Join John Derry for an in-depth discussion in this video Working with texture-aware media, part of Painter 12 Essential Training.
Some art making mediums interact with and utilize the character of an underlying surface texture to impart an expressive quality to a stroke. Painter's Paper Grains provide a virtual, irregular surface that grain-aware variants can interact with. Combined with pressure, the result is an amazing simulation of its traditional counterpart. To show you this, I have prepared three variants that I can quickly get to, because I want to start drawing at some point here and I don't want to have to be jumping up to the Brush selector all the time to do it.
And while I'm mentioning that, I should say that this is a great way, in advance of doing a drawing or painting, if you know or have a fairly clear idea of what tools you are going to use, you may want to aggregate them into a custom palette. That way it eliminates having to go here, then having to go here, then having to go here. See that's one, two, three brush clicks to get to a brush, whereas here, I've got the brush. That's it, I'm done. And so, being able to have close at hand the tools you are going to be using is a great way to speed up your workflow by eliminating this navigational task of going over and locating each of these as you go.
So that's just one little aside while we are working here, but it's an important note to have. Now the other thing is, we are going to be talking about texture grain, and texture-aware brushes. And the paper texture is identified right here, and I can click this and open it, and I could also get to the other paper textures in this particular library. What I cannot get at here, and this is something that's different starting with Painter 12, there was a little flyout menu that I could use to get to things like the Paper Textures palette and that's no longer here, that connection has been broken.
Now what you have to do is go up to the Window menu and actually go to your Paper Panels, and because they're both together when I open this up, there they both are. And so that's a little bit of extra step and I won't go through it here, but you know you could easily add to one of these little custom palettes, if you think you're going to be going to this and need these controls, you can use the customize palette feature to actually add a Papers button, as well as a Paper Libraries button to this.
So all in one little custom palette, you could have everything you need to work with texture-aware grains. So the fact is, I might want this -- I'll show you that after I kind of have introduce you to the way that textures work. And to do that I am going to use the Square Chalk. And one thing you can do is think of the texture on a paper as a mini little mountain range. You know, if you went in and zoomed up on it, you'd see that there are peaks and valleys in that paper texture, just like a real mountain range.
So what I want to do here is show you how this three-dimensional surface can be addressed with a pressure sensitive device. Right now I'm exerting very light pressure. So I'm just basically skipping along the very tops of that paper grain and that's all I am catching, and all I'm affecting. However, once I start bearing down in pressure, which I am starting to do, you can see that I am penetrating more and more into that paper grain until finally, when I'm down at full pressure, I've now completely filled the mountain range all the way from the top, down in to the valley.
But if you take a look at this, what you can do is you can simulate tonality with texture because I'm changing the amount of affected texture grain. It can go from black to white, so I have almost got what looks like a coarse gray scale here. And that's one of the chief ways that textures often utilize is, it is a way with a device like a piece of chalk, which really is only black and it utilizes the texture of the paper grain in this case, to simulate varying degrees of a grayscale.
And once you start adding color, well, then you can even do more things, like see now I can have a light red on top of black, or I can completely bear down and then take a contrasting color here and mix them together, and a lot of artists will do this, kind of create these optical blends. If your eyes are like mine, you're probably looking at that and there is a little bit of shimmer going on because of those two colors are so opposed to one another. You get some interesting optical effects when you start intermixing colors, especially when you use texture as a means of deciding how much of one texture is going to be portrayed on top of another.
So texture is a very important component of many mediums, and not all of Painter's brushes are texture-aware. One way you can find out which ones are, and you have to kind of go through this to find out, first of all let's just look at them. Things like Chalk & Crayons, Charcoal & Conte, what's another one down here Pastels, we get to Pencils. All of those are going to be grain-aware, they're just like their natural media cousins. In some places you may run into brushes that are texture-aware and the only way you are going to know it is, if you happen to have the General palette open, and what really controls whether any variant has a texture is in the subcategory. If the word grainy is in it then it has grain-awareness built into it. If it's just soft cover, well see the character of this brush is very different, the only texture you're seeing there is actually the overlapping dabs of the brush, there really is no texture.
