Corel’s Painter IX.5; Transforming Images Via Software Page 2

Emulating Oils And Watercolor
For the next example, let's explore an oil paint technique. I opened my photo of yellow irises (#10) and chose the Quick Clone method described earlier. After adding a new layer for the oil brushwork (so I could add different techniques for a background on a layer below it), I chose the Camel Oil Cloner brush, and zoomed in to see better detail as I painted. First I outlined the shapes of the flowers and then filled them in, also stroking some leaves and stems. It's often best to start with a medium brush size to outline the subject and then proceed to smaller diameters as you fill in details (#11). You could leave the background white, or add the original photo below it on another layer (preferably with a lower than 100 percent opacity), or apply a different media technique to the background, as I did.



Automatically creating a new Watercolor layer, I selected the Watercolor Cloner brush to paint the background. This unusual brush creates a delicate effect of wet-looking circles of different sizes and densities (#12). On a medium/large file (8x12" at 300dpi, 24MB), this brush was rather slow, but I like the effect. Since the color was a bit dull, I saved this as a .psd file, opened it in Photoshop CS2, and then pumped up the green with a Hue/Saturation adjustment layer in Photoshop, and dialed down the opacity.


To then export this back to Painter, you must flatten (merge) the Hue/Saturation adjustment layer with the Watercolor layer. If you don't, the Hue/Saturation layer will show up in Painter's Layers palette (#13) but you will see a warning before the file opens telling you that the adjustment layer is not supported. So, even though it appears in the Painter Layers palette, the effect is not applied. At the bottom of the Layers palette, there is a plug icon for--what else--Photoshop standard plug-ins. To further embellish your artwork, you can use your own plug-ins as well as some KPT filters which ship with Painter IX.5.


Finally, back in Painter IX.5, the Oil layer lies above the Watercolor layer for the final dual media effect (#14). If you wanted, you could add the look of textured paper or canvas to interact with your brush strokes just as natural art media do. It's easy to add this effect as a last step in Painter, or you can see it as you paint. For this image, though, I felt that any texture would interfere with the detailed background.


The Pen Is Mightier Than The Mouse
If you're serious about working with Painter, or you often make selections or do a lot of retouching in Photoshop, you should consider getting a graphic tablet, such as those from Wacom. Most professional artists and photo retouchers work with one of these tablets. Why? Because doing fine work with a mouse is about as precise as drawing with a bar of soap. Furthermore, in programs like Painter and Photoshop, the tablet is sensitive to the pressure and angle of the pen, just like drawing or painting with real art media. If you press harder, you see a broader stroke, and the appearance of the brush stroke changes with the angle of the pen. With a pen and tablet, brush effects are more realistic, it's easier to draw a selection, retouch small areas, and trace a photo or other artwork that you can lay on top of the tablet. Furthermore, using a pen instead of a mouse helps prevent repetitive stress hand problems.

The graphic tablets most used by professionals are made by Wacom ( Their line of Graphire4 tablets offer 512 levels of pressure sensitivity and include both a pen and a mouse--which must be used on the tablet surface. If you prefer, you can keep your regular mouse connected along with the graphic tablet. In the 4x5" size, they list under $100, while a 6x8" is priced under $200. Even larger sizes are available in Wacom's professional Intuos line, which offers 1024 levels of pressure sensitivity. On the pen, there's an eraser and a rocker switch for keyboard shortcuts, and buttons on the Intuos tablets, called ExpressKeys and Touch Strips, give you fast access to more keyboard shortcuts, scrolling, zooming, and brush size control. For the pen tip, you have a choice of three nibs for different effects. A 6x8" Intuos3 (#15) lists at $330.


The New Painter Autopilot
Heralded by Corel as a major new feature in Version IX.5, Photo Painting Palettes add unprecedented automation possibilities for creating natural media art images from photos. You simply open your photo, have Painter pump up the colors a bit, then select the medium (oils, pastels, etc.) and the surface (canvas, smooth or rough papers) and the type and direction of brush stroke that you want, click, and Painter will do all the rest of the work for you. Personally, I like to do the drawing or painting myself, following the contours and outlines of the photo with Painter's tracing paper feature. However, if you have little talent, time, or desire to do this, the Photo Painting Palettes can whip up some intriguing art from your photo originals. Or, if you are a studio producing a lot of artwork from photos, this automated approach could be used for backgrounds or certain other elements, while faces or products could be fine-tuned and traced over manually.

What we've seen here is just the tip of the iceberg. Space precludes me from delving further into the thousands of combinations of natural media that this program emulates so well. Corel's Painter IX.5 is a free upgrade for owners of Painter IX. Go to the Corel website ( to download the upgrade or a free trial, a wealth of information, and tutorials. At press time, the full version was $399 from Corel, but the upgrade price of $199 is available if you own Painter, Painter Classic, Photoshop Elements, Photoshop CS, or some other programs.

If you want to digitally draw or paint from your photos to create images that really look like they were made with traditional art media, Painter IX.5 offers you the widest range of options with the greatest depth and versatility.

System Requirements
Windows: Windows 2000 or XP, Pentium II, 500MHz or faster processor, 380MB available hard disk space
Mac: OS X (10.2.8 or higher), Power Mac G3 or higher, 500MHz or faster processor, 395MB available hard disk space
Both: 128MB RAM (256MB recommended), 1024x728 display, 24-bit color, CD-ROM drive, mouse (Wacom tablet recommended).

Corel's Painter IX.5 Resources

Online Sutton includes articles and tutorials, extensive links, a gallery, shop, course listings, and downloads. examples of several artists' work and other resources. Painter tips from Wacom, the graphic tablet company. Corel Painter IX site with a gallery, info on IX.5, training links, and reviews. Conner-ziser's portfolio and more.

Painter IX for Photographers by Martin Addison, 270 pages with CD, $44.95,
The Painter IX Wow! Book by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis, 464 pages with CD, $49.99,
Painter IX Creativity: Digital Artist's Handbook by Jeremy Sutton, 430 pages with CD, $49.95,
The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book: Creative Techniques in Digital Painting by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis, 238 pages, $44.99,
Digital Photo Art by Theresa Airey, 208 pages, $29.95,
Artistic Techniques with Adobe Photoshop and Corel Painter: A Guide for Photographers by Deborah Lynn Ferro, 128 pages, $34.95,
Digital Photo Artist by Tony Worobiec and Ray Spence, 128 pages, $19.95, Collins and Brown, distributed in the US by

Painter IX Simplified for Photographers by Jeremy Sutton, eight hours on four DVDs, $179,
The Painted Portrait for Photographers: Watercolor in Painter and Photoshop by Jane Conner-ziser, one DVD, $125,
Expanded Portrait Techniques with Painter by Jane Conner-ziser, one DVD, $125,

For more information, contact Corel Corporation, 1600 Carling Ave., Ottawa, Ontario, Canada K1Z 8R7; (800) 772-6735, (613) 728-8200;