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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 chapter we are going to take a look at customizing Painter and think of the analogy of getting into a rental car. Before you even drive off the lot, you check your seat belt, you adjust the mirrors, you maybe set the radio to some stations. One thing I sometimes forget but I have kind of learned, find out where the headlight switch is, because all of a sudden it's going to be getting dark and you want to know exactly how that particular car starts up. But you want to find out what all these things are and kind of customize them, a particular like the radio, to your choices.
Painter has a similar set of choices you can make so that you can very much customize it to the way you want. You can even get it set up so that the particular brushes are just one click away and you can even organize your keyboard shortcuts. If you are a Photoshop user, you may want to incorporate a bunch of your knowledge from Photoshop keyboard shortcuts and use them in Painter. That way you are not trying to juggle two different sets of keyboard shortcuts at the same time. So, in this chapter, we are going to go through the various types of customization you can do to Painter, and by the time we are done, you will be wearing your copy of Painter like an old pair of blue jeans.
We will begin customization of Painter by taking a look at the Preferences menu and to open that up. In Mac, you go to the Corel Painter 11 menu and select Preferences, in Windows it's going to be in the Edit menu then Preferences and we want to go to the General palette. So, here we are and I'm not going to exhaustively go through all of this but I'm going to tell you about the main areas that are really going to be the one you are going to want to focus on. One of the things you can do in Painter for some reason, this is like the ornament on a hood of a car.
Everybody kind of has their preference to how they want the cursor to look and there are several customization options here that you want to be aware of and I'm going to go through them. Now, the first one is just what do you want the cursor to like? You have several options here. So, lets just stay with the little Brush icon and you can choose the orientation of it. A lot of people just like to see the cursor kind of pointing up. As a left-hander this is going to seem odd to most people but I actually, because I kind of move my wrist around, so it's up above my writing, I actually like this look.
That kind of looks like the angle my pencil is coming in from. But for a lot of people, it might be like this. Most right-handers are going to have that angle. But you can choose whichever one you want. A lot of old timers in Painter like the triangle cursor that was in Painter for many versions. In fact, Painter use to have a red cursor so you could even go in here and just kind of play around with this and get that old style Painter red cursor if you want to. So, just to show you how this looks I'm going to go ahead and say OK, and quickly create a new file from a template so we could see what's happening on the screen here and you will see that right now the only time I see this is when I'm drawing.
What we are seeing otherwise is a Brush Ghost and if I enlarge this up a bit, you will see it a little better. That's basically a representation of the dab that makes this particular brush up and just depending on the brush, you can get a variety of possibilities. If I go to Airbrush for example, you will just get basically a circle. So, what this Brush Ghost is attempting to do is give you some indication of what the mark that's going to be made in advance of actually painting. And we can control that as well from the Preferences, General panel and it's right here.
It's Enable Brush Ghosting. If I turn that off, well then I'm always going to see my cursor, I'm never going to see that Brush Ghost. But to be honest, I have gotten very used to the Brush cursor over the years and in particular with a lot of brushes, it gives you an indication before you make a mark of exactly where that mark is going to happen. So, it's very useful and there's no performance lost by having this enabled. Now, Enhanced Brush Ghost can cause problems on some systems. I'm going to turn that on, and I'm going to show this to you and let's make this brush somewhat smaller.
I'm going to do that by holding down my Option+Command or Alt+Ctrl keys and just make it a little smaller. Now, what we are seeing here is a circle but it's also, you see that little line in there. That represents the angle of my brush right now. So, I can tell both the tilt and bearing and right now, I'm back and the brush is pointing right towards me. Now, I'm going to point it exactly away from me. So, as I draw you can see the attitude of your brush. It's pretty cool but this can slow down some systems and I advise a lot of people, if for certain brushes you draw and you have just are seeing some sort of molasses-like drawing over the stroke and you have this on, turn it off and try it again and I bet you you'll find that was the cause.
So, while this is interesting and there may be some people out there who will argue, oh! I live by this thing. It's so important to have on the screen. I don't find it all that useful and since it potentially causes performance issues, I prefer to have it off. So, it's a personal choice and suppose that what you are going to find out through experience with your own system, whether or not that is causing a performance hit with certain brushes. So, the drawing cursor is a whole area here that you can do quite a bit of customization and like I said for a lot people how their cursor looks is really important to them.
Another area that's pretty important down here are some of these, for example, Create Backup on Save. This is enabled by default and if this is enabled by default, you are going to start seeing in your directories or folders where you are saving your files. Like if I have created some file called john.rif or whatever, there will be another one that will be john.rif.bak for backup and what this does is give you a little bit of a insurance policy that two files are going to be saved, so that if anything untoward would happen in the saving process, it's actually saved twice and it just gives you a little bit of I guess confidence that you are not going to loose data.
But I use to keep it on and really what's happening is you are just doubling up the usage of your disk space. So, I'll enable it for some project so that I can do that during the project. But for most of the time I go ahead and I keep it off. Indicate the Clone hairs while Cloning can be useful. That's if you have two documents open and you are drawing in one and you can see the same part of the image in the other source image, you can see the cross hairs, cool but I don't find it that useful because most of the time I'm not working with Clones and even if I am, I don't have it in such a way that I see the source documents.
So, this one is not necessarily important. Draw zoomed-out views using area averaging is Painter's way of creating in a higher quality render or redraw of an image when you zoom-out to different levels. It can cause a little bit of a performance hit and some people have seen some funny artifacts that happen with it. So, this does not need to be enabled, in fact, I'm going to shut this off, I don't need it. And then Show the Commit dialog when converting to a layer. I just do that so that certain layer types like Text for example, it has to be converted when it's made into just a flat pixel layer and it is nice to have that dialog come up to remind you of that, so that you know, oh! Yes, I'm changing this and I won't be able to edit it like text anymore.
So, I do keep that one on and the other one that you may find fairly interesting is this Brush size increment. Now, I have experimented with this at infinite item and I finally arrived at 2 pixels, I really like it but when I'm doing detail work, I like to have really precise control over my brush size when using the left or right bracket keys for example and I have found that 2 pixels for me works really well. So, that's just a quick look at the general preferences, we'll be looking at some more areas here coming up, but it's to how you go ahead and customize Painter.
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