Corel Painter X : Working with Layers - The Chair

8/18/2012 4:22:57 PM
You’ll see how layers work with a simple drawing of a chair. We’ll use the one shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1. Pull up a chair.

Open the file beige_armchair.jpg, found in Things > Furniture . Use Canvas > Resize if needed to fit the image on your screen. Make a Quick Clone to access the Tracing Paper feature. Choose a pen variant that has some thick-and-thin response to pressure on your tablet but no variation in opacity. I suggest either the Scratchboard Tool or Croquil Pen 5.

Working with black, make a loose sketch of the chair’s basic shapes, similar to Figure 2. Use heavier pressure to create stronger lines, such as on the outer edge of the chair’s shape, and a lighter touch for inside shapes and creases. Ignore shading and texture for now—we’ll use additional layers for that. Also ignore the shadow under the chair, the table next to it, and (very important) the price tag!

Figure 2. Have a seat.

Adjust Visibility

It will be easier to see the clone source (chair photo) with the opacity of your drawing turned down to about 30 percent. Painter X allows you to do that by holding down the tracing paper icon at the top-right edge of your image window. (Figure 3 points it out, as well as another item you’ll use later in the lesson.) You’ll be able to see your work just fine because you’re using black lines instead of subtle painted strokes.

Figure 3. Takes two to toggle.

Add a Color Layer

You’ll make a new layer for color. If you don’t see the Layers Palette on your workspace, launch it from the Window menu. Figure 4 shows where to click to create a new layer and where to change the composite method for determining how the layer will interact with the Canvas image (or with other layers).

Figure 4. Have another layer.

Sample a peachy beige color from a light part of the chair, but not the brightest. Choose Pens > Flat Color and begin to paint on the new layer. If your work looks like the left side of Figure 5, your layer is still using the default composite method, and it is covering up your line drawing. To change that, switch to either Gel or Multiply.

Figure 5. Composite method matters.

The Flat Color variant is too big for this project, so reduce its size with the Size slider in the Property Bar at the top of your workspace. Are you able to see a “ghost” image of the brush size when your Wacom pen hovers over the image? If not, you might want to choose Enable Brush Ghosting in Preferences > General menu.

Speed versus Visibility

Brush Ghosting gives useful visual cues about your current brush, but there can be a downside to that. If you’re using a complex brush, such as a RealBristle variant, and your computer is older or less powerful than the latest models, the result is slower brush action. When that happens, just turn off Brush Ghosting.

Paint flat color over the chair, without being too careful about staying within the lines. The deliberately imperfect application of color in Figure 6 looks fine. Use a darker mahogany color for the wood. Should I remind you to use Iterative Save for this project? (I’m such a nag!)

Figure 6. Flat finish.

Add Tone and Texture

Create an additional layer, this one for the lights and shadows, as well as a bit of texture. We’ll use a Grainy variant this time to reveal paper grain. First, make a custom paper using the fabric on the chair.

Make a New Paper

Zoom in on the chair photo so you can see the parquet-like pattern in the fabric. Make a rectangular selection on an area with no variation in lighting. (The Rectangular Selection tool is just under the Brush tool in the Toolbox.) Select Edit > Copy (Cmd/Ctrl+C) followed by Edit > Paste in New Image so that you have this fabric swatch in its own document. Now enlarge the pattern so it will show up better on the drawing: use Canvas > Resize and double either the width or height. (Remember to uncheck Constrain File Size.) Papers are simply repeating grayscale “tiles,” so let’s eliminate color. Painter X offers Desaturate as a choice in the Photo Enhance options on the Underpainting Palette. (For earlier versions, select Effects > Tonal Control > Adjust Colors and drag the Saturation slider all the way to the left.) Click on Apply, then increase contrast as well for a bolder pattern.

OK, you’re ready to turn this swatch into a new paper. Choose Select > All (Cmd/Ctrl+A) and then choose Capture Paper from the popup menu on the Papers Palette. Give it a name, as shown in Figure 7, and this new paper automatically joins the others in your current library.

Figure 7. Paper trail.

With Parquet Weave (or whatever you called it) as your active paper, use a hard Chalk or Pastel variant to stroke in some darker and lighter areas on the new layer. Don’t rely on Clone Color this time, but choose color with the Option/Alt shortcut to the Eyedropper while your Brush tool is active. A great way to see all the available colors in an image is to create a color set from the image. Find Color Sets as part of the Colors Palette group. With the original armchair photo active, choose New Color Set From Image in the Color Sets popup menu. You’ll see something like Figure 8.

Figure 8. Chair colors.

The textured and toned chair is shown in Figure 9. The layered stages were saved automatically in RIFF format. To flatten your composite and save it as a JPEG or in another file format, use the Drop All command in the Layers popup menu.

Figure 9. Chair in three layers.

Organize Your Papers

Those six little swatches at the bottom of the Toolbox show art materials that are organized in libraries. You can swap to other collections with the Open Library command, and you can organize your own libraries with the Mover utility available for each resource.

Make a custom Paper library. Choose Paper Mover from the popup menu on the Papers Palette. The Paper Mover dialog box opens with thumbnail swatches of all the items in the default Painter Papers library displayed on the left. There is an empty area on the right. To start a new collection, click the New button and give your library a name. Now you can drag items you like from the default collection to your new one. Don’t forget to include your upholstery pattern from the chair exercise. Figure 10 has some of my favorite papers dragged over to my new custom library. I can add items from other libraries by using the Open and Close commands on the left side. (You must close a library before you can open another one. Then the Close button changes to the Open button.)

Figure 10. Get your papers in order.

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