Search This Blog

Auto Painting inCorel Painter

The Photo Painting palette in Corel® Painter™ IX

A major feature addition to Painter IX.5 are the Photo Painting palettes. These three palettes—Underpainting, Auto-Painting, and Restoration—initially made their debut in Corel® Painter™ Essentials 3. The functionality of the Underpainting and Restoration palettes remain the same. The Auto-Painting palette, in the other hand, has been supercharged in Painter IX.5. In this installment, I’ll provide brief descriptions of the Underpainting and Restoration palettes, and focus on the new powers of the Auto-Painting palette.

The Underpainting Palette
Painter IX.5 utilizes the Photo Painting Palette to organize a three-step process for transforming a photo into a painted result. The palettes are organized into an easy-to-understand workflow. The topmost sub-palette is the Underpainting Palette. In traditional painting, the artist often initially creates a preliminary color/compositional underpainting on the blank canvas before building up detail. The Underpainting palette is basically this technique in reverse. The Style Pop-up menu is used to perform global corrections to an image. Options include Lighten, Darken, Lower Contrast, Increase Contrast, High Contrast, Color Shift, Color Change, Desaturate, Saturate, Intense Color, and Black & White. These corrective functions are applied as a full preview to the image. Use the Reset and Apply buttons to either delete or accept the results. The Edge Effect Pop-up mimics the old darkroom technique of using a mask to soften the edges of a projected negative in an enlarger. It’s a great effect for focusing attention on the subject of a photo. The Underpainting palette offers three variations: Rectangular, Circular, and Jagged. The width of the feathered edge is controlled with an Amount Slider. A photograph contains highly defined detail. The tools in the Underpainting palette specifically simplify the photographic source by removing the fine detail. The Smart Blur filter—found in the Underpainting palette—is particularly adept at this. The resulting simplified image approximates the traditional artist’s underpainting. The Smart Blur control simplifies an image by blurring low contrast areas while maintaining sharp edges. The result can approach the look of watercolor. Smart Blur epitomizes the notion of underpainting.Once you’ve used the Underpainting palette to perform image adjustments to your liking, you may want to clone your image. Conveniently, the Quick Clone button is located at the bottom of the Underpainting Palette. Clicking this button creates a Clone, clears the cloned image, and enables Tracing Paper. Note that, beginning with Painter IX.5, you can now adjust the opacity of Tracing Paper in 10% increments. This is accomplished by clicking and holding on the Tracing Paper icon located at the top right corner of the image window.

The Auto-Painting Palette
Tucked away in the Brush Selector Bar’s menu are a set of commands for recording, saving, and playing back strokes. This long-time Painter feature enables the automatic playback of a brush stroke onto a image. This function works particularly well hand-in-hand with cloning. Rather than hand paint each stroke, the Playback Stroke command randomly applies a designated stroke to an image. While useful, this function has lacked sophisticated control. Playback Stroke mechanically applies the same stroke exactly as it was recorded with no variation. Enter Painter IX.5’s new Auto-Painting palette. The Auto-Painting palette is a laboratory filled with controls for adjusting the character of applied strokes. The Stroke Pop-up initially contains a dozen-and-a-half pre-recorded strokes for use with the currently selected brush. Positioned immediately below is a set of sliders to control various aspects of the applied stroke: Randomness, Pressure, Length, Rotation, and Brush Size are all user adjustable. Unlike the Brush Selector Bar’s static Playback Stroke function, the Auto-Painting palette enables full dynamic adjustment of the variability of the selected stroke.

The Stroke Pop-up List
This list provides a variety of pre-recorded strokes with descriptive names like C-Curve, Hatch, Scribble, Single Sketch Line, Squiggle, etc. In order to assess the character of each of these saved strokes, I recommend that you select a simple brush like the Scratchboard Tool (Pens), then select each stroke from the list and click on the triangular green Play but-ton (bottom right of the Auto-Painting palette) to observe the character of resulting stroke. Either click on the square gray Stop button or click in the image window to stop the auto-painting. If you don’t like the resulting auto-painting, you can delete it with the Undo command. The five slider controls adjust the character of the applied strokes. Below is a description of each of the slider’s function.

The Randomness Slider
This slider adjusts the random variability of the Pressure, Length, and Rotation parameters. As the slider value is in-creased, variability increases. Reducing the value to 0% results in no variability.

The Pressure Slider
This slider can either decrease or increase the pressure values of the current stroke. The slider’s value range is from 0% to 200% with the 100% value positioned at the center of the slider. Values under 100% will reduce the pressure values associated with the stroke (Width, Opacity, etc.). Values over 100% will attenuate the pressure values. When the Random checkbox is enabled, Stroke Pressure will be variable.

