Language Tools


Tutorial 4

Pattern Pens for Text and Foliage

Patt Pen Brushes for Corel Painter. Versions available for Painter 6 (Mac and PC) through 8.1. Note that the P7 version will also load in Painter 8.

Click here to download the custom pattern pen library for Painter 6 (PC).
Click here to download the custom pattern pen library for Painter 6 (Mac).
Click here to download the custom pattern pen library for Painter 7 through 8.1.
Text Patterns.PTL
Click here to download the PC version sample text pattern library for use with the brushes.
Text Patterns

Click here to download the Mac version of the above pattern library.

The above brush libraries comprise of four categories of variants compiled by me, David Gell. You are free to use the brushes to produce both commercial and non-commercial artwork.

The following abbreviations have been used in naming the brush variants;
P= Pattern
Patt= Pattern
PP= Pattern Pen
PP1= Pattern Pen 1
‘i’ (prefix)= Impasto
O= Opacity
S= Size
OS= Opacity/Size
Neg= Negative (Impasto Depth)
FE= Fade Edge
FES= Fade Edge Size
Proj= Projected (Dab type)

Where indicated in the brush variant name, stroke size and opacity are controlled by stylus pressure. Stylus tilt (a feature the ‘Proj’ variants) may only be available with Wacom Intuos graphics tablets.
Most of the variants have been created for use with text based patterns, but they also work well with foliage/floral elements on either a white background or masked (in conjunction with the masked variants). You may need to increase the brush sizes for general foliage use. Please refer to item 6 below for details regarding changing the default brush size.

Below is a demo image created using some of the Patt Pen variants in conjuction with the sample text patterns (download link above).

To create the border in the above example, I used the 'PP Opacity' variant (size 20.4). The 'ABC_RGB' pattern (from my 'Text Patterns' library) was selected and the brush set to straight line mode. A grid with the 'snap to grid, option was used to align the border text.

The 'iPP1 OS Fade Edge' variant was used for the diagonal 'Painted Dreams' text. The Painted Dreams_Black pattern was used as the source, with the primary RGB set to 1,217,255.

The mirrored 'double S' curve was created with the 'PP Plus Size' variant. Painter 7's 'Wiggly' paper was also used in conjunction with primary RGB values of 1,217,255 and secondary RGB values of 5,94,109.

The projected ABC pattern (bottom right of image) was achieved with the 'Proj Patt Size' variant (size 137.9), which was used as an angled dotter in conjunction with my ABC_RGB pattern. Before creating the brush stroke, the 'Check out Pattern' image was first flipped vertically (Effects> Orientation> Flip Vertical). Please refer to tips and known issues 4 in the original post or ReadMe document for further details about this. Note that the projected pattern effect perhaps works best for a pattern comprising between 1 and 3 letters or numbers. More characters than this have a tendency to bunch up in the brush stroke and become less distinguishable.

The brush library comprises of three brush categories based on the brush source/subcategory, and one brush category of editing tools (brushes) outlined as follows;

Patt Pens.
Variants in this category take the pattern source as either ‘Pattern or ‘Pattern with Mask’. Color information displayed in the resulting brush strokes is taken from the current source pattern.
In cases where the pattern incorporates a mask, the ‘masked’ variants will paint with a pattern limited by that mask.
The ‘Proj’ variants may be used as either ‘dotters’ (where the stylus tip touches only one point on the graphics tablet and stylus tilt may be used to directionally spread the now deformed pattern), or as a normal brush to give a stepped, feathered effect.

Patt Pens 1.
These category variants have been assigned ‘Pattern as Opacity’ as the source. The resulting opacity/color in the resulting brush stokes are governed by the luminance of the current selected pattern and the primary color chosen respectively. In some cases, stroke opacity is also controlled by stylus pressure (O and OS variants) and brush profile (Fade Edge, FE and FES variants). White areas in the pattern will be transparent in the brush stroke. If you wish to eliminate opacity variations for solid color in the brush strokes, use black (RGB 0,0,0) at 100% opacity, in conjunction with a white (RGB 255,255,255) background for creation of the source pattern for these particular variants.

