Friday, August 18, 2017

Rebelle 2 Video Training Series Released.

My Rebelle 2 training series has been released today:

This training series goes really in-depth with how the software functions and how (and why) to get the best results from the free brushes I made for Rebelle 2.

Also, at the end of the course I had time to do a timelapse painting demonstration -- which I do not get to do very often. This painting is the final result:

The first 3 chapters (roughly 2 hours) of training are free for anybody to watch.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Understanding Thick Paint Settings

Here is a tutorial to help experienced users get an understanding of the new Thick Paint brush controls in Corel Painter 2018. To follow this tutorial you should download and install this basic brush, then follow the directions below.

Step 1 -

1) Select the Jason Basic Thick Paint variant
2) On the property bar click the links to open the Thick Paint Media and Thick Paint Brush Settings
3) Open a new document to use as a scribble testing area
4) make a reference stroke using the default settings

Step 2 -

1) In the Thick Paint Media panel locate the Hardness slider -- this is the most important slider to get right first. At 100% each dab is solid and does not blend into another -- lower the Hardness value and try the brush out to see how much effect the hardness slider has on even a simple brush like this.

Step 3 -

1) set the Hardness slider to 85% -- this will be our baseline.

Step 4 -

1) In the Thick Paint Media panel locate the Wetness slider -- this is the second most important slider to get right. At 0% Wetness the Paint continues to build up thickness as each dab overlaps the underlying dabs -- increase the Wetness and see how the viscosity of each dab is lowered, allowing the dabs to melt into one another. Experiment with different Wetness settings to get a feel for the control.

2) Set the Wetness to 10% -- this will be our baseline.

Step 5 -

1) Clear your document (Ctrl+A, then Backspace)
2) In the Thick Paint Media panel locate the Enable paint flattening option -- notice this option is not enabled.
3) Scrub over an area in a line at least 10 times to build up some thickness
4) Enable paint flattening and do the same thing right next to the last mark you made -- notice this option will enable the dabs to smooth out and become flatter and less lumpy while still allowing the thickness to build up. This will become more noticeable as you increase the Wetness -- even at 100% Wetness the thickness is lumpy but with paint flattening enabled the surface becomes smooth.

I have saved the changed baseline settings into this brush so you can continue to step 6.

Step 6 -

1) In the Thick Paint Media panel locate the Deposit Rate slider - this slider controls how much density (thickness) is applied per dab. Play with this slider at different settings to get a feel for what it does.

2) Set the Rate slider back to 50%.

Step 7 -

1) In the Thick Paint Media panel locate the Droplets Radius slider -- this slider changes the size of the dab, with 50% (more or less) matching the actual brush size of the example. Play with the Radius slider to get a feel for what it does.

2) Set the radius back to 50%.

Step 8 -

1) In the Thick Paint Brush panel locate the Brush Density slider -- this slider controls how many "bristles" your brush has. As you increase the slider value you will get a more natural bristle brush, however there is a performance tradeoff -- if you attempt to set the slider past 90 you may see your brush lag considerably.

2) Set the Brush Density slider to 80%.

Step 9 -

1) In the Thick Paint Brush panel locate the Paint Load slider -- this slider controls how much paint exists on the brush before it runs out on a dry layer (on wet areas of a layer this slider has no volume effect, but will impact blending). Lower the slider to 10 and see the paint run out quickly, however even when dry the brush can still impact existing paint... smoothing, smearing and/or flattening it (depending on the Wetness setting). If you never want the paint to run out there is an Infinite Paint option above.

Step 10 -

1) In the Thick Paint Media panel locate the Droplets Spacing slider -- this slider controls the spacing of each new dab to the last. Lowering the value will give more solid lines, but lowering too far will impact performance (I find that a spacing of 50% is the lowest I want to go). Set the spacing down just until the "bristles" no longer show the individual dabs.

Congratulations! You now understand all of the basic controls for Thick Paint -- Now onto the advanced stuff...

Advanced Thick Paint settings -- please start with this brush (which matches the final settings of the basic steps) and a blank document.

Step 1 -

1) At the top of the Thick Paint Media panel locate the Type dropdown menu. This is where we decide the level of complexity we want the brush to have -- currently we are using "Paint", which is the most basic type. As we go down the list we are adding more complexity to the Thick Paint brush mark.