The Length Slider
This slider can either decrease or increase the length the cur-rent stroke. The slider’s value range is from 0% to 200% with the 100% value positioned at the center of the slider. Values under 100% will reduce the original length. Values over 100% will increase the original stroke length. When the Random checkbox is enabled, Stroke Length will be variable.

The Randomness Slider
This slider adjusts the random variability of the Pressure, Length, and Rotation parameters. As the slider value is in-creased, variability increases. Reducing the value to 0% results in no variability.

The Rotation Slider
This slider controls the angle of the applied stroke. When the Random checkbox is disabled, the stroke will be applied at only the specified angle. When the Random checkbox is enabled, the stroke’s angle will vary within the specified slider value.

The Brush Size Slider
This slider can either decrease or increase the tip size (width) of the current stroke. The slider’s value range is from 0% to 200% with the 100% value positioned at the center of the slider. Values under 100% will reduce the original tip size. Values over 100% will increase the original tip size. When the Random check-box is enabled, the original tip size will be variable.

Using the Auto-Painting Controls
The power of the Auto-Painting palette is its ability to randomize multiple components of a stroke. This randomness mimics the variability found in hand-applied strokes. For this reason, I recommend keeping the Pressure, Length, and Rotation sliders’ Randomness check-box enabled. Use the Randomness slider to increase and decrease overall stroke variability. It is tempting to adjust the stroke width using the Size control in the Brush Property Bar. Don’t do it! Unless you need to radically change a brush variant’s width (for use on a high resolution image, for example), it is best to control brush width using the Auto-Painting palette’s Brush Size slider. Why? if you start changing brush width via the Property Bar’s Size control, then use the Auto-Painting Brush Size slider, it becomes difficult to easily predict (and thereby control) the applied stroke’s width. I recommend that you initially paint a bit with a brush you intend use with Auto-Painting and, using the Brush Property Bar’s Size control, set the desired size needed for the image it is to be applied to. Then, while Auto-Painting, adjust the size using the Auto-Painting palette’s Brush Size slider. This approach eliminates an unnecessary variable that makes it difficult to accurately control size. Be aware that some brushes—particularly those using the Continuous Stroke Dab Types—will need to have their Feature Size (Brush Property Bar) adjusted to achieve the desired brush hair density within a stroke.

Adding Your Own Custom Strokes to the Auto-Painting Palette
The Auto-Painting palette comes stocked with a varied set of strokes. However, you may find that none of the existing strokes have the precise character you desire. Fortunately, you can record and add your own strokes to the list. This is done via the Brush Selector Bar’s flyout menu. Here you will find the Record Stroke and Save Stroke commands.

I recommend using a simple brush like the Scratchboard Tool to create recorded strokes. Some brushes have highly charactered brush dabs that can hide the primary stroke nuance of width change. If you want to incorporate stroke width change in an Auto-Painting applied stroke, then you need to be able to sense it when you record the intended stroke. Before recording a stroke, it is very useful to practice a bit to get a feel for the dynamics of the brush. Once you are comfort-able with your stroking performance, you’re ready to record it. Select the Record Stroke command. The next stroke you apply to an image (preferably a blank test image) will be recorded. If you don’t like the resulting stroke, return to the Record Stroke command and try again. When you feel you’ve got a good take, select the Save Stroke command. The Save Stroke dialog will appear prompting you to give the stroke a name. Click OK. The new stroke will now be appended to the Auto-Painting palette’s Stroke pop-up list. Note that there is currently no way to delete strokes from this list. As a result, you probably don’t want to indiscriminately add strokes to the Stroke list, making it unwieldy.

The Restoration Palette
This palette is used when working with a cloned image. When a cloned photographic source has been auto-painted, it is useful to restore some of the original fine detail to the stroked clone. The Restoration palette handily places the Soft and Hard Edge Cloner brushes within easy reach. These brushes will re-introduce the original imagery to the stroked clone. Use of fine detail directs the eye. By re-introducing detail to the subject areas of an image, the viewer’s eye is attracted to these areas.

Pre-Simplify Your Photograph
Before beginning the auto-painting process, you’ll want to simplify your source photo and perhaps add a bit of character to the edge of the image. This is done in the Underpainting palette. For my image, I applied the Jagged Vignette edge effect and Smart Blur (50%). This serves to reduce the signature look of photographs: fine detail and hard rectangular edges.

