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

Understanding the flexibility of layers


Painter 12 Essential Training

with John Derry

Video: Understanding the flexibility of layers

One of the great inventions in the world of digital imaging is the layer. Layers enable a great amount of flexibility that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. And I'm going to just do a quick example on screen here to show you what I'm talking about. I am going to get a paintbrush here. Let's go to Acrylics, and we will just take Captured Bristle, and get a color here.
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

Understanding the flexibility of layers

One of the great inventions in the world of digital imaging is the layer. Layers enable a great amount of flexibility that would otherwise be impossible to achieve. And I'm going to just do a quick example on screen here to show you what I'm talking about. I am going to get a paintbrush here. Let's go to Acrylics, and we will just take Captured Bristle, and get a color here.

Now, I am just going to paint with this a bit, nothing spectacular. But I want to show you in traditional sense or in an application where you didn't have layers, let's say I am just painting along, and I am having fun, creating kind of an abstract geometric sort of thing here. Let's see, maybe I am going to want to add some green down here, and I will take another color here just to kind of play around; some yellow.

Okay, I have done this image, and let's say later on, I start to decide things like, oh, you know, I wish I hadn't done this in red. There are techniques you could go in and try to select just the red and change it, but you're probably always going to have issues along the fringes of where colors meet. It's a flat image. So that's it! This is the image, there's nothing more I can do with it. So I'm going to now do a very similar kind of imaging of the same subject, but we are going to use layers in this case.

So we're now in the Layers palette. And if we go down to the bottom here, you will see there are some icons. The first one are Layer commands, and right now they are all grayed out because we have no layers to act up on. You also have some dynamic plugins that let you do some different kinds of interesting variations on painting with these plugins, and we have New layer. Then we have New Layer Mask, which we will get into a little bit, and then we have Lock Layer.

So we've got some controls here and the one we're really focused on right now is just New Layer. So I am going to click on that and it creates a new layer. So now let's start to do similar to what I did before here. I'm going to start to just paint an image here, and it won't be exactly the same, because I don't even remember what I painted. But I am going to paint this here. And now, instead of just going to my next color and painting on here, I am going to create a new layer, and I'm going to do the same thing.

So now I'm painting here. Every time I change to new color, I am going to create a new layer, and then we will go to some yellow/orange here, create a new layer, I want some green. So we'll put some little thingies here, and I will create another layer, or here are the purples, just kind of put some color in here, and maybe I will finish it off with some stripes on there.

So we will get some yellow stripes. A similar question as I asked before, later on, I might look at this and say, you know I wish maybe I had not done that in that color. And so, I have selected my layer selector. One of the things I am going to do up here is go right here, this second icon, and you can see it's Auto Select Layer on/off. I always have this on. I want that to be on, because what that means is when I click on say this one, see how the green elements that I've painted on that layer are now selected, or if I select the purple, it's now selected, or if I select the blue, it's selected.

If we open this up, we'll see more of what's going on. And so, the idea that these are separate layers now opens up a number of opportunities. For example, if I want to address this red/orange area, I could select that and very simply, one thing I could do is I could go into my Effects and go to Tonal Control > Adjust Colors, and here's if I wanted it more red, I could shift it there to a much more red color, say OK.

And now I've altered that, just that, and nothing else. If this were a flat object as I stated earlier, that would be very difficult to do. I'd have to use all kinds of selection techniques and stuff, and hopefully do a very good job of it so there is no color fringing along the edges. But I can even go a step further. What if I decided, you know, this is kind of offset, I wish I'd painted it up here a little bit. Well, I can do that. I can move this around wherever I want. Same with this, same with any of these elements. They're all individual layers now, and the fact that I'm working in this layered painting environment means that much more opportunity to make changes is possible.

And that is probably right there, the single most important reason why you want to be knowledgeable and good at using layers, because this ability to alter things after the fact goes a long, long way. I may decide I want to play completely with how this was done. I can do all kinds of things that wouldn't have been possible. So you can really, what if, to your heart's content here, in a way that you never could with an image that is completely flat.

I can even play around with the layer order of these. If I go to the green, which I have selected, I can click and drag this, and slowly bring it down till it gets to where it's underneath the blue in this case. Once you've created an image that's comprised of layers, you can save it in either Painter's native RIFF format or in the Photoshop PSD format, and the layers will be preserved. So you can later on open an image like this and all those layers will be intact for you to adjust and change till your heart's content.

You do want to remember, and I will get into this in greater detail in the Painter and Photoshop chapter. But each of these applications has some very specific types of layers, Photoshop, for example, has adjustment layers, Painter has Impasto. Well, Photoshop doesn't know about Impasto, there is no code in Photoshop to do anything with it. So it won't transfer across, and the same would be true of adjustment layers from Photoshop. Painter has no knowledge of them. So it tosses them out the door before it lets them into the Painter circus.

Being able to save these in a format where layering is preserved just amplifies the power of layers even more. Hopefully just this quick little demonstration has already convinced you of that. Using layers, especially when you are creating a painting, is the way to go. If you go back to painting flat, you'll quickly realize how important layers are to 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.


Upgrade to View Courses Offline


With our new Desktop App, Annual Premium Members can download courses for Internet-free viewing.

Upgrade Now

After upgrading, download Desktop App Here.

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:

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.

Start your FREE 10-day trial

Begin learning software, business, and creative skills—anytime,
anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts. provides
Unlimited access to over 4,000 courses—more than 100,000 video tutorials
Expert-led instruction
On-the-go learning. Watch from your computer, tablet, or mobile device. Switch back and forth as you choose.
Start Your FREE Trial Now

A trusted source for knowledge.


We provide training to more than 4 million people, and our members tell us that helps them stay ahead of software updates, pick up brand-new skills, switch careers, land promotions, and explore new hobbies. What can we help you do?

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.