how to somewhat control this, you can then start to build upon it to create very interesting images.
Just remember, just like real watercolor, you only control watercolor up to a point and after that, it controls you.
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