Painter 11 Essential Training
Illustration by John Derry

Using the Stroke Designer to create custom brushes


Painter 11 Essential Training

with John Derry

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Video: Using the Stroke Designer to create custom brushes

In the last couple of videos, we have taken a look at the Randomizer and the Transposer. While both of them give you some ability to create new brushes, you are really doing it blind. You really don't understand exactly what's going on. We are now going to go to the Stroke Designer, where you are going to start to see all of the knobs and buttons and levers I have been talking about. So go on up to the top of the Brush Creator window and select Stroke Designer. That opens the Stroke Designer tab and what you can see here now is starting to be all of these controls, what I sometimes call the 747 cockpit of Painter.
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  1. 1m 49s
    1. Welcome/demo
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 3m 45s
    1. What Painter can do
      1m 15s
    2. Let's paint!
      2m 30s
  3. 23m 16s
    1. Starting Painter for the first time
      6m 39s
    2. Creating, opening, and saving files
      4m 52s
    3. Sizing image resolution for output
      6m 16s
    4. Extending the canvas
      2m 36s
    5. Creating and using templates
      2m 53s
  4. 37m 46s
    1. Navigating Painter
      8m 46s
    2. Rotating the canvas
      3m 3s
    3. Using the Tool palette and Property bar
      6m 41s
    4. Understanding Tool palette selectors
      8m 58s
    5. The Brush Selector bar: an art store in a palette
      4m 2s
    6. Configuring palettes
      6m 16s
  5. 28m 37s
    1. Accessing and controlling color with the Color palette
      8m 27s
    2. Mixing color in the Mixer palette
      10m 41s
    3. Color sets: choose 'n' use color
      9m 29s
  6. 37m 13s
    1. Understanding the six axes of motion
      3m 19s
    2. Introducing tablets: Intuos3 and Intuos4
      8m 6s
    3. Introducing tablets: Cintiq
      7m 49s
    4. Customizing your Wacom tablet: part 1
      4m 57s
    5. Customizing your Wacom tablet: part 2
      9m 25s
    6. Maximizing your tablet's pressure response
      3m 37s
  7. 14m 56s
    1. Understanding the selection tools
      2m 16s
    2. Making selections using the Lasso tool
      3m 20s
    3. Making polygonal selections
      2m 51s
    4. Making selections using the Magic Wand tool
      6m 29s
  8. 42m 34s
    1. Understanding layers
      8m 1s
    2. Using the Preserve Transparency control
      2m 50s
    3. Using the Pick Up Underlying Color control
      4m 36s
    4. Resizing and rotating layers using the Transform tool
      5m 45s
    5. Making selections using channels
      4m 23s
    6. Working with layer masks
      9m 52s
    7. Adding text
      7m 7s
  9. 37m 40s
    1. Understanding the Brush Creator workspace
      6m 11s
    2. Exploring brush properties using the Randomizer
      8m 15s
    3. Exploring brush properties using the Transposer
      4m 45s
    4. Using the Stroke Designer to create custom brushes
      9m 39s
    5. Managing brush variants
      8m 50s
  10. 38m 25s
    1. Adjusting brush size: three techniques
      3m 3s
    2. Fine-tuning your stroke in the Brush Controls palette
      5m 12s
    3. Working with texture-aware media
      8m 59s
    4. Painting with Artists' Oils brushes
      10m 45s
    5. Painting with RealBristle brushes
      3m 39s
    6. Working with hard media
      4m 57s
    7. Painting with markers
      1m 50s
  11. 20m 21s
    1. Understanding the Image Hose
      3m 26s
    2. Controlling the Image Hose
      8m 32s
    3. Creating a nozzle file
      8m 23s
  12. 22m 11s
    1. Warmup exercises
      7m 54s
    2. Draftsmanship: drawing media
      10m 56s
    3. Doodling
    4. Creating outline sketches utilizing the conceptual squint
      2m 38s
  13. 17m 28s
    1. Understanding cloning
      3m 1s
    2. Tracing a clone's source using Tracing Paper
      3m 27s
    3. Painting a cloned image
      5m 55s
    4. Creating a Quick Clone
      2m 46s
    5. In-document cloning
      2m 19s
  14. 25m 51s
    1. Understanding the vocabularies of paint photography
      8m 51s
    2. You must destroy detail
      6m 20s
    3. Focusing on the subject
      4m 1s
    4. Adapting color in a photograph for photo painting
      6m 39s
  15. 28m 17s
    1. Under-painting
      6m 26s
    2. Auto-painting
      5m 25s
    3. Using manual controls for auto-painting
      11m 53s
    4. Restoring detail using the Restoration palette
      4m 33s
  16. 18m 44s
    1. The photo as wet oil paint
      6m 47s
    2. Cloning the canvas and building detail with multiple layers
      11m 57s
  17. 25m 58s
    1. Applying surface texture
      6m 53s
    2. Matching the color palette between two images
      4m 10s
    3. Marbling
      9m 27s
    4. Exploring the Growth effect
      5m 28s
  18. 25m 10s
    1. Understanding frame-by-frame animation
      2m 9s
    2. Creating an animation with onion-skinning
      11m 51s
    3. Using a movie clone source
      11m 10s
  19. 17m 46s
    1. Using each application for its strengths
      4m 24s
    2. Working with Photoshop's PSD file format in Painter and Photoshop
      4m 51s
    3. Configuring color management
      8m 31s
  20. 33m 26s
    1. Setting preferences
      7m 37s
    2. Customizing keyboard shortcuts
      5m 5s
    3. Saving and restoring palette layouts
      4m 4s
    4. Creating custom palettes
      3m 36s
    5. Accessing favorite brushes using the Tracker palette
      5m 55s
    6. Organizing custom workspaces
      7m 9s
  21. 8m 17s
    1. Undo, undo, undo
      3m 33s
    2. Painting on layers
      1m 57s
    3. Save often, save early
      2m 47s
  22. 10m 7s
    1. Resetting brushes: Painter's panic button
      2m 0s
    2. Resetting workspaces with the Shift key restart
      6m 12s
    3. Troubleshooting brushes with the brush checklist
      1m 55s
  23. 16s
    1. Goodbye