2) Choose "Paint with grain" this will enable the brush to interact with the current paper grain.

3) Open the Grain control panel at Windows>Brush Control Panels>Grain -- we will need to set the Grain slider to something other than zero to see the Paper grain have any effect. Play with different Grain settings to see the impact on the brush, particularly as it runs out of paint on dry areas of the layer.

4) Set the Grain slider to 100%

5) In the Thick Paint Media panel locate the Canvas Grain Height slider -- this slider will alter the visibility of the Paper grain as well as the most the paint can be flattened. At a value of zero you will see no Paper grain and the paint can be flattened all the way down -- at a value of 100% the grain is very pronounced and the paint cannot be flattened very far down.

6) Set the Canvas Grain Height slider back to 50% and the Grain panel Grain slider to 50%

Step 2 -

1) At the top of the Thick Paint Media panel change the Type dropdown menu to Plow Paint -- this will enable the Plow controls located at the bottom of the Thick Paint Brush control panel.

2) As you increase the Plow slider the "bristles" will dig into existing paint more -- play with the slider to get a feel for what it does.

3) Set Plow to 50%

Step 3 -

1) at the top of the Thick Paint Media panel change the Type dropdown menu to Plow Paint with Grain -- this will allow both Plow and Paper Grain to have effect on your brush strokes. This is the most complex form of Thick Paint and the one I tend to use most often.

Step 4 -

1) In the Thick Paint Brush panel locate the Clumpiness controls -- this is a set of sliders designed to introduce randomization to different elements of your brush strokes on a per-stoke basis, meaning each stroke has a different randomization.

Bristling - will randomize the size of the "bristles" to make some thin and other thick.

Paint - will randomize the Deposit Rate of each "bristle" so that some produce less paint than others.

Color - will randomize the blending qualities (which are exactly the same as the regular blending panel Resaturation and Bleed settings -- you can set them in the Blending panel or the Thick paint Brush Blending section).

Play with these sliders to see how the randomizations can add naturalness to the brush.

Here is a brush that has followed the previous steps and set the Clumpiness> Bristling to 50% and Paint to 15%, along with reducing the spacing to 50% -- this will add some naturalness to the brush that we can build on.

Step 5 -

1) In the Thick Paint Media panel locate the Droplets Radius Jitter slider -- this slider will randomize each dabs radius. As you increase the slider you will find the paint will take on a rougher appearance due to the randomization -- if you then increase the smoothness slider you will cause the randomizations to be spaced out over more dabs, creating a lumpy texture.

2) Set the Radius Jitter and Smoothness back to zero

3) In the Thick Paint Media panel locate the Deposit Rate Jitter slider -- this slider will randomize each dabs density. As you increase the slider you will find the paint will take on a slightly different rougher appearance due to the randomization -- if you then increase the smoothness slider you will cause the randomizations to be spaced out over more dabs, creating a different lumpy texture.

4) Set the Rate Jitter to 33% with a Smoothness of 85%, and set the Radius Jitter to 10% with a Smoothness of 33% -- this will add subtle variation over the length of the stroke to create more naturalism.

Step 6 -

1) Locate the Radius slider grouped with the Plow controls located at the bottom of the Thick Paint Brush control panel -- this slider enhances the level of detail to see as the bristles "plows" into the paint. I tend to set this setting last to just put the finishing touch on a brush.

Congratulations! Now you understand the most important Thick Paint controls -- the remaining stuff is just standard Blending panel controls (Resat and Bleed) and standard Expression options and Min sliders like you have seen throughout the rest of the brush engine for the last few versions of Painter.

Final tip for Brushes -- once you have a brush that you are happy with, you can take it to the next level of realism by enabling the RealBristle controls found at Windows>Brush Control Panels>RealBristle.

If you have never adjusted RealBristle settings before here are some videos to give you an overview -- almost everything is valid for Thick Paint:

One last thing to mention: if you try creating a palette knife type Thick Paint brush be sure not to set the Brush Density slider to 100% (99% is OK) -- for some reason it messes with the blending characteristics of the Resat and Bleed.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Corel Painter 2018 Released Today

Corel has released Painter 2018 today. From my perspective the most important highlights of this release are the Legacy Bug fixes relating to the Selection tools and Paint Bucket tool -- these were things I have been personally requesting for close to a decade. These changes make all of the tools involved more productive and professional, which considering the core functionality of the tools, is quite a big deal for anybody who needs to regularly make selections. I particularly love finally having:
  • The ability to interrupt the polygonal lasso drawing process with the spacebar Grabber shortcut, to pan the document, without losing where you were in the selection making process.

