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Painting is truly an art, no pun intended. Not everyone has a skill with a brush and paint, or a pen or pencil sketching for that matter. We often come across art galleries, road side displays, of magical artwork that we wish to decorate our homes and offices with.
Have you ever thought about painting something yourself? I often do so, when I look at hand drawn wallpapers, three dimensional images (illusionary effects) and the like. Though I’m not particularly terrible with painting, I’m by no means an artist, and often have to rely on others for creating a professional piece of art.
Painting isn’t all about decor though, even if that is the primary reason why people tend to buy or create it. It can be very meaningful. Often, paintings are meant to be depictions of real life occurances, portraits, and even serves as a piece of nostalgia.
Now, let’s talk about digital artwork. Skill on an easel maybe special, but skill with a free hand drawing is even more special. It requires precise movements, not to mention an attention to detail, and great creativity. The co-ordination between the hand and the eye, is critically important when working on digital graphics.
So, what exactly will you use for your digital photos. How do you add painting effects to them and more?
But this sounds so difficult to accomplish, only professional graphic designers can do this, right? Not really, if you have the passion to work on digital art, and a little bit of skill, all you need is practice and the correct software to work with.
This is pretty important, and you obviously are aware of the limitations of free graphics software. Can you achieve a masterpiece with MS Paint? That would be impossible, or unprofessional to say the very least. That means you cannot rely on them for any professional usage, or for your projects.
The answer lies in Painter Essentials, another piece of brilliance from Corel, the renown developers of CorelDRAW. The name of the software, Painter Essentials, should sound very familiar. And that is because it is derived from another software from the same company, and of the same name too, Painter.
But unlike its bigger brother, which consists of incredibly powerful drawing tools, Painter Essentials is more of a bare minimum software to work with digital photos, and give them a unique look.
Let’s take a look at the GUI of Painter Essentials. It looks impressive,very identical to Painter, except for a few differences.
Painter Essentials, has a workspace in the middle of its UI. This is where you will be working on your photos and digital art. The workspace is actually a fixed UI, which means you cannot resize it according to your needs. But it does fit images correctly, so it shouldn’t be much of an issue.
There is the usual menu bar, placed on the very top of the interface. IT consists of various tabs including
On the top of the UI, Painter has a set of tabs on the menu bar. This has your basic file operations menu, File. You can use the edit tab for your copying pasting and cutting needs. The Layers tab allows you to work with the image’s layers.
Effects lets you add various blur, sharpen, toning effects to the photo to give them a professional and distinctive look.
The Select tab allows you to select certain parts of the image, to work with, which also includes individual brush strokes. The Window tab contains the zooming options, and also allows you to add or remove the various panels and toolbars which you can use.
Some of the notable absentee here include Brushes, Shapes and Movie. These advanced features are only available in Painter.
The top left edge of Painter Essentials’ UI, has a clickable drop down menu button. This is the blenders menu, and consists of an incredible assortment of brushes, pens, pencils, etc to choose from.
On the left hand side of the interface, you will find the toolbar of Painter Essentials. This is where you will find the Brush Tool, the Dropper, the Paint Bucket, the Text tool, the Eraser and some selection tools (crop, rectangular, rubber stamp). The Mirror Painting is kind of neat if you wish to make symmetrical reflections. Then there are the zoom in/out buttons and the Grabber option, along with the Main Colours option. The latter allows you select from a plethora of Paper Textures.
Right next to this side bar is a circular color palette which lets you pick a custom color. The triangle inside displays the available shade gradiants of the color you picked, while the inner circle displays a preview of the shade itself.
The right side of Painter Essentials is home to another sidebar. It consists of three tabs: Photo Painting, Mixer and Color Set.
Photo Painting allows you to open and browse for images you want to work with. It also has an auto-paint preset which allows you to pick one of many available painting, drawing options.
There is another option called Paint by hand, which lets you paint by yourself. There is a setting which when enabled, lets you clone the color from the original picture. You can also use the zoom bar to view the image in a different size.
The Mixer tab, serves as its namesake. It lets you mix colors, to produce a custom shade of your choice. This is pretty useful if you aren’t able to find a color using the palette.
The Color Set tab is a traditional color palette, which consists of a list of squares, each of a different color. We found this to be more helpful and precise, compared to the circular palette.
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