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How to Use Painter

Top Ten Most Useful Shortcuts:


1) Rotate/Move canvas

Hold down the space bar on your keyboard, the hand cursor shows up, this lets you move the canvas around.
If you then also hold down the Alt key the hand gives you the finger, which lets you rotate the canvas.
To get your Canvas back to perfectly straight, let go, then rotate the canvas again but also holding the Shift key.
The canvas should snap back to straight when it hits any square angle.

2) Familiar Shortcuts

Many Photoshop shortcuts work with Painter X. Like Apple+Alt Zero, which shows your image at it's real size (actual pixels).
When you're painting holding the Alt key will give you the Eyedropper tool- so you can sample colours direct from the image.

3) To move brushes around within a Custom Palette

Just hold down the shift key!
You can delete brushes from a Custom Palette by dragging them of the palette and letting go of them when they're over the canvas area.
Don't worry, this doesn't delete them from the list.
To delete the brushes you've made that don't work out, go to the same menu where you save them (see below) and you'll see an option to delete the selected brush variant.

4) Toggle Full-Screen Mode

Apple+M toggles fullscreen mode, very handy.

5) Photoshop Style Transform Controls

Apple+Alt+T brings up what in Photoshop would be called the Transform Controls, allowing you to scale and rotate things.
Remember: you will have to hold down the Apple key when the cursor's over a corner to be able to rotate something.

6) Merging Layers

Mulit-select layers you want to merge and choose Collapse (not Drop).

7) Locked Canvas Trick

To lift an image off a locked canvas when importing an image, Set All and then Copy & Paste.


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Using Custom Palettes:

To make one, simply drag the graphic icon for the brush you're using to the canvas area- a new Custom Palette will be created.
First off- name it with some sensible name that indicates what you intend to use this one for, eg- "My First Custom Palette".
You name custom palettes by going Window > Custom Palette > Organizer, then you select the palette you're after and hit the "Rename" button.
You delete the ones you don't want the same way.
You don't need to save these anywhere, Painter X just remembers them, though if you want you can Export them here too, so you can send them to someone else to use.

Make and Save Your Own Brushes:

You'll want your own brushes to go in your Custom Palette, to get some you use Apple+B.
This brings up the Brush Creator, where you can fiddle with all the settings for the Painter brush you've chosen.
Once you've had a play and got the brush doing exactly what you want, you'll want to rename it so you know what and where it is later.
Click the little black arrow to the right of where you select brushes and you should be able to choose "Save Brush Variant" from the pop-up menu.
This will let you rename the brush, call it something obvious like "my leaf brush, size 15", or whatever seems good to you.
You just made a brush.

At this point you'll need to make sure you've got the Variant that you just created selected, not the one you made it from.
Have a look in the list of brushes again, even if the brush you just made isn't selected it should still be in the list somewhere.
Maybe it's just below the brush you made it from or maybe at the bottom of the list or somewhere else, scroll to find it then drag it to your Custom Palette.
You just saved a brush.

Make and Save Your Own Image Hose Brush

Great one this, Photoshop can't do it and it's going to become as useful as you want it to be.
Image Hose is like a magic brush that paints on whatever image (or images) you give it, with a little bit of variety thrown in so it looks more natural.
The images can be anything- a photo (with or without a transparent background), a brush mark made with one of Painter's own digital brushes or even a photo of a real brush mark, made with real paint on a canvas.

First make some layers, each of the layers should be transparent with your image (brush marks, whatever) on them.

Select these layers, to do this you hold shift and click on each of them in the Layers Palette.

Now you put the layers in a group- like when you put some sheets of paper in to a folder. Just Press Apple and G.

Now move the cursor to the Image Hose Palette icon, it's at bottom right of the Tools Palette and looks a bit like some bad wallpaper.

When you click on it you get a list of the various types of image that you can currently spray on to your canvas.
This list is a list of what Painter calls "Nozzles", but we're going to make a new "Nozzle" from our group of layers.
Click on the little black arrow at top right of the list to open (yet another) menu.
You should see "Make Nozzle from Group" in this menu. Choose this and you'll produce a nasty looking new window that displays your brush marks/photos against a black background.
Save this to somewhere sensible and make sure that you save it as a "RIFF" file (Painter's own file format).
That's it, you just made a new nozzle.

To begin using your nozzle you'll need to choose an Image Hose brush from the Brushes list (Spray -Size P Angle-D works well).
When you've done this you need to attach your nozzle to it.
Go back to the Image Hose Palette (bottom right of the Tools Palette) and click that little black arrow again.
This time choose Load Nozzle and go to where you save that RIFF file.
When you've chosen the RIFF file you're good to go, just make sure that whatever kind of layer you're now painting on is suitable for use with Image Hose brushes.
It's Apple and Shift and N to create a new layer.
Not quite what you had in mind? Try Apple and B to bring up the Brush Creator Dialogue, where you can muck about with the (relatively self-explanatory) settings.
Try changing things like Angle and Size/Minimum Size until you get what you're after.

Image Hose works with even roughly textured, partially transparent images.
If your nozzle produces crappy-edged images then you're doing something wrong, like painting on the wrong kind of layer.

Next... Saving and Using Selections with the Selections Portfolio:

Important Notes:

Painter X will not open CMYK jpgs.
It will open RGB jpgs.
Corel Painter X hates TIFs so to enable a viable workflow, save files you intend to use in Painter as PSDs.
You can convert what you've done to a sanctioned CMYK colourspace profile in Photoshop later.

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