  • The ability to fill with the Paint Bucket Tolerance inside of an active selection.

  • Proper anti-aliasing of Oval selections.

After that, my next favorite features are:
  • The improvements made to the core Drip and Liquid brush technologies to finally allow them to work on layers and blend with transparency -- as a result, these brush technologies are now among my favorites in Painter.

  • The new Selections Brushes features of the brush engine -- quite a bit of power here for creating selections in the style of Photoshop's Quick Mask tool... though IMO these selection brushes present an even better workflow.

  • Thick Paint -- this is a new Oil/Acrylic paint brush technology (supported by a new specialty layer system), similar to Liquid Ink in the ideas that it has surface tension and Impasto-type controls which are tied into a unique layer.

For those who are interested, I was involved in the creation of a number of brushes that ship with Painter 2018:

Painter 2018 Brushes library:

Thick Paint> Grainy Loaded Palette Knife
Thick Paint> Grainy Real Bristle Oils Flat
Thick Paint> Grainy Real Bristle Oils Round

Selection Brushes> Comic Flatting

Sargent> Real Bristle Soft

Texture Cover> Stencil Emboss 2.5D

Texture Source Blending> Stencil Soft Emboss 2.5D

Natural Media Brushes library:

HARD MEDIA - Conte> All

INK - Markers> All

INK - Pens> All

REFINING - Blenders> Everything but the Just Add Water variant

You can download a set of Thick Paint variants I created here --these are variations on the major themes and some may work better than others for your particular needs.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Rebelle 2 Released Today - with free brushes!

I have been keeping an eye on the development of Rebelle since I purchased the first "pre-release" version. At the time, it was a software with a very promising future for simulation of watercolors in particular but in need of some basic features to make it a truly viable 2D painting package. In my opinion, as of today, Rebelle has finally arrived as a full-fledged painting application. I am proud to have been a Beta tester for Rebelle 2 -- as a result of using the software for a while now I know exactly how big of a step forward version 2 is.

I have two announcements regarding Rebelle 2:

1) I have starting recording a 8-hour Rebelle 2 tutorial series for VTC. I will announce on this blog when the Rebelle 2 tutorial series is released.

2) I have created a free set of custom brushes for Rebelle 2 which you can download here.

To install the brushes:

1) Unzip the download
2) Open Rebelle and choose Help>Show Library Folder
3) Copy the unzipped contents into the Brushes folder
4) Restart Rebelle

All of my brushes will have the letter "J" before the name.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Updates for February 2017 - and Free Brushes.

Sometimes I don't say much but, as always, I am busy behind the scenes. Today I am making a few announcements that I have made on social media recently, but now in a consolidated blog post, with a few brand new freebie brushes thrown in at the end.

1) I am now a member of Mensa. This is something I have known I qualify for since I was 11 years old, but I never acted on. In October they were running a half-off deal on the testing fee, and my wife was excited for me to take the test, so I finally did it.

2) I am now a Maxwell Render Certified Xpert. I will be doing some free tutorials at various points in the rest of the year to highlight things about Maxwell I think are important to know. I also did a new render of my Glaug model in Maxwell Render recently.

Officer's Battle Pod Glaug
"Officer's Battle Pod Glaug" from the TV series Macross - Rendered in Maxwell Render 4 with lighting via HDR Light Studio 5.4

3) My VTC Corel Painter 2017 tutorial series was released almost 2 months ago. This is a 8-hour series that really focuses heavily on the workflow changes manifested by the new integration of the brush engine controls into the Property Bar.

As promised, here are some new freebie brushes for Corel Painter 2017. These brushes are the result of somebody asking about the possibility of using erasers in Painter to reveal the paper grain. I used the new Dab Stencil functionality to mimic the look of a proper Grainy Subcategory. Since the Dab Stencil is set to use the current paper as the source you can change the paper texture on the fly to get different results at any time. I hope you find them useful.