Zeroing Out the Auto-Painting Palette
The Auto-Painting palette is the heart of the Photo Painting palettes. This is where you’ll tweak the appearance of applied strokes to the canvas. By default, the slider controls of the Auto-Painting palette are set to produce a pleasing effect for first time users. However, I find that in practice it is a sound working method to initially zero out these sliders’ values. By zeroing out, I mean that the sliders are set to their neutral values, thereby not introducing any expressive bias to the initial strokes. A zeroed out stroke will render the stored stroke data exactly as it was created. In doing so, this provides you with a known baseline from which you can begin to intelligently adjust the character of the currently active stroke. The zeroed out slider values are:
Randomness: 0%
Pressure: 100%
Length: 100%
Rotation: 0º
Brush Size: 100%
At these settings, the applied stroke will render exactly as created. The 100% settings enable you to add either less (-100%) or more (+100%) of the associated value (Pressure, Length, and Brush Size). I generally begin an auto-painting session by setting the sliders to the their neutral values, then select my intended stroke and brush variant. I then test this combination on a blank canvas to assess the stroke character. You’ll notice that with the stroke zeroed out, there is no variation to the applied strokes—they are all the same size and angle. For this tutorial, I am using the C Curve stroke. This stroke produces a nice curve to applied strokes, giving them a convincing hand-applied nuance. You’ll find it instructive to try out the various installed strokes in the Style pop-up list to visually understand what they look like. Choose one that suits your imagery (or create a new one as described in the previous installment). Once you’ve got your stroke selected and preliminarily adjusted, open your source photograph and make a Quick Clone (File menu) of it. By default, Quick Clone enables Tracing Paper. I prefer to work with Tracing Paper disabled (Canvas menu). This allows me to see the full effect of the auto-painting as it builds up. Choose the brush variant that you going to use. For my example, I am using the Smeary Round variant (Oils). As I mentioned in the first Auto-Painting installment, I keep the selected variant at its default size and use the Auto-Painting palette’s Brush Size slider to control the stroke width. This keeps things simple.

Adding Expressive Stroke Character
Begin to add variety by adjusting the Randomness slider to 100% and the Rotation slider to 360º. The Pressure slider can be used to either decrease or increase the original stroke pressure. This comes in handy for adjusting the appearance of texture-interacting variants like Chalk and Pastels. Otherwise, I keep it set to 100%. The Length and Brush Size sliders are where you’ll likely spend most of your stroke adjustment time. These are the key adjustments for scaling a variant/stroke combination to your image. Because I chose the Smeary Round variant, I will additionally be adjusting its Feature Size (Brush Property Bar) to control the applied stroke’s hair density. You can use the Randomness slider to adjust the aggressiveness of the applied stroke’s randomization.

Let’s Auto-Paint!
Check to ensure that the Clone is the currently selected image. To begin to auto-paint from your source photograph, you’ll need to set your brush variant to act as a cloner (if it isn’t from the Cloner Category). Do so by clicking on the Clone Color icon (the small rubber stamp in the Color Palette). This will dim out the color selector and tell Painter to instead paint using the color from the source image. Begin the auto-painting process by clicking on the Auto-Painting palette’s Play button (green triangle at the lower right corner of the palette). The source photograph will begin to be rendered by the current stroke/variant combination. At this point, it is likely that the scale of the strokes need to be adjusted. Click on either the Stop button (red square to the left of the Play button) or anywhere in the image to stop auto-painting. Use the Undo command (CTRL/CMD+Z) to clear the initial strokes and adjust your Length and Brush Size sliders. Initiate auto-painting to observe the change in the applied stroke. If necessary, Undo and tweak the Length and Brush Size sliders as needed. I additionally adjusted the Smeary Round’s Feature Size to get the desired hair density.

Localizing Brush Size for Subject Emphasis
A trick of traditional painter’s is to use small, more refined strokes for areas containing the painting’s subject. This enables finer detail and directs the viewer’s attention to these important areas. I simulate this technique by initially auto painting my source photograph with intentionally larger, coarser strokes. I then use the Lasso Tool (Tool palette or L key) to create a loose selection around my subject area. I apply a wide feather (40-50 pixels) to the resulting selection using the Feather command (Select: Feather). I’m now ready to apply refined strokes to only the selected area with these finer strokes subtly feathering into the already applied coarse strokes. As before, you’ll need to adjust the Length and Brush Size sliders to achieve the desired result. I additionally adjusted the brush’s Feature Size.

Fine Tuning the Subject Emphasis
Once I arrived at the desired auto-painted brushwork, I wanted to further refine my subject’s emphasis. This is done using the Restoration palette’s Soft Cloner. This airbrush-like tool enables you to locally restore selected areas of the pre-simplfied source photograph. Use light pressure to slowly bring areas of the subject into crisp focus. A little bit goes a long ways, so exercise restraint. The goal is to maintain the painted appearance of the image while adding a hint of detail in order to catch the viewer’s interest.

Create Your Own Recipe
This tutorial provides a simple formula for auto-painting images. The results will be very different depending on the stroke/variant combination used. I used 2 levels of brush size; more levels can be employed for greater stroke complexity. Try using different strokes at various points in the auto-painting process for even greater variety. For the more adventurous, you can further embellish an auto-painted image with some of your own hand-expressed strokes. Have fun!


Post a Comment

Please enter you comments or your question what ever you have regarding Graphic Designing. Thanks

Blog Widget by LinkWithin