Anything Photoshop or Photography


Image of bushes with snow created in Corel PainterBeen doing a lot of experimenting and learning about Corel Painter brushes and thought I would share how my Weed Brush was created. This process is very similar to what is done in Photoshop but requires a few different steps. The above image is an example of just playing in the program, with a little help from Photoshop. It is fun to sometimes not use a photo but just paint. I had never understood how the Painter brushes worked until I started taking Jason Maranto’s Brush Engine Essentials at the Digital Art Academy . These are the most thorough and informative videos that teach everything about how all the brush dab types work all the way through the manipulation of the different panel sliders that apply to each dab type. Probably overkill if you do not love brushes, but since I do, these are an absolutely fabulous way to learn about the brushes and at your own pace! I will be watching his Brush Engine Extended videos soon and hopefully will be creating some watercolor images with my own brushes!

A captured “dab” brush was created to use as the basis for the large bushes that are the main subject of this image. (This always confused me – a dab is the actual mark laid down by the brush – a stroke is made of many dabs created by moving your stylus before lifting it from the canvas. A captured dab can originally be made up of several strokes that are now captured into one dab by following this method – and this is what I did to create the second brush below.) Therefore I thought I would go over how this brush was created in Painter with a few tips I have learned.

Image of captured brush dab in Corel PainterHere are the basic steps that were used to create this brush:

1. Created a square document to keep the proportions of the brush accurate. Painter will let you make a brush up to 750 pixels, but you do not want to make it that large or else it will slow your computer way down when using it. Choose an amount that is approximately the largest size you will need so no artifacting occurs. Try something in the range of 128 to 256 pixels for both the width and height sizes and set the resolution to 150 ppi. The brush above was set to 200 pixels square.

2. I used the Airbrush Category Fine Tip Soft Air with these settings:  Size 4.0, Opacity 100% which creates “a smooth fast-drawing tool” according to the now defunct Corel Magazine Issue #24 where they talked about the Airbrushes. (If you have any of the them, they are still great references for even the current version of Painter.) Since brushes will look best if created in black and white, select black color and paint a stroke similar to the one above on the Canvas. Corel will make the dab black and white if you do not and the results are not always great.

3. Select the whole brush document to CTRL+A and then go to Brushes -> Capture Dab. To deselect, press CTRL+D. Just to be safe, at this point I usually save the new brush by going to Brushes -> Save Variant and select a category for saving the brush.

4. Open the Dab Preview Panel to see how your new capture brush dab looks. Now it’s time to tweak your brush.

-General Panel Subcategory was changed to Grainy Hard Cover to pick more texture in the paper. Leave it to Soft Cover to get brighter more solid lines in your dab.

-If the brush is not a circular, go to the Angle Panel and change it from a 25 degree angle to something more reasonable or 0 for none. The above is set to 8 degrees for a slight variation with an Expression set to Pressure.

-The spacing of the dabs needs to be set in the Spacing Panel – set to 200% for one dab without overlapping. My brush is set to 56% Spacing and Min. Spacing of 0.1.

-Color Variability Panel Settings were used to get the variation in color. These need to be tweaked quite a bit to get the effect you want in your brush, if you want this look. For my brush, the H (Hue) was set to 15%, S (Saturation) 30%, and V (Value) 6% since I wanted that colorful variation. Do not open this panel if you do not want this effect.

-The Size Panel is set to 200 pixels, Min Size 29%, Expression Pressure, and Size Step 14%.

-The Opacity Panel is set to 100% for the Opacity, but Min. Opacity to 64% for some variation, and an Expression of 76%.

5. The last step is to update the brush you saved with the new settings by going to Brushes -> Set Default Variant. Next time you open brush, your new settings are there.

You do not have to use any of these settings for your captured dab. This is an example of how my Weed brush was put together to get the wispy texturized effect. By adjusting the size and changing the Color Variability and Subcategory, very different results can be obtained with the same dab. There are many other panels which will influence your stroke. By pressing the last icon on the Menu bar with the dot and brush, you can see which panels affect this brush for more choices.

