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Tutorial 6

A Stroke Designer 'Presets' Custom Palette for Painter 6 Through Painter 8.1.

Note: The custom palette feature is not available in version 8.0, but the option has been reinstated in the 8.1 update. Due to a bug in Painter 7 through 8.1, the scripts can only be used with selected variants in the default brush library for these versions.

Click here to download the associated script library (PC version)

Click here to download the associated script library (Mac version)

Click here to download an associated Circular Dab 'Tip Profiled' brush library for Painter 7 through 8.1.

Please refer to the relevant sections in this tutorial for information about loading script libraries, creating custom palettes and associated issues in Painter 7 through 8.1.

In Painter 6 through 7, default brush parameters could be changed in the Brush Controls palette. Although the palette took up valuable space on the monitor, it meant that brush parameters could be quickly accessed and 'tweaked' as the need arose. This was because the palette could be accessed seamlessly alongside the current painting canvas. The introduction of Painter 8 however, introduced a replacement for the Brush Controls palette. The brush controls section was renamed the 'Stroke Designer' and integrated into the 'Brush Creator' dialogue. Whilst I am sure this was done with good intention, there appears to be a significant impairment to work flow when accessing the new Stroke Designer controls.

The issues are that rather than integrating seamlessly with the painting work flow, the Brush Creator dialogue behaves more like a separate application. As the Brush Creator is invoked, there is visually a great deal of nauseating 'flashing screen' activity (on the Mac version at least) as some previously open palettes (Layers, Patterns, Papers etc.) are closed and the canvas image hidden to facilitate the now larger Brush Creator dialogue window. Once open, changing individual brush parameters also appears to take longer, as only one parameter section can be displayed at a time. Clicking back on the canvas or closing the Brush Creator in order to return to the painting activity results in yet more nauseating screen activity as the canvas image and previously closed palettes are reinstated :(

In direct response to the above issues, I have created a set of scripts (easily accessed via. a custom palette), which upon clicking the appropriate custom palette icon, will automatically change specific preset brush parameters without the need to access the Stroke Designer dialogue in Painter 8.1. The scripts will also work in Painter 6 through 7, and users may still need to directly access controls in the Brush Controls palette/ Stroke Designer dialogue for a more comprehensive selection of parameter options.

Due to the extent of brush parameter changes possible in the Stroke Designer/ Brush Controls palette, the script presets only represent a limited, albeit useful number of parameter variables available to the currently selected brush variant. In this first set of Stroke Designer scripts, I have focused on the following parameter areas;

1. To quickly switch between Cover, Buildup and Drip methods and their associated sub categories for Circular Dab, Single Pixel, Static Bristle and Captured Dab type brushes.

2. Provide scripts to 'Make Eraser', 'Make Soft Grain Colorize', 'Make Add Grain Brush' and 'Make Desaturating' from Circular Dab, Single Pixel, Static Bristle and Captured Dab type brushes.

3. The optional selection of Opacity Expression (Controller in Painter 6/7) as Pressure or None.

4. To toggle the variant Size Expression between Pressure and None, as well as providing a small collection of Minimum Size presets.

5. Providing fixed Squeeze and Angle presets for Circular Dab and Captured Dab brush types.

6. Making available a small number of Spacing/ Minimum Spacing combination script presets.

Below is a more detailed breakdown of the scripts;

Script Icon
Brief Function(s)
Detailed Function(s)
Tips on Usage
Sets the brush 'Opacity Expression' (Controller in Painter 6/7) to 'Pressure'. Opacity Expression (Controller)= Pressure. Opacity varies with stylus pressure.
Sets the brush 'Opacity Expression' to 'None'. Opacity Expression= None. Can use the keyboard keys 1 through 0 for fixed opacity increments of 10%. (1= 10% opacity, 0= 100% opacity).
Sets the brush 'Size Expression' to 'Pressure'. Size Expression= Pressure. Brush size varies with stylus pressure for variants with a preset minimum size value of less than 100%.
Sets the brush 'Size Expression' to 'None'. Size Expression= None. Produces a constant 'fixed size' variant.
Sets the 'Minimum Brush Size' (to 60% in this example). Also sets the 'Size Expression' to 'Pressure'. Minimum Size= (60%).
Size Expression= Pressure.
Value indicated on icon represents the minimum size. Brush size is controlled by stylus pressure. Turn Size Expression off via. the 'Size Exp None' script.
Sets the 'Squeeze' value for Circular Dab and Captured Dab variants (to 15% in this example). Squeeze= 15%. Useful for creating calligraphy variants.

Value on icon indicates squeeze percentage.

Sets the 'Squeeze' value to 100% (zero squeeze). Squeeze= 100%. Use in conjunction with other squeeze presets to toggle between round and calligraphy variants.
Assigns a 'Fixed Angle' to 'pre-squeezed' Circular Dab and Captured Dab variants (45 degrees in this example). Angle= 45 degrees.
Angle Expression= None.
Note that the angle is fixed by the script, and so will not respond to Angle Expression such as Bearing etc.

Squeeze values must be preset to a minimum value of 99%.

May also require low Spacing/ Minimum spacing values for calligraphy variants.

