at a Glance
Platforms: Macintosh and Windows
Demo Available: No
Impression: This is not your everyday, ordinary effects
plugin for Photoshop. This is a program within a program that
gives you the tools you need to create original art without
ever leaving the comfort of Photoshop.
Benefits: Propeller Paint Engine includes some very nice
preset art brushes, as well as a good number of objects, motifs
and organic materials to work with. Better, this program makes
it pretty easy to customize brushes or create new ones. Adjusting
parameters and parameter controls is easy, and the effects
can be quite stunning.
The shape of the eraser is based on the brush you're currently
using, so sometimes you have to step back and load another
brush style to be able to erase large areas of the canvas.
Multiple levels of undo could help with this rather minor
problem. Other than this, I can find nothing wrong with Propeller
11 , 2001
Nowhouse Propeller Paint Engine
and effects for Adobe Photoshop
Art brushes in Propeller Paint Engine.
Image by David Nagel.
If there's one
thing lacking in the most popular image editor in the world, it's
paint capabilities. Sure, you have a tool shaped like a paintbrush
and one that functions like an airbrush, but paint functionality
in Adobe Photoshop is incredibly limited.
And yet, there
comes a time in even the least creative art director's career when
he or she needs to create original art, whether it be a concept
sketch or just text that needs a little more treatment than might
be found in his or her font collection. Enter Propeller Paint Engine
for Adobe Photoshop.
Propeller Paint Engine is a plugin module for Adobe Photoshop
that essentially acts like an application within an application.
Its primary function is to provide tools for painting in a way
that emulates natural media, and it also provides some more fanciful
tools for painting with organic material, objects and effects
patterns. So the tools range from watercolor to pencil to charcoal
and licorice vines to fire to fern leaves.
the paint tools simply by selecting the Propeller plugin from Photoshop's
Filter menu. A new interface then pops up containing all the tools and
your current layer.
Paint Engine interface. Click image for larger view.
Once there, you
simply select your tools and get to work. When you're done, you click
OK, and your painting is applied to your layer on top of what was
already there while preserving whatever transparency that was there
nice about this plugin is that you can use any image as a brush or
brush pattern. The paint engine will allow you to bring images in
and then "track" them as you paint, meaning that it follows
the direction of your strokes, as well as pressure and tilt, if you
happen to be using a pressure-sensitive and/or tilt-sensitive tablet
of some of Propeller's preset brushes.
The range of effects
you can create using Propeller are pretty much unlimited. Although
the plugin doesn't ship with all that many brushes and patterns (108
brushes and 28 patterns), you can use any image of your own to paint
with. Propeller can automatically colorize it to match one of the
existing color palettes, or you can use the original color from the
image. Propeller will allow you to modify the image just as you would
modify any of the preset brushes, and it will allow for the same sort
of tracking, pressure sensitivity, etc. that the presets have.
When you first look at the Propeller interface, you see a very simple
toolbar consisting of traditional paintbrush, eraser, color selector,
magnifying glass and hand tools. To start working, you just select
the paintbrush tools and apply your strokes. This is called ease of
this programer, pluginoffers a degree of control that's
entirely uncommon in Photoshop filters.
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Dave Nagel is the producer
of Creative Mac and
Designer; host of the Creative
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Studio Artist WWUGs; and executive producer of Creative
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