For the rest of the image, here are the steps used. Each brush used was placed on a different layer so the opacity could be individually adjusted. The clouds were created by using a couple of brushes from Karen Bonaker’s Around the World Clouds that are free from her website. The Impressionist Sky brush is definitely a great one to begin with – then use a blender brush to smooth the edges. To really create some wonderful clouds, follow her Corel Webinar called Corel Painter Mixed Media Painting to really learn how to use all the brushes. The 3rd example is about creating the clouds.
Image as completed in Corel PainterOnce finished in Painter, the image above was brought into Photoshop where French Kiss’ Brayer Blocks 02 was used (it is very similar to her Free Photo Mask on her website if you would like to try out the effect) to add the whole scene onto it. A pink Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was clipped (ALT+click between layers) to the block to remove the black color in the block. This was done by creating a group in the Layer Panel, duplicating the group, right click and select Merge Group, and turn off the eyeball of the original group. Now you have just the elements alone to clip to the Brayer Block layer. (See Related Blog below for more info on this.) On a stamped layer (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E) Topaz (see sidebar in my Tidbits Blog for website link) ReStyle was applied using a preset I created way back that gives a bluish tone to rather bright original. My free SJ Snow 2-Overlay-slightly blurred overlay was added on top and set to 94% layer opacity. On a separate layer under the trees I used Fay Sirkis’s Snow Classic Powder Highlights (I love her brushes! If you are a KelbyOne member, they can be downloaded from her older webinars) but as you can see just a simple whitish sponge brush could be used to add a little snow. A light blue Solid Color Fill Adjustment Layer was added since the blue tone effect was just not right – it was set to Color blend mode at 41% layer opacity. The last step was to use the Camera Raw Filter Radial Filter to emphasize the middle bushes to draw the eye.


Above image painted in Corel Painter of a skierThis image used the same brush created above, but this time several dabs were put down in a document and then it was saved as a new brush called Lots of Weeds. The reason there are bare spaces between the trees is that it was not converted to a black and white brush first, so the lighter variations did not appear. I did not mind that as it gave a totally different feel to the same stroke. Below is the brush file used to create the new one in Painter.Brush Created in Painter for above imageThe trees were on a separate layer, some sprayed snow was placed underneath on a different layer, and then the file was saved as a psd file and brought into Photoshop. The skier is from a free brush pack by brusheezy called Vectoroom Snowy 2.0 and the skier was rotated in the Brush Panel Brush Tip Shape section to approximately -45 degrees, spacing set to 1000% and size down to about 80 pixels to get the downhill effect correct. I used the Blur Tool to slightly soften the edges of the skier. A think pencil effect was used to the the slight ski lines. The original tree layer from Painter was duplicated and set to Vivid Light blend mode and a Drop Shadow layer style was added to give a setting sun feeling. (Blend Mode Multiply, Opacity 55%, Angle -33, Distance t0 px, Spread 0, and Size 13.) Jai Johnson’s beautiful free Iced Blue Canvas texture was added on top, set to Multiply blend mode. In the Layer Mask the Blend If This Layer white tab was split (ALT+drag to split) and set to 130/209 and on the Underlying Layer the white tab was set to 239/255 – this gives the sort of snowy effect granular effect I wanted in the image. On a stamped version (CTRL+ALT+SHIFT+E), Topaz ReStyle’s Snow Cover II was applied. (Here are the settings if you want them: ReStyle to Layer Opacity of 81% and set to Multiply blend mode. Set Basic to Color Blend Mode; Tone Black Level 0.17, Midtones -0.16, and White Color -0.37; and Detail Structure to 0.14 and Sharpness to -0.39.) This layer was set to 55% and on a Layer Mask, just the skier and center focal point area was lightly painted out. That was it and it gives a totally different look from the above with essentially the same brush.

As you can see, it is major fun to create brushes in Corel Painter if you can figure out what you need to do to make it look good. The brush classes really help. There are also several You Tube videos that I have found to be really helpful with these settings. Check out Karen Bonaker’s Favorite Brushes-Artists Sargent Brush, Heather Michelle’s Brushology 101 for Corel Painter, and Cher Pendarvis-Theiren’s Painter Wow! Exploring Brush Expression videos, for starters. They contain some great tips on how to create brushes and use the brush engine panels. Hope you get a chance to try out some new brushes – it is so much fun!

Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
How to Bring a Corel Painter Brush into Photoshop
How To use a Photo Frame Mask (using Brayer Blocks)

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