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Painter IX for Photographers

Addison's book helps you get the most out of the preeminent painting tool on the desktop By John Virata

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With a five hour flight to Hawaii for a much needed break, I brought along some reading material to keep me entertained. I've just started using Corel Painter, and wanted to get up to speed with this application. I've had the application before, when it shipped in a paint can, but it always seemed to find its way to an art director who worked on magazines I was staffed on in a previous life. Recently I was able to load it on my notebook, but didn't really know how to use it. Incidentally a book arrived on Corel Painter, and since  I was on my way to Hawaii with a Digital SLR in hand, I decided what the heck, let's see what Painter is all about. So with the book, I decided to work on some of the tutorials. Corel Painter is one of the most widely used applications for creating painterly images. No other application can touch it when it comes to painterly effects. While the application has always had a following among the digital artsy set, it has been coming into its own as a tool for photographers as well. Martin Addison's Painter IX for Photographers helps photographers to get the most out of Painter IX, with tips and tricks and extensive tutorials in the book and accompanying CD-ROM. Painter IX for Photographers is a 14 chapter 270 page four color, color-coded book written in a way that enables you to move from chapter topic to chapter topic fairly proficiently.

Chapter 1: Getting Started in Painter, includes exercises for those who are new to the application. The exercise include a discussion of the Painter IX workspace, including topics such as the Brush Selector, Colors palette, and Properties bar. Also discussed is importing a picture into Painter, rotating the canvas, moving around the picture, keyboard shortcuts, views, cloning techniques, using and selecting profiles, etc. Chapter 2 First steps in cloning, discusses the technique of cloning, and probably serves as the core of the book, as Addison explains that large portions of the book deals with this technique. This chapter offers step by step tutorials on the art of cloning, including learning how to create a simple soft clone, a bristle brush clone, and a simple textured clone. Each of the tutorials are enhanced with imagery showcasing both the image that you'll work with and is on the CD, as well as the tools and toolboxes you'll access in Painter IX. Chapter 3: Exploring paper textures shows you the various paper textures that makes Painter a must have tool for photographers. It discusses the paper library that you can go to to access all the papers that Painter ships with, as well as offers a tutorial on how to create your own custom paper. Other topics discussed related to paper include making a paper texture test print, changing the paper scale, contrast and brightness, using extra paper libraries, and creating your own paper texture. Chapter 4: Dark and colored clones is a departure from the content worked on in the previous chapters in that images created using the techniques in this chapter are more dark in both content and that they also have dark backgrounds. Topics covered include setting the paper color, Pencil Sketch, creating a Moody portrait, and working with pastel colored backgrounds. Again, as with all the techniques in the book, the CD-ROM includes the accompanying images that enable you to duplicate the technique Addison is employing. Chapter 5: Choosing brushes discusses how to choose the right brush for the specific job you are working on. This chapter devotes two pages for every brush that ships with Painter. The first page showcases what each brush looks like in a series, while the second page showcases an image that has a specific brush stroke applied to it as well as a detailed image of the effects of that specific brush. At 67 pages, Chapter 5 is a huge chapter that offers a lot of detail on the brushes in Painter IX. Chapter 6: Customizing brushes covers using the Brush Creator in Painter to build your own custom brushes. Features discussed include the Stroke Designer, the Randomizer, the Transposer, the Stroke Designer palettes, and saving brushes once you've created them.

Chapter 7: Cloning from multiple images offers tutorials on cloning two images to create one, and cloning from three images. The images can be found on the included content CD. Chapter 8: Layers and montage gives tips on using the Layers palette, making new layers, duplicating layers, grouping layers, layer masks, merging and flattening layers and more. The chapter also looks at moving images from Photoshop to Painter and Painter to Photoshop, offering workarounds on elements that don't translate in the same way. A Layers with cloning tutorial is also included that shows you how to make clones using the layers palette. There is also a tutorial on creating a montage. The included images shows the process step by step in detail.

Chapter 9: Watercolor, oil, and pastel offers an explanation of watercolor, how to use the watercolor tools, wetness, layers, dry rate, diffuse amount, wind force. There is also a section on Digital Watercolor, complete with images that shows you step by step how to use the watercolor clone using the Dry Brush technique, which Addison says is one of the easier brushes to work with. Other techniques covered here include the soft runny watercolor, dry bristle water color, Oils, and Pastels. Chapter 10: Applying surface texture covers the Apply Surface texture dialog box, how to use such controls as the softness slider, amount slider, Light controls, paper, image luminance, original luminance, 3D brush strokes, applying texture to a soft clone, and applying texture to a layer, among other tools. Chapter 11: Mosaics and other clones features a step by step guide covering some clones not yet revealed in the book. It includes tutorials on making mosaics, monochrome clone, liquid ink, furry clone, and furry clone as texture. Chapter 12: Hand coloring and toning offers a reference on choosing colors, using the color palette, using the small color palette, color sets, color info, working with the mixer to mix your own colors, toning techniques, and hand tinting. Chapter 13: Special Effects offers tutorials on many of the special effects tools in Painter, including the glass distortion, sketch, woodcut, distress, apply screen, burn, bevel world, liquid lens, Kaleidoscope, and marbling. Chapter 14: Paper libraries  is a collection of all the paper libraries that can be found in Painter IX. Each library is shown with all the papers and their names printed in a form so that you can view all of them easily to compare. The final section is the index of all the topics covered in the book.

Martin Addison has written a pretty comprehensive book on Painter IX and backs it up with tutorials throughout the book to help you to master what is arguably the preeminent painting application on the desktop. Each color coded chapter helps you to quickly reference what it is that you wish to bone up on, and then you can follow along with the tutorials and the images on the CD-ROM, the same images that are printed in the book. In addition, the CD-ROM includes trial versions of Painter and photographs created in Painter by photographers. Addison details all steps in the process in his tutorials, including brush size and style and opacity when relevant to ensure that you get the same results that you see on the pages of the book. It is an easy read with lots of imagery and explanation that would make a great addition to those who are new to Painter IX, or those who just wish to brush up on their digital painting skills.

Painter IX for Photographers
Martin Addison
Focal Press

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John Virata is senior editor of Digital Media Online. You can email him at
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