Join John Derry for an in-depth discussion in this video Painting with symmetry, part of Painter 12 Essential Training.
We humans love order. Symmetry creates an instant sense of order. With symmetry, everything is in balance, everything is in order. It is a perfect world with nary a hair out of place on its symmetric head. Painter 12's Mirror and Kaleidoscope tools serve up utterly lickable symmetric eye candy; like a warm puppy or fluffy kitten. Who isn't attracted to and loves symmetry? But don't be fooled, the Mirror and Kaleidoscope tools are powerful stuff that you may find yourself hopelessly lost in with no apparent way out.
Be forewarned, symmetry painting can be habit forming and may lead to addiction. I'm required by law to issue that warning. We're going to talk about two new tools in Painter 12, the Mirror tool and the Kaleidoscope tool, and we'll start off with the Mirror tool. And it's actually found in the Tool palette right here, so I'm going to enable Mirror Painting by toggling that on. We've got some controls up here that we'll talk about.
For one thing I can turn it on and off from here. I can also adjust whether I want a vertical symmetry or a horizontal symmetry, or both. You can play with which aspects of those you want. I am just going to play around with vertical right now. You can also adjust the angle of it. You can go in here and by adjusting this you can change the angle of the symmetry, and as we get playing with it a bit, we'll see how that plays into doing some symmetry work.
You can also alter the color of whatever the Symmetry Plane indicator is on screen. And I am just going to stay with the green that it is. So we've got a vertical Symmetry Plane set up here, and I am just going to move this into the center. And I am going to use the Scratchboard tool at least to start off with here, so I can show you how this works. When I paint in one side of this, it starts to mirror itself in the other side and if you then go on to the other side, same thing.
So, I'm just scribbling at this point, you can already see how you can really get some interesting kinds of things going on here, and start to add things like different colors, for example. It's pretty addictive, once you start trying this stuff out. And it works with most of the tools; I won't say it works with every tool, but let's try something like the Wet Brush, I will get a different color here. Yeah so you see where once again it's just going in there and doing some pretty remarkable changes.
And because it's symmetrical, and the human face is symmetrical, I am already kind of seeing a bit of a human face in there. So maybe I'll go back to the Scratchboard tool and get some black, and it seems kind of like there is some sort of alien thing going on here with some sort of eyes, and this is some sort of scaly head thing. But you can see because the human face is symmetrical, this right away kind of has an interesting use.
And I've seen a lot of the conceptual fanatics kind of get into this kind of, sort of quick way to create a symmetrical entity like a face without having to necessarily draw both sides of it. So this is just kind of a quick messing around, but I think you can already see the value of just, either for playing, or for actually creating a finished piece. You do have the ability here to get some pretty interesting stuff going on.
And because it's symmetrical, like I said at the outset, the eye is attracted to symmetry. It's just -- it's the natural balance of it we find very appealing. And so, this naturally has kind of an interesting look because it's symmetrical. And so without a whole lot of effort, I'm actually able to create, you know, a fairly nice little quick sketch here. Now this will probably mess it up, but I want to show you some of these things. One of the things is, if you go back to the Symmetry tool itself, if I get near the edge of the symmetry plane I can go ahead and I can change this angle.
I can also get right here and I can move this around. Now this is probably going to wreck my perfect alien face, but let's get another color here, and I'll just show you that now I need to go back to my tool of course. Now our symmetry is off at some other angle, you know, I could give him a -- I don't know, a nice pretty little bow, and I would imagine that erasing works well, yup. So you can erase, not that I want to.
I thought maybe I would do just the -- yeah but it's not on a separate layer. But don't forget that, you can create multiple layers here. So if I create a New Layer, and let's see, let's see if I have enough undo here to I get myself out of there. So, now I could on a new layer, go in here with the Scratchboard tool and kind of give him a nice little bow right there. So the fact that you can move this around and alter it as you go gives you a pretty interesting way to use symmetry in multiple planes like I'm doing here, in order to be able to have a symmetrical object elsewhere in the image without it actually being on the same symmetry plane as other work you've done.
That's pretty cool. And being in a layer, I should be able to pick this up and move it, it will no longer respect the symmetry plane, but it is a layer so you can still treat it exactly as such. So, that's symmetry and as I said at the outset, this can be very addicting and once you set it up and start playing with it, you start to realize, oh what if I bring this brush in and what if I do this kind of effect and what if I change the angle? It's a real playground for getting very interesting designs and things going on.
If you think that's good, let's now take a look at the other tool, which if you click and hold the Symmetry Painting button, there is a second one here and this is the Kaleidoscope tool. Now I am going to go ahead and clear my layers off. But I'll leave them here in case I later on want to use multiple layers. Let's go here and as before if you are in the Symmetry tool I can get here, I can pick this up and I can move it, and I can also rotate the angle of the symmetry.
You can also create a lot of symmetry planes if you want. So, now maybe I'll go with eight or so, and let's once again, just something simple like the Scratchboard tool, and I'll start painting in here and once again, you're seeing a very interesting approach. The nice thing about it is, you can paint in any plane and it's mirrored in all the other planes. As I say here, I am going to write my signature right here, watch how even that becomes a nice design element.
See it's totally abstract, just because it's getting mirrored around and they all intersect like that, you get this nice little filigree going on. Let's get some very different tool, like something like Sponges. I am going to just take the Sponge tool and I am going to reduce the size of it a bit, and let's get a bright color here and just -- It's like a real kaleidoscope, you know, at some point you'll go like, oh I liked it a little bit while ago, and well, if you have enough undos you can certainly can get back to it.
But it's also -- it's very addictive to want to keep going and just kind of playing with this. And let's go back to the Scratchboard tool, so I am not going to spend a huge amount of time here, but I just, hopefully you are just seeing even within this quick little demonstration how amazing of a set of designs you can work out just based on simple symmetry. So that is the Symmetry Paint and Kaleidoscope tools, and I don't even have to hope you will enjoy these tools when you start playing with them. I know you are going to enjoy them.
But just remember, they can be habit forming. Don't say I didn't warn you.
- 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
Skill Level Beginner
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.