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Watch the Online Video Course Painter 11 Essential Training
8h 39m Beginner Jul 24, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Understanding the Painter 11 interface
  • Exploring Painter's brushes and painting styles
  • Creating and using templates
  • Working with layers and channels
  • Adding text to a canvas
  • Designing captions and text for photos
  • Integrating Painter projects with Photoshop
  • Creating animation sequences with Painter
Painter Wacom
John Derry

Using the Stroke Designer to create custom brushes

In the last couple of videos, we have taken a look at the Randomizer and the Transposer. While both of them give you some ability to create new brushes, you are really doing it blind. You really don't understand exactly what's going on. We are now going to go to the Stroke Designer, where you are going to start to see all of the knobs and buttons and levers I have been talking about. So go on up to the top of the Brush Creator window and select Stroke Designer. That opens the Stroke Designer tab and what you can see here now is starting to be all of these controls, what I sometimes call the 747 cockpit of Painter.

There is another way to look at these and we'll explore this later in the Brush Controls, which you can actually see while you are over in Painter. This is actually the same set of controls. It's just it limits you to how much you can see at one time and that's a good thing for starting out to learn this, so that you don't get overwhelmed by too much exposed to you at one time. I'm going to select a different brush here, because I want to start to show you how some of this works. So I'm going to go to the Acrylics here and I'm going to look for Captured Bristle.

So, you can see we get a preview stroke of the brush. I'll just try it out here. Here it is a little bit. So we are going to start to look at what makes this brush tick and the first thing you can see here is we've got a whole list here, kind of like the categories are in brushes themselves. These are the various categories of control over this brush and right now you can see how the general section is highlighted in gray and then over here, we see these are all the controls associated with the general controls.

You will see that some of them are grayed out. In fact some of these entries over here are grayed out. Whenever something is grayed out, it's telling you, this control is not functional for this particular brush. There are so many variations of types of brush models in Painter that there is no one brush that uses them all. There are all these different types of brush models to accommodate the wide range of media that is in Painter. So right away, you have got a little bit of a learning tool right here. You can look and see in terms of Captured Acrylic Brush, we don't even know what this is right now, but apparently the Rake control has nothing to do with it.

The Image Hose, the Airbrush, Water, Liquid Ink and so on, none of these have any barring over this brush and then within the general panel itself. Well, apparently Grain, Boost, Text, Direction, if they are grayed out, they have nothing to do with this brush. On the other hand, these do. So we can go through these and easily see what controls this brush and what doesn't. Okay? Now that we are in the Size panel, let's just take a look at this a little bit. For example, look at that, hey! I can adjust this.

This does something. Now here is the interesting thing. You cannot damage or blow up or break a Painter brush. If you start messing with all of these controls and it gets wildly or it doesn't pain anymore or you don't understand what's happening, you've always got the panic button up here, the Reset button to get you back to the original brush. So, you can do no wrong in here, but I'm going to show you a few things in particular associated with the Acrylics brush. This title does not attempt to explain the intricacies of brush creation.

That's left for another title. But I'm just going to show you as an example, the Captured Bristle brush and how it's controlled with the Brush Creator and ultimately the Brush Controls. So, you can see how you can affect the nuances of a brush. Now, here is a little known secret that a lot of people don't know. If you have the Size palette open and this will occur later on when you'll see in the Brush palette, if you click on this, it changes to something different. What this does as I click through it is it's switching between just a flat model and in fact if I change whatever this Min Size, it means minimum size, as I start to adjust this, what I'm doing here is I'm starting to tell that I want this brush to have a maximum and a minimum size and this is showing me the maximum and minimum size.