The only way to get it, is to select one of these grainy models and each one of them has a different characteristic associated with it. So you'll get very different characters based on which one of these models you've been working with. So I am going to restore my brush back to the default, and we could see, it's using Grainy Hard Cover to get this particular effect. The other thing I want to be sure I do here, because I just noticed the character my brush changed when I did that, if I go back to my Brush Calibration, I want to be sure I turned this on.
And so for this particular brush, I have increased the sensitivity, so now I can get to that very light pressure and just hit the top of the texture very easily, until I just did that it was completely wanting to fill up the texture immediately. So we talked about this in another video, but this Brush Calibration is very important, and the fact that you can now attach it to individual variance really increases the ability of what this can do for you. So that's just a little aside, but let's start to take some of these and I will show you some of what you can do.
One last thing I guess before I do this, I want to show you an important thing you can change right here is the scale of the paper. You can see now that paper scale is a finer than it was before, and I can even make it smaller, so it's a very fine grain, or I can take it up to where it becomes a very coarse grain. And just changing the scale of a paper texture can have a lot of impact on the kind of quality you're going to get out of the image. Also associated with the Paper palette is the contrast and brightness sliders. I am going to go ahead and clear off my screen and let's just get some black, and I want to show you what this will do.
If I decrease the contrast, you see now I'm getting not nearly as much aggressive grain, whereas when this is turned up, same grain, but look how much different it looks. And the same goes for brightness. By playing with a combination of these, you can get a variety of variations in the character of the texture. So don't forget that when you're working with grain-aware media, you've got scale, you have got contrast and you've got brightness all at your disposal to even increase the power of one paper grain just by altering these sliders, you can dramatically change how that one texture looks.
And as you may know, Painter has library after library of texture. So you've got literally a world of texture at your disposal for working on any kind of texture-aware media that you want to attack. Let's go ahead and clear this off, and I am going to start off and I am just going to draw a simple little sketch here. So, now once again, and this is a good place to point this out, this is where the brush calibration comes in because this is not behaving at all like I want it to. And so I am going to Enable Brush Calibration and I know through experience just cranking those up, gives me a much better approximation of a real pencil.
So I've adjusted that, and let me go ahead and reduce this. And I'm not going to be changing the Paper Grain much, so let's just kind of set this back to more or less close to normal, around 200 and this is around 50, there we go. So we can go ahead and dismiss this for now, and this will give me some more space to work with, and I can go ahead and get rid of this. And let's go ahead and draw a little bit, so you can see how this works. So I am just going to draw a simple little apple. It's kind of become one of the signature things, I tend to draw when I show this kind of stuff.
So I'm just kind of quickly getting the outlines of what I'm going to do here. I just want to have a basis for what I'm going to paint. I'll probably get rid of some of that. Now let's go to my Square Chalk, and I will grab a color here, and this is where you can see now, I'm able to penetrate all the way into the grain if I want. I am also going to enlarge my brush because the larger it is a more surface area I can cover at a time. And I am going to impart a little bit of variation in the color here so I have a shadow on this side. And I like to just throw little variations in color in here. A real apple is not one color, it's generally got a mixture of color going on in it.
And let's throw in a little bit of a highlight here, and let's not forget about this leaf up here, I am reducing my brush size. In this case am using the left and right bracket keys, left bracket, continually pressing it will reduce my brush size and using the right bracket key will enlarge it. Now I am going to use the is Smudge tool and all of these are texture-aware tools, so even this smudge, you will see how it uses paper texture to alter the look of what it's smudging underneath of it.
And once I go through the basics here, then it's time to bring the chalk back and start to add a little more variety. Here's where I want to enlarge this a bit. An image like this isn't necessarily built in one attack of trying to create the apple. You are applying layer after layer, and it's that layering that sometimes gives the finished image more complexity, and that visual interest that is going to attract the eye and make it want to spend more time taking a look at this. Now I will go back to my pencil, and I'm going to -- just going to finish this off with some strokes to define the shape of the apple.
That's a very quick little exercise just to show you how starting to combine various mediums, especially when they are all texture-aware, it's kind of a glue that puts these various mediums together because they all have that similarity in that they're all utilizing the same paper grain. So texture-aware media is yet another area of Painter that it excels in and gives you this almost tactile sensation that you could touch this and there would be some texture associated with it.
Applying texture to an image with grain- aware variance is an important tool that is available in your expressive arsenal. Painter's Paper Grain libraries offer a wide range of surfaces to select from, take advantage of it.
- 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.