Patt Pens Plus.
In this case, the respective variants utilise ‘Soft Grain Colorize as the brush method subcategory, in conjunction with ‘Pattern as Opacity’ as the source. As well as white areas in the pattern being transparent in the resulting brush stroke, the current selected paper grain, along with both the selected primary and secondary colors/mix are also exhibited in the stroke. Further variation may be introduced by the paper scale, brightness and contrast settings.
Again, to minimise problems with pattern luminance effecting the resulting brush stroke opacity, it may be wise to use black (RGB 0,0,0) at 100% opacity, in conjunction with a white (RGB 255,255,255) background for creation of the source pattern for these particular variants.

Patt Edit Tools.
This is a collection of brush variants which may be used to edit existing patterns. The brushes may also be used in the creation of patterns before capture (as can your usual brush variants). There are two extra eraser variants in this category which are designed to remove unwanted imagery from either the canvas or default layer (see item 3 below). These are the 'Eraser_Variable Flat' for erasing normal brush media and the "Eraser_Variable Impasto' for erasing impasto depth and color information.

Below is another demo image created using some of the Patt Pen variants in conjuction with some of the default patterns from Painter 7.

In this second demonstration, you will note that generally you will need to increase the default Patt_Pens brush sizes when working with these patterns (see item 6 below for details of how to change the default brush sizes).

The variegated leaf effect (top of image) was created using the 'PP Plus Opacity' variant (brush size 50.7). Painter 7's 'Leafy Vine' was employed as the pattern in conjunction with the 'Rocky Paper'. In this brush category, both primary and secondary color influence the final effect, and in this case RGB 2,112,92 was chosen for the primary color and RGB 191,245,1 for the secondary.

For the foliage in the bottom left of the image, I used the 'PP Plus OS Fade Edge' variant (brush size 57.1) in conjunction with Painter 7's 'Illustrated Wisteria Leaf' pattern. Hot Pressed Watercolor was used for the paper texture and the primary and secondary colors were RGB 1,213,140 and RGB 3,111,63 respectively.

The projected foliage (bottom row, second from left) was achieved using the 'Proj Masked Patt' variant (size 60.0) by angling the Wacom stylus and momentarily pressing the stylus tip down at one poin on the graphics tablet surface. This was done in combination with Illustrated Wisteria pattern.

For the watercolor effect foliage (bottom right), I used the 'PP Plus OS Fade Edge' variant coupled with Painter 7's 'Cherry Blossom' pattern and the Hot Pressed Watercolor paper. The primary color chosen was RGB 2,19,212 and the secondary RGB 4,34,110.

Post processing of the image consisted of an adjustment to the dye concentration (Effects> Surface Control> Dye Concentration). The settings used for this were Uniform color, maximum= 123%, minimum= 50%.

Tips using these brushes and known issues;

1. There is scope for improvement in relation to image quality of the source pattern and the resulting brush strokes. This is probably due to the fact that Painter is working with bitmaps and not vector information. I found that it is best to create source pattern imagery to approximately the same scale (or a little larger) at which it will be painted in the image. In the case of text, perhaps a 30 to 60 point size may suffice. It may be desirable to ‘clean up’ the source imagery in some cases before capturing it as a pattern to improve the resulting quality of the brush stroke image. A degree of post processing of the final image text may also be necessary, such as Effects menu> Surface Control> Dye Concentration and/or Effects menu> Focus> Sharpen.

2. Although the method employed allows for a very natural and easily applied ‘text on a curve’ effect, the resulting distortion of the text may not be acceptable in conjunction with larger text size and tight turns. More rounded ‘script’ style text appears visually more forgiving in this respect.

