I just finished my first attempt at creating a pastel in Corel Painter 11. I tried to create one in Photoshop using pastel brushes, and just could not get the hang of it. Painter is great for converting your digital images into beautiful works of art. I have found the best book to use if you are just learning is Martin Addison’s Painter 11 for Photographers (if you are using or trying out Corel Painter 12, check Amazon for the updated version of this book).
The image was created by first using the Auto Painting part of the program (this is explained in his book) and a brush from the Smart Stroke Brushes category called Pastel Tapered using the brush default settings. My computer took forever to do the auto-painting – this program is a real memory hog! After getting almost all the painting covered using this technique, I created a New Layer in Painter and used a smaller brush (17.2 pixels) at 54% opacity to fill in the white holes and some of the details I wanted brought back into the image. The layer was set to 78% opacity after finishing. Saved the image as a PSD file and opened it up in Photoshop where I could clean it up more. The first thing I did was create a New Layer and used the Clone Stamp Tool at 70% opacity to clean up some of the ragged looking strokes – it did not need a lot of touch up. Next I added a Curves Adjustment Layer to lighten up the front door texture since it came out very dark in the Painter rendition – the layer mask was filled with black and only the door was painted back in at 60% opacity. I had put a large white edge around the image in Painter so it could have a soft painted framing – I did not like the look of it. In Photoshop on a composite layer (CTRL+ALT-SHIFT+E) and using the Quick Selection Tool, the white frame was selected and a layer mask added. The layer mask had to be inverted (CTRL+I on mask) so the frame was turned black to conceal. Next a texture, in this case a free one by Sarah Gardner called Blush Ginger (it is no longer available but there are many free texture resources – click on my Textures category on right for other blogs with links) was added below the image and set to 50%. It matched the image very nicely and has a great texture to it. Finally the top image was highlighted and a Inner Glow Layer Style was added to soften the edges of the image to match the texture underneath – the Color was changed by sampling the texture color and setting the Blend Mode to Normal and the Opacity to 88%.
Corel Painter is an expensive program but they do have great Education discounts if you are a student. I love the program but find I do not use it that much, especially since Photoshop CS6 has made some great strides towards achieving some of these same painterly effects. On the other hand, the Auto Painting function is very realistic and the program has so many more choices for brushes and styles of painting that I do not believe Photoshop will ever be able to completely compete in this area. Painter is definitely for those with the artistic flair……Digital Lady Syd
Digital Lady Syd Related Blogs:
Adobe Photoshop CS5′s Mixer Brushes
Digital Lady Syd’s Rule No. 6 – Try Something New!