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Painting as a medium includes the physical presence of surface and texture. And this is portrayed via the way that light strikes the surface that has this texture and height associated with it. Our displays maybe two-dimensional, but Painter manages to provide a convincing simulation of 3D with its Impasto feature. Painting with Impasto enabled, will often produce a giddy feeling along with uncontrollable laughter. Let's take a look at this remarkable visual treat.
So I'm going to start off -- before I actually show you full-blown Impasto. I want to talk a little bit about what's going on here, and I'm going to use three simple brushes. First we're going to use what's called a Depth Lofter, and I'm going to paint on this surface with it. It's not going to apply a color, it's only to apply heighth. So it's as if the light was coming from the upper left corner at this point, and so it's highlighting the raised areas that I'm creating by painting with this Depth Lofter. And on the non-lit side, we get some shadow.
So I'm lofting the depth, and one way to think about what's happening here, when I haven't painted on here yet, that's sea level. And when I'm starting to paint with this Depth Lofter, it's adding height. So it's like creating a mountain. And there is a limit to how much depth Painter's Impasto can portray. So if I linger for too long in one spot, we'll see that it'll eventually top out and hit an artificial limit. Now maybe we're not seeing it too well here.
Let's go on, but I'll be able to show it to you once we start painting. But I want you to imagine, these are mountains that are coming towards us, and the simple gray area is just sea level. Now if I go in the opposite direction, I can do so with the Depth Eraser. So what this is going to do is depress from sea level and below. So as I paint in areas that I've already painted in, I'm gouging down into that height, and even sea level has some depth below it.
So I can gouge out below sea level. Now if I go back to the third brush here, the Depth Equalizer, this is going to return anything that's below or above this supposed sea level, back to sea level. So you can see here now I'm just erasing away the depth and it eventually returns it back to sea level. So you've got this ability with Impasto, in the sense of three-dimensional lighting, to portray what appears to be a true three-dimensional height.
And once we start adding color to this, we'll see that we can really get some very interesting brushstrokes. So let's go in here and let me just take something like -- Gloopy's a good one, just because it really emphasizes height. So as I paint with this, this happens to be an old style brush, so it has this little dotted appearance before it computes, but it also makes up for our rather interesting style of stroke that you can't get any other way. But you can see how this is building up depth as I paint over individual strokes.
Another one that's probably a little bit more realistic would be something like, oh, let's take the Smeary Round down here, and this is going to have brushstrokes in it. But you can see, it's almost like I'm painting in to wet paint. And once again, just the more you paint with this, the more in one area, the more it's going to build up. Now let's see if I can do my thing here where I eventually hit the top of this. In some cases it takes quite a bit to do it. I'm just letting you know that you can get into a situation where all of a sudden you'll see, it looks like the top of the texture has hit glass and it's flattening out.
And that's when you've hit the limit of how high the Impasto can be portrayed on screen. Now allied with this, is the controls for Impasto, and that is Surface Lighting. Let's go to here, and what this is going to let me do is control the appearance of depth. For example, I can change the light source here. See how as I move this, I'm actually adjusting the height of the light, and at what angle the light and shadow is appearing to come from.
I could even go in and add a second light if I want. And in fact, that light color can be a different color. Let's go here and just get some color so you'll see this. See now I'm casting a green light from one angle, some of these areas are actually catching a little green, and yet I've got highlights on the other side. When you start adding multiple light sources and playing around with their positioning, you can really start to get some very interesting, interactive stuff going on.
I can also control the amount of depth. So if I turn this down, you'll see that it's kind of compressing the depth, so it gets less and less, to where now this is just a painting without any Impasto visible on it at all. So you'd definitely want to have some, and a lot of people will play with this set to a very high level, but once it gets to these very extreme levels, it kind of looks overwrought and cartoony. If anything, the rule here should be probably less is more. So while this may look good, I would say take it down a bit, and in the long haul, you'll probably be happier with the way it looks once you've reduced the depth, rather than playing with some extremely high degree of depth.
Finally, I'm just quickly going to open up the Control panel, and there actually is in here an Impasto panel. This is also where you can play around with things. The one thing I'm going to show you that is one you'll want to play with, is this Depth slider. The more I turn this up, it's not going to affect depth like it does in the lighting module, but it's going to affect how much depth the brush initially lays down. So once again, I can get this to some uncharacteristically high level where you can see it's starting to have anti-aliasing artifacts and it just doesn't look real anymore.
And so again, you typically want to keep the depth down. Although if you do have a little bit of extra depth in the brushstrokes now, you can always go back to your Surface Lighting, and you can see it'll probably render this too low, or not with very much depth to it at all, but I can go ahead and probably control how that looks to a degree. So you can see, now that looks okay, but this is almost without depth. So you typically don't want to mess too much with the Depth slider, but if you're working in the situation where you want to somehow have a more aggressive depth associated with your strokes, the way to do that is to just turn up the depth for the particular brush you're working with.
But just be advised that there's no real way to go back from this, especially in a mixed environment like this where I was working with one level of depth with this brush, and then later on I changed it. Now I've got two depth levels. If I correct this with the Lighting control, I can make it look right, but then this going to appear to have no depth at all. So once you get started, you don't want to mess too much, if at all, with the Depth slider. I'm just indicating to you, it is an adjustment that you can and may occasionally want to make. So Impasto is a way to really add a three -dimensional appearance to your imagery on a two-dimensional surface.
And one of the things about adding some of this character to a painting is it starts to imbue it with a more, almost physical quality. It starts to look almost more as if it had been a real painting with this three-dimensional quality, that has been photographed. And as such, it just starts to take on a sense of reality. So Impasto is one great way to get that three-dimensional viscous oil feel that you associate with traditional oil painting.
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