So right there, you learned a little bit and if I click on this, it's going to switch over to the view that shows me the Brush Dab and we are going to be going through some words here as we work. A Brush Dab is the mark that the brush uses to make its mark on the Canvas and you can already see a hint of that in here, there is obviously something that is creating the illusion of kind of multiple hairs or break up in the brush, so it's just not a solid brush. So what's happening there is it's literally utilizing this mark in order to create the illusion of multiple brush hairs in the stroke.

So right away, this gives us a clue or a cue to what's going on. You wouldn't know this unless I was explaining this to you, so follow along with me here. I'm going to go down to Bristles and unfortunately, you can't see both of these at the same time. That is a little bit of a hindrance here but I want to show you, if I go to Bristles and I change the hair scale, let's go back and look at Size. You see what just happened, I have made smaller brush hairs. Let's go back to Bristle one more time and play around with the Thickness, if I turn this up, what am I going to get. Now, I have made the brush hairs very thick, let's go back and take it way down, one this happens.

Now, I'm getting very thin brush hairs and sure enough, look, now I have got a brush that paints if it's got very fine hairs in it and go back here once more and let's turn Thickness up a little bit. The other thing too is you can look here and see what's going to happen. But right away I'm starting to see how I can control what's going on in this brush by visiting the various panels and seeing what's happening. Here is another way I can control this brush. I have a minimum and maximum size, but right now when I paint, nothing is happening.

Well, you will find this throughout many of the Brush Control palettes, you will see this thing called Expression and if we look at the little pop up, we'll see several different what we refer to as Animators. These are things that can animate or cause a dynamic change in the brush and a real obvious one to use here is Pressure. So I'm going to click on Pressure, let's clear this and now I'm going to do Light Pressure to Full Pressure and sure enough, look what's happening, the brush is changing size and getting larger and more hairs are being applied to it. So already, I'm starting to get a very good sense of how I can control the expressive characters of this brush.

Another good one to look at is Spacing, let's put this a dark color. So you can see what's going on here and watch down here in the Sample Stroke, I'm going to adjust Spacing up. You see what just happened in there. You can see it in the Sample Stroke. Really that brush dab that we saw is composed of a set of very, very closely spaced dabs of that brush and when you set Spacing up so high, it breaks up into the individual. I can probably do it right here. There it is. You can kind of see the dab. As I start to make that closer and closer together, they are going to start to look more and more like a coherent set of brush marks.

So, it's still kind of far apart, when I see this, sometimes I refer this as tire tracks and that just indicates that the brush spacing is a bit high. So I'm starting to turn this down more and more. It's getting better, but I still get a little bit of the tire track effect. One of the things that you end up doing in Painter and this is getting to be less important than it used to be years ago because processor speeds have not gotten so fast. You used to have to really kind of play a game with finding out what's the maximum spacing I can get away within a brush without seeing the performance start to slow down because there is a lot of processing going on with an application like this where it has to draw to the screen as quickly as it can and that's a very computationally intensive operation.

Nowadays, it's gotten to where it's so fast and literally in the old days, you couldn't take it down that low. Now, you literally can and it can still be a pretty fast brush. So some of the reasons these were built-in at one time are lost to history because the processors have gotten so fast. They are not as important as they once were but there's still controls that are in there and they are still very useful for various types of effects. You may remember earlier, let me go back and load it up, let's look at the brush that we made earlier. That was the Festive Brush right here.

You see how the spacing is very high. That's what makes this brush partially look this way. When it was playing with the various controls, it decided in the Randomizer, oh! I'm going to push this control up, just randomly higher with no idea of what it's going to do and that's what happened with this particular brush. So you've got both sides of the coin here. You have a brush that you don't know how it was made but as you start to investigate and play with brushes and try these adjustments, you will start to make the connection. It's like oh! That spacing is probably what happened over in this brush and all of a sudden, you've made a leap to where you now understand what that control does.

Trust me, you are not going to master this in a day. It's going to take you quite a while to get used to what all of these various controls do, but as time goes on, you will be exposed to what the various controls are doing inside of how a certain control causes a certain nuance in a brush to happen, will start to work for you. So the Brush Stroke Designer is just really the best way you can start to educate yourself about how the brush works and as I said before, if you'd get out of control, you can always use the Panic button up here to get back.

So there is no way you can permanently lose or damage a brush with the knowledge that you can always hit that Reset button. So the Brush Creator is the place to begin to explore creating your own brushes, adjusting brushes, finding out what makes a brush tick, this is ground zero for that kind of activity.

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