Pattern Text can be painted in straight lines at any angle you choose by first checking the ‘Straight Lines’ radio button in the Controls: Brush palette (P6/7) or the relevant icon in the Property Bar for the Brush Tool (Painter 8). You will also notice that the direction of the text follows the direction of the cursor (clock wise and anti-clockwise). Going right to left, the text is mirrored.
3. The pattern does not appear to index with the starting point of the brush stroke. Unfortunately, this is particularly noticeable with text based patterns, where the stroke may commence half way through a word or sentence.

One solution to this problem is to create the image text on a white canvas, make a selection, click in the selection with the layer adjuster tool to lift the text to a new layer, reposition the text, (change the layer composite method to Gel if transparency of the white background is required) before clearing/erasing the unwanted text on the original canvas.

An alternative to this work around may be to create each brush stroke of text on a separate layer, erase unwanted portions of text, reposition each layer, before eventually dropping to canvas. The 'Eraser_Variable Flat' variant is included in the Patt Edit Tools category for this purpose.

4. In the case of text patterns used in conjunction with the ‘Proj’ variants as dotters, you may notice that the text image produced by the brush is mirrored. In this case, it is possible to live edit the pattern in it’s own window via the ‘Check Out Pattern’ option in the Patterns palette section dropdown menu. To do this, first open the text pattern in a new window via the Check Out Pattern option, then, with the pattern check out image window to the front, choose Effects menu> Orientation> Flip Vertical. Without closing this window, bring your canvas (which you will paint on) to the front. You should now discover that the text is the correct way around when painted with one of the Proj variants.

Pattern edits are non-destructive to the original pattern providing they are not re-saved with the same name. When you have finished painting with the edited pattern (or wish to restore it to the previously saved state), bring the check out pattern window to the front and close it without saving any changes. Sometimes the undo command will also work, if the pattern check out window is first brought to the front.

5. Unfortunately, live editing of the check out pattern image does not always work. Sometimes the live edited effect will only display in the brush stroke if the brush size is increased, other times the effect will only display with certain variants. In these cases, you may first need to re-save the edited pattern to the pattern library either as a new pattern with a different name, or keeping the same name (which will over-write the original pattern). The edited pattern can be saved via the 'Add Image to Library' option dialogue from the Pattern palette section drop down menu.

6. Depending on the individual brush sizes you commonly use, you may wish to have variants default to different brush sizes to those currently saved. To change individual default brush sizes, first select the brush variant you wish to change in the Brushes palette (P6/7) or Brush Selector Bar (P8) and choose 'Restore Default Variant' from the respective brush palette menus. Next, change the brush size to the value you wish to be default, then save the variant (keeping the same name as the original).

7. There is quite a bit more to creating, capturing and editing patterns, and I would recommend reading the relevant chapter in your Painter manual. Capturing a text pattern is very easy though. First open a new canvas in Painter, select the Text Tool, your chosen font, point size and color (giving due consideration to size, color v black and white and image quality discussed above). Select your starting point (by clicking on the canvas with the text tool still selected) and type the desired text. Drop the text to canvas via the layers palette section menu and select the Rectangular Selection Tool from the Tools palette. Make a selection bordering the text, bearing in mind that the background space left at the start and finish of the text will determine the space before the text repeats when using the Patt Pens brushes. Finally choose ‘Capture Pattern’ from the Patterns palette section drop down menu, name the pattern in the resulting dialogue and click OK. Remember too that you can edit the text itself using all manner of brushes, distortion effects etc. prior to capturing as a pattern.

It is best to keep Painter pattern libraries small, and create new pattern libraries to house your custom patterns. The custom text pattern library (download link at top of page) contains four sample texts for you to experiment with. To load this pattern library, choose ‘Load Library’ (last item in the Patterns palette section Popup menu in Painter 6/7) or ‘Open Library’ from the Patterns palette dropdown menu in Painter 8. Navigate to the library ‘Text Patterns’ or ‘Text Patterns.PTL’ and click ‘Open’ in the dialogue box.