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How good are your art skills? We have all learnt to draw and paint when we were kids. Sure, some of us, if not most were nowhere nearly as good as those who could paint like an artist. Some people really do work their magic on a canvas, even without any proper training whatsoever.
It is more than hand and eye coordination which helps, you need to have a passion for drawing, and above all you need a lot of creativity.
But what about painting without a brush and canvas? We are talking about painting on a computer of course. Even the best of artists cannot reproduce their mastery on a digital device. It requires skill of a different kind, freehand drawing with a mouse. This is much more difficult than real life painting.
Artwork made on computers do look incredible. Most of your popular video games, are all created using digital painting, and later brushed off with 3D animations through advanced software. The same can be said about animated movies, cartoons, etc.
You cannot rely on basic graphics software to achieve a proper digital painting. It literally is impossible to produce a quality artwork with the likes of MS Paint, or other common freeware. They don’t have the proper brushes and tools, which you need to draw digitally.
And will you use such limited software for your college or school work? What about professional presentations? You cannot afford to risk your reputation, and what you need to do is portray a professional image of yourself, as an artist, or a graphics designer. That is the way to impress your audience.
So, the solution is quite obvious. You need an application which offers all the features required for a perfect digital drawing. And we happen to know just the right one, allow us to introduce Painter.
Painter, is a product from Corel, the developers of the popular graphics software suite, CorelDRAW. That in itself, should tell you about the quality of Painter, but we will go in depth to analyse the key features of the program.
Let’s see what the interface of Painter looks like. It does look impressive, doesn’t it? Even the first glance at the UI, will show you how powerful Painter is.
The center portion of the interface is the workaspace of Painter. This where you draw and paint, and of course edit your images. It has a resizable window, meaning you can scale the size of it, as per your work preference. This could be particularly useful if you work with dual or multile monitors. Maximizing this area, brings it to fit the canvas size on the screen.
On the top of the UI, Painter has a set of tabs on the menu bar.
The list of available tabs are:
File – Your basic file management tab, where you create new files, save them or open existing projects
Edit – Self explanatory as it is, the option allows you to cut, copy, paste content and more.
Canvas – Allows you to manage the workspace area’s settings including the size, rulers, mirror image, and more
Layers – Add, edit, and delete layers
Brushes – Import, Export Brushes, and also manage them
Select – Lets you select parts of the image, including individual strokes
Shapes – Add or delete compounds, convert to layer or selection
Effects – Add various effects to your photos, including toning, focusing and more
Movie – Add, edit and delete frames
Window – Zooming options, Add and edit panels, toolbars etc
Help – Allows you to view the support documentation of the software.
Just below the menu bar is a toolbar, clicking on the left edge of which allows you to select from a range of available brushes including pens, pencils, inks and more.
On the left side of the workspace is the actual toolbar. This consists of various drawing and painting tools including the Brush, Eyedropper, Paint Bucket, Eraser, Selection (lasso, rectangle, freehand, cropping), Pen, Rectangular Shapes, Text, Cloner, Dodge, Mirror Painting, Perspective Guide, Grabber, Magnifier, and Rotation.
You can also use the Painter tool for swicthing between the available Nozzles, Gradients, Patterns.
The mirror imaging tool is quite amazing, and produces an exact mirror copy of what you paint. You can even remove the mirror line, or add a kaleidoscope view to the picture. Hope you will excuse my feeble attempt at drawing, which should serve as an example of how the mirroring works.
The right edge of Painter houses a very useful sidebar. The top of this bar has a search box allowing you to search for your brushes. This saves you a lot of time which would have otherwise been wasted by browsing for the one you want.
Below this box, is a navigator. It displays a small mini image of your actual image. Click on the image displayed in it, and drag your mouse around. This will pan the view in the workspace, correspondingly. This is especially useful if you are working on a complex painting and wish to jump between various sections of it.
There is a highly useful zoom in bar (you can also input the % manually), which can resize the view of the image, allowing you to edit the finer details of your masterpiece. You can also rotate the canvas using this bar, which is nice in case you want to give the painting a different angle of perspective.
You can find the custom color palette on the right side bar as well. It allows you to select any custom shades based on the RGB properties. Additionally you can also mix shades, and browse the color library which is a sort of the built-in palette of colors, Painter comes with.
The box on the bottom of the right side-panel allows for managing the different layers and channels, your image consists of.
Painter can import your Adobe Photoshop brushes, and lets you work with it. It even has an option for audio support, to make brush strokes match the sound. How cool is that?
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