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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.
Some of Painter's brushes are what I called texture aware. That is they understand texture and I'm going to explain a little bit how this works, so that we can proceed and you'll have a little conceptual underpinning of why this does what it does. I am going to draw a mountain range and texture can be like a mountain range. There's going to be high points on a texture and there's going to be valleys or low points on a texture. Now imagine I have this big piece of chalk that I'm going to run across the surface of the paper which is made up of these tiny little mountain ranges.
Keep in mind, we are looking at one little two-dimensional slice of it, but this is really a three-dimensional array of peaks and valleys up here on a toothy surface. What's going to happen when you go over this with a certain level of pressure, you're just going to kiss the tops or the peaks. So, think of it as snow and the snow is only going to fall here. But if you start to put more pressure down -- well, you're going to get to a point where you're going to go all the way into the valley. So what's going to happen is everything is going to get filled. Now, not just the mountain peaks but even those valleys get filled.
So you end up with solid color. Now this may be a little weird looking at in a two-dimensional sense, but now that you've experience that way, let's look at it in terms of grain aware media. Grain aware media is typically various forms of dry media like Chalks or Charcoals. Pencils are certainly one, Conte, Crayons or we've Oil Pastels, Pastels, Pencils. These are all mediums that are aware of a texture.
When you select one of these, you're going to have control with pressure over what happens. Now I also have control, let's try it here. I'm going to start very lightly. You can see if we were looking straight down the mountains right now, I'm dusting the peaks of that mountain with a tan colored snow. As I press harder and harder, it's snowy and harder and harder until I get to the point where I'm literally filling up all the way, so that there is no texture revealed anymore. This is the same in traditional media, artists use mediums like chalk on a toothy surface paper to get this effect and the idea behind it is that it presents the illusion of tonality.
By going from very light to very dark, we almost get the equivalent of a luminosity or brightness scale. So it goes from very light to very dark and really it's all done with one color. It's the add mixer percentage of the white and the coloration that give this kind of illusion of a gradient. So it's been used for eons with dry media for that very purpose. Painter is doing it in a virtual texture. Where is that texture coming from? If we go over to the Tool palette and down at the bottom here, we have the Paper Selector, I'll click on that and here is where I've all of my papers that are installed that I can select from.
So if I select a different paper like this one, and start to draw now. Maybe we'll just do a different color out of interest. You'll see the same things going to happen, but now I'm getting a very different texture because it's emulating the texture of a rough cotton canvas. So, just changing the texture can make one tool appear very, very different and that's one of the big advantages of texture is that you can change it and in fact, think about what we've already done.
On one canvas I've emulated paper and I've emulated canvas. That's something you can't easily do traditionally. So the fact that you can even change grains on the fly offers up some interesting ideas. You get into some interesting patterns that aren't so much associated with traditional textures but they're still very interesting. This is a pavement pattern and once again. And once again, you can see, I mean each one of these has a very different character to it and as the artist, your role is partially selecting how you want to express yourself, what color, what texture, what medium, all of these things create a voice that you express yourself through and this really gives you that ability to change on a very wide range of feelings.
Now let's just try something else here. This is a wood grain texture. So it's just as if you are almost taking a piece of paper against wood grain and then drawing on it to force that grain beneath the paper to make its appearance. And you could see too, when you switch from one grain to another, wherever the valley still are, you're not going to affect what's underneath of it, unless you press very, very hard. And even some grains, no matter how hard you press they do not totally let you get through all the way to the valleys of that particular texture.
Let's explore this a little bit more and once again, open up the pull-down menu for Paper Textures. You will see right here, this little fly-out Options menu, from here I can launch the Paper palette and this gives me additional controls. For example, I now get a larger preview than I see in the Selector itself and I can still select here. So if I want to go to some kind of wood grain, I can, and once again it's just set up. So that it's going to emulate basically what it's named.
You do have further control however. Let's go into something like Small Dots. I can control the scale of this with a Scale slider. So if I want very fine dots, I can. I can even go smaller. I can get so smaller, they're almost unnoticeable or I can take them all the way up so that they're very, very large. So you can use scale as another expressive attribute to control the character of your brushes, your painting or drawing.
So you've got a lot of control and I'm going to show you and this is a good texture to show this. You can flip the meaning of the texture. Right now the peaks are getting this purple and the valleys are remaining clear because I'm not pressing down. Well, let's take a very different color and this icon right here lets me invert the texture. So now when I draw, you'll see what's happening, we flip the polarity. Now the mountains are the valleys and the valleys are the mountains. So this is yet another way to kind of play with texture to do some interesting combinations of things that you might not be able to do.
So flipping the polarity or the height of the texture to invert itself so that what was the valleys is the mountains and vice versa. It's something you can do. And then another one that's here that a lot of people are not aware that this is even functional or what it does, because you really have to use it correctly. This creates the grain to act directionally. To really show this off, I'm going to zoom up quite a ways here and let's find the other blank area. Again, this is a good paper grain to use. Now that it's directional, much like a traditional media, some artists use the fact that when you stroke in a certain direction that's the side that the pigment is going to get deposited on the surface of the textured media.
That's now working this way as well. So I'm going to take four different colors and just stroke from four different directions and so, I'm doing this pretty lightly because if you do a really heavy hand then you're going to notice it that much. But is definitely something that adds a nice extra degree of realism to the work. So I've come from the upper left. I'm now going to come from the bottom right. We'll just take a complementary color here and again, I'm exercising some restrain on how hard I'm pressing but you can see how -- there it's two different sides of the grain that those colors are depositing themselves.
Let's go with another color. And this time I'll come from the upper right. So you can see how now that is starting to touch the upper right portions of these little peaks. And then finally, let's go and come from the lower left and you can see it happening there. So the idea behind this is that as you use it, you're going to have the ability to actually take the different colors you are working with, even stroking back and forth with this, we'll start to produce an elongated pattern in that direction, because I'm stroking one side of the texture and then the other.
If I go to a very different color and go this way into both ways, I'll start to get some interesting things happening. So, directional grain is another kind of control that you can have to add different type of character to your dry media. So that is grain aware media and the Papers palette is a very close allied to that, because that's where you can really adjust and alter the subtlety and the expressibility of one of your dry media tools with the particular paper texture that you have used.
So take advantage of Paper Texture. It's a great tool towards providing a wide range of expression.
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