Painter 12 Essential Training
Illustration by John Derry

Painting with Real Watercolor brushes


Painter 12 Essential Training

with John Derry

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Painting with Real Watercolor brushes

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.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 1m 20s
    1. Introduction
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 5m 5s
    1. Understanding what Painter 12 can do
      1m 45s
    2. Let's paint!
      3m 20s
  3. 11m 52s
    1. Starting Painter 12 for the first time
      4m 4s
    2. Creating, opening, and saving files
      4m 36s
    3. Working with templates
      3m 12s
  4. 30m 38s
    1. Painter's shiny new interface
      6m 43s
    2. Understanding the Tool palette and property bar
      4m 12s
    3. Using media selectors
      3m 43s
    4. Working with the Brush Selector
      7m 18s
    5. Configuring panels and palettes
      3m 41s
    6. Navigating Painter
      5m 1s
  5. 22m 41s
    1. Setting preferences
      6m 59s
    2. Arranging palettes
      1m 28s
    3. Creating custom palettes
      6m 30s
    4. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      3m 52s
    5. Understanding workspaces
      3m 52s
  6. 28m 38s
    1. Controlling color with the Color palette
      7m 12s
    2. Working with the Temporal Color palette
      3m 1s
    3. Mixing color with the Mixer palette
      11m 3s
    4. Working with color sets
      7m 22s
  7. 56m 32s
    1. Introduction to brushes in Painter 12
    2. Understanding brush size adjustment
      2m 46s
    3. Exploring brush controls
      17m 44s
    4. Using the Computed Circular palette and stroke attribute brushes
      4m 13s
    5. Painting with Real Watercolor brushes
      7m 34s
    6. Painting with Real Wet Oil brushes
      3m 20s
    7. Working with Impasto
      8m 11s
    8. Working with texture-aware media
      12m 3s
  8. 13m 38s
    1. Understanding Quick Clone
      3m 58s
    2. Working with the Clone Source panel
      7m 22s
    3. Tracing a clone's source using Tracing Paper
      2m 18s
  9. 22m 56s
    1. Understanding the Underpainting palette
      9m 25s
    2. Exploring the Auto-Painting and Smart Stroke palettes
      7m 26s
    3. Working with the Restoration palette
      6m 5s
  10. 22m 15s
    1. Working with the Rectangular Selection tool
      3m 25s
    2. Using the Lasso tool
      3m 26s
    3. Selecting items with the Polygon tool
      2m 39s
    4. Understanding the Magic Wand tool
      7m 55s
    5. The Channels palette
      4m 50s
  11. 29m 1s
    1. Understanding the flexibility of layers
      7m 25s
    2. Preserving transparency in layers
      5m 37s
    3. Picking up underlying color in layers
      5m 13s
    4. Using the Free Transform tool
      2m 52s
    5. Working with layer masks
      7m 54s
  12. 24m 3s
    1. Painting with symmetry
      9m 6s
    2. Understanding Smart Blur
      4m 43s
    3. Working with seamless patterns
      10m 14s
  13. 25m 10s
    1. Introduction to the Image Hose
      2m 13s
    2. Understanding Image Hose controls
      9m 58s
    3. Working with nozzle files
      12m 59s
  14. 14m 33s
    1. Using each application for its strengths
      5m 0s
    2. The PSD format: what's compatible and what's not
      5m 3s
    3. Color management compatibility
      4m 30s
  15. 7m 0s
    1. Your best friend: Undo
      1m 50s
    2. Painting on layers
      1m 55s
    3. Save often, save early
      3m 15s
  16. 9m 48s
    1. The panic button
      2m 13s
    2. Using the Shift key restart
      2m 1s
    3. Re-importing a workspace
      4m 4s
    4. Troubleshooting: My brush won't paint
      1m 30s
  17. 3m 21s
    1. Goodbye
      3m 21s

please wait ...
Watch the Online Video Course Painter 12 Essential Training
5h 28m Beginner Feb 15, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Join John Derry, one of the original Corel Painter authors, as he shares the creative techniques that will get beginners up and running, and shows old hands the new features that can get a creative vision out of your head and on to your canvas. The course demonstrates how to create projects, use Painter brushes and painting styles, build templates, and work with layers and channels. John also shares pointers on setting up a Wacom tablet to interface with Painter.

Topics include:
  • Exploring the changes in the Painter 12 interface
  • Customizing brushes and selecting painting styles
  • Laying out the optimal workspace
  • Controlling color with the color palettes
  • Adjusting brush size and stroke attributes
  • Working with texture-aware media
  • Quick cloning with the Clone Source panel
  • Auto-Painting with the Underpainting, Smart Stroke, and Restoration palettes
  • Preserving transparency in layers
  • Creating layer masks
  • Painting with symmetry
  • Working with the Image Hose
  • Integrating Painter projects with Photoshop
  • Troubleshooting brushes and other issues
John Derry

Painting with Real Watercolor brushes

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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about Painter 12 Essential Training .

Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: When I double-click the John's Smart Brushes.brushcategory file as shown in the Chapter 8 movie "Understanding the Underpainting palette," the brushes do not install. Instead I get the message "There is no application set to open this document."
A: This is because your operating system does not recognize the .brushcategory file type.  This can be circumvented by selecting the file, right-clicking, and choosing "Open With…".

If Painter 12 is not in the list, use "Other…" to locate and select Painter 12.

The file will be read by Painter and the brush category will be installed.
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Painter 12 Essential Training.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from

Sign up and receive emails about and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.