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Fun with Particles: Painting with the Particle Brushes in Painter 2015

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Painter's Particle brushes deliver a range of interesting effects, including special shapes, textures, sparkles, and glows. Cher Threinen-Pendarvis, author of The Photoshop and Painter Artist Tablet Book: Creative Techniques in Digital Painting Using Wacom and the iPad, Second Edition, shares techniques for using the Particle brushes to give dynamic expression to a drawing.
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Painter is the ultimate digital art studio, with hundreds of brushes available. For Spirited Horse, an expressive study shown in Figure 1, I drew and painted with Particle brushes in Painter 2015. Magnificent horses were a favorite subject for my drawing and painting when I was a child, and this study was inspired by a few of my recent traditional drawings.

Figure 1

Figure 1 Spirited Horse was painted with a variety of Particle brushes in Painter 2015.

The Particle brushes offer an amazing variety of brush effects, from brushes that behave like conventional paintbrushes (but with a touch of randomness) to “special effects” brushes that paint unusual shapes, textures, sparkles, and glows. Painter offers three types of Particle brushes: Gravity, Flow, and Spring. Each kind has its own performance qualities. For this project, I’ll use three Spring brushes that I made for Painter 2015:

  • Spring Feather Sketch (Particles) for the sketch
  • Spring Chunky (Particles) for layering background texture
  • Particle Spring Oil Mop (a variant of Oils) for modeling the horse

Step 1: Setting Up

For this piece, I began with a warm-colored canvas that would set off the brushwork to come. To build a colored canvas, begin by choosing File > New. In the New Image dialog box, click the Color icon, choose a color from the color wheel, and click OK to exit the Colors dialog. Set up your dimensions (mine are 1200 × 900 pixels), as shown in Figure 2. Click OK to close the New Image dialog box.

Figure 2

Figure 2 Setting up the New Image dialog box for an image with a colored canvas.

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