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- Setting up a Wacom tablet
- Removing lens distortions
- Correcting distracting image elements
- Making shadow and highlight adjustments
- Simplifying details with filters and Smart Blur
- Modifying color
- Cloning layers
- Using a traditional paint color swatch set
- Using custom actions
- Working with canvas texture
- Creating physical surface texture effects
- Painting with custom brushes
Skill Level Intermediate
The Mixer Brush Cloning Paint Setup action, I'm happy to say, was developed by yours truly, and is now an action in CS6's default action library. This action works in concert with Mixer Brush-based cloner brushes, which we'll cover in depth in the next chapter on brushes. For now, we'll focus on the inner workings of the cloning action and see what makes it tick. Let's get started. So we want to go up to the actions panel here, and if we go into default actions, right here we have, and I'll expand this out so you can see it, it's a real mouthful.
The Mixer Brush Cloning Paint Setup Action. This is the action that you run on an image that you want to convert into a painting. So I'm going to select that, and then I'll just, we'll close this down too so it's not occluding our image, and I will go ahead and run this, and the first thing you'll see here is it's just going to give you a couple of warnings. It's going to let you know, it's goig to flatten any existing layers. It has to be a flattened image, and you're going to want to use, as I mentioned, cloner brushes, and we'll get into that in great detail a little bit later.
You are also going to want to make sure that Sample All Layers, and right now I don't have the Mixer Brush, but I'll show it to you as soon as we run the action. You want to have Sample All Layers is disabled, because if it's on, it can cause a bit of a slowdown performance-wise, and that all depends on, you know, how much memory you have, what kind of processor your system has, all of those things. And I can tell you too that with the introduction of CS6 it doesn't seem to cause as much of a performance hit as it did in CS5. So it's not as bad as it used to be, but it's probably still a good practice to make sure that Sample All Layers is disabled, and I'll show you that in just a minute.
So let's go ahead and run it, and we've now got our set of actions. And let's, at this point, we can just look at this, and let's talk about what has happened. So, it looks like what we've basically got here is a somewhat light version of our image. What that actually is, is this Reference Layer. So I can turn that on and off, and we'll get into looking at the optional content that I offered you at the beginning, and show you how to install it. But, I have some tools here, so you'll be able to turn it on and off with just a couple clicks of the keyboard.
So, we've got this Reference Layer. And to begin with it's set, it's set up to run on the underpainting layer. Let's go ahead and get one of the cloner brushes. So I'll just take this flat fan brush, and let's Zoom up so we can see this, because you're really, probably working mostly at 100% as you use this image, and what happens is, when I start to paint on this layer, these colors are actually being derived from what appears to be the underlying image.
It's actually, and I'll talk about this in a little bit more detail, how this cloning layer works in the next video. But for now, just enjoy the magic of the fact that you can paint on this layer, and this literally applies the color from the photograph. So if we turn this reference layer off, for example, see, now that's where the colors are coming from. If I don't have the Reference Layer on, how do I know where to paint? Well that's why you have the Reference Layer. It's going to be important for a lot of the time to have this enabled, but you will be able to turn it on and off with a shortcut so that you don't have to always see it, because I do find it to be very valuable to be able to see it both on and off.
So see in here, we're going to get some different coloration. I'm not trying to paint really any meaningful way at this point. I'm just showing you the technique of how this particular layer works. So in each of these ares, its color is coming from the image. See if I, if I continue painting, it's all there, all those colors. It's just I don't know where I'm getting the color from at this point. And that's why the reference layer becomes so important as a tool, and an aid, to let you know where to place your brushes.
The next thing you do, say if we were working on this image. Let's just, for an example here, you know. We've got this area where there's a little bit going on. So, let's say, for my underlayer, underpainting layer, I just want to basically get broad strokes that define that area. OK? Now, let's go to the intermediate layer. Now, I'll probably want to turn my brush size down a little bit. But now I'm on a different layer. So now I can start to paint these areas with more approaching the detail of it. So I want to use smaller brush strokes, and again, we're going to do this in a very abbreviated fashion right now, so you can see what essentially is happening.
So that this is just a small little test of it, but let's go ahead and once again turn off the reference layer. Now see how that is on a different layer. So now I've added some intermediate strokes to this. To the eye, it looks like it's a flat painting, but in fact each one of these is their own separate layer. And then finally you get to the detail strokes, which is where you're going to use the smallest brushes. And I probably didn't chose the best area here, because there's not really not much more detail going on, but we'll just try a little bit here. So, you know, I might go in and just grab this and this.
And again, I wouldn't work at this fine of a detail necessarily in this image, but I'm just wanting to give you a little hint of how each of these layers can be incorporated into the overall image. So again, very, very small amount of effort here, but, maybe we'll do a little bit more there. So now I've got this third level of detail going on, and what I can also do, is with each one of these, for example, the underpainting layer, one of the things that you can do to create emphasis, is to adjust these layers.
Right now, they're all using the same degree of saturation and value, whereas I can now nested in this Underpainting Layer group, is a hue saturation adjustment layer. So I can go in here, and let's say, maybe I should lighten that up a little bit, or maybe I want to desaturate it by a little bit, OK. And let's go to our Detail Layer and let's do the opposite. Let's go to the Detail Layer and I could say, well, here, I want to push saturation up, and maybe I want to lighten it a little bit.
So now the way I'm dividing up these layers and emphasizing or deemphasizing the various layers, is done by adjusting things like the hue and saturation. And these are just adjustment layers, they're the ones that I felt were the most valuable for making these kinds of adjustments, but any adjustment layer is fair game. So, if you wanted to add different adjustment layers, you could. So any adjustment layer can be added into these to even give it more flexibility than is offered by default.
And then finally, as I said, the reference layer is just there to be able to just check where things are. Now, I've created a very nonsensical image here, and as we go through the real image doing it, you'll see in much better detail how all of these three come together to work as a unified whole. So, the fact that we've got these layers is the key part of understanding how the Cloning Layers work. In the next chapter I'm going to describe to you exactly how a Cloning Layer does work, because I've gotten a lot of inquires over that in the last year and a half or so that this has been around.
People are like, well how does that even work? Well, I'll show you in the next video.