Sets the 'Spacing' and 'Minimum Spacing' values (to 30% and 5.0 respectively in this example). Spacing= (30%).
Minimum Spacing= (5.0).
Low values can slow down brush stroke rendering, but are often necessary to obtain a smooth stroke.
Makes an 'Eraser' variant from a currently selected brush if it incorporates either a Circular Dab, Single Pixel, Static Bristle or a Captured Dab type. Method= Eraser
Subcat.= Soft Paper Color.
Opacity= 100%.
Opacity Expression= Pressure.
Use gentle stylus pressure or lower opacity values for a reduced rate of erasure.
As for Eraser, but makes a variant which 'Desaturates' underlying pixels. Method= Plug-in.
Subcat.= Sat Add Brush.
Opacity= 100%.
Opacity Expression= Pressure.
Grain= 0%
Use gentle stylus pressure, decrease opacity values or possibly increase Spacing/ Min. Spacing values to reduce the rate of desaturation.

Please refer to this tutorial for permanently saving a Plug-in Method variant in Painter 7.

As for Eraser, but makes a 'Soft Grain Colorize' variant. Method= Eraser.
Subcat.= Soft Grain Colorize.
Opacity= 100%.
Opacity Expression= Pressure.
Can incorporate both selected primary and secondary colors in the brush stroke using this mode.
As for Eraser, but makes an 'Add Grain Brush' Plug-in Method Subcategory variant. Method= Plug-in.
Subcat.= Add Grain Brush.
Opacity= 100%
Opacity Expression= Pressure.
Will only work on the canvas or a layer previously filled with white for example.

If you wish to permanently save a variant of the 'Plug-in Method' type in Painter 7, you will need to take screen shots or manually record the settings in the Brush Controls palette and refer to this tutorial.

Converts Circular Dab, Single Pixel, Static Bristle and Captured Dab type brushes to a 'Soft Cover' variant. Method= Cover.
Subcat.= Soft Cover.
Opacity=100%.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Produces a soft edge to brush stroke.

May need to adjust Spacing/ minimum spacing values.

Could use in conjunction with the 'Opacity Exp Pressure' or 'Opacity Exp None' scripts if required. Also keyboard keys 1 through 0.

Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Flat Cover' variant. Method= Cover.
Subcat.= Flat Cover.
Opacity=100%.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
As for Soft Cover, except brush stroke produces a hard 'jagged' edge.
Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Grainy Flat Cover' variant. Method= Cover.
Subcat.= Grainy Flat Cover.
Grain= 100%.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Opacity=100%.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Interacts with the currently selected paper grain.

Grain partially or completely fills (depending on current paper contrast) as stylus pressure increases.

Experiment with Brightness and Contrast settings in the Papers palette section to further control grain prominence with Grainy variants.

Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Grainy Soft Cover' variant. Method= Cover.
Subcat.= Grainy Soft Cover.
Grain= 100%.
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Checked.
Opacity=100%.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.

Interacts with the currently selected paper grain.

Grain fills with media as stylus pressure increases.

May need to increase paper contrast and use gentle stylus pressure for maximum grain prominence.

See tip for Grainy Flat Cover.

Converts as for Soft Cover to to a 'Grainy Edge Flat Cover' variant. Method= Cover.
Subcat.= Grainy Edge Flat Cover.
Grain= 100%.
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Opacity=100%.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Interacts with the currently selected paper grain.

Grain at centre of brush stroke completely fills with increased stylus pressure, but may remain visible at edge of stroke (depending on brush tip profile used).

See brightness/ contrast tip for Grainy Flat Cover.

Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Grainy Hard Cover' variant. Method= Cover.
Subcat.= Grainy Hard Cover.
Grain= 14%.
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Opacity=100%.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Interacts with the currently selected paper grain.

Grain fills with media as stylus pressure increases, but less rapidly than 'Grainy Edge Flat Cover'. At maximum stylus pressure, grain may be visible at edge of stroke (depending on brush tip profile used).

See brightness/ contrast tip for Grainy Flat Cover.

Converts as Soft Cover to a 'Soft Buildup' variant. Method= Buildup.
Subcat.= Soft Buildup.
Opacity= 26%.
Opacity Expression= Pressure
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Produces a soft edge to brush stroke.

Color value component with Buildup Method variants can rapidly darken with increased stylus pressure and opacity.

May need to adjust Spacing/ minimum spacing values.

Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Soft Variable Buildup' variant. Method= Buildup.
Subcat.= Soft Variable Buildup.
Opacity= 26%.
Opacity Expression= Pressure.
Grain= 12%.
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Dab icon is misleading. In practice, there is not a lot of difference between this and the 'Soft Buildup' stroke other than the variable stroke starts off a little more transparent.
Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Grainy Soft Buildup' variant. Method= Buildup.
Subcat.= Grainy Soft Buildup.
Opacity= 26%.
Opacity Expression= Pressure.
Grain= 100%.
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Interacts with the currently selected paper grain.

Grain becomes more prominent as stylus pressure increases.

See brightness/ contrast tip for Grainy Flat Cover.

Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Grainy Edge Flat Buildup' variant. Method= Buildup.
Subcat.= Grainy Edge Flat Buildup.
Opacity= 26%.
Opacity Expression= Pressure.
Grain= 100%.
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Interacts with the currently selected paper grain.

Grain rapidly fills and color value darkens with increased stylus pressure.

A nice grainy edge is produced with a Circular Dab variant incorporating a Pointed (tip) Profile. Edge grain may not be prominent with all tip profiles.

See brightness/ contrast tip for Grainy Flat Cover.

Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Grainy Hard Buildup' variant. Method= Buildup.
Subcat.= Grainy Hard Buildup.
Opacity= 26%.
Opacity Expression= Pressure.
Grain= 16%.
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Interacts with the currently selected paper grain.

Similar properties to Grainy Edge Flat Buildup, but grain will be visible throughout the brush stroke due to value differences..

See brightness/ contrast tip for Grainy Flat Cover.

Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Drip' Subcategory variant. Method= Drip.
Subcat.= Drip.
Grain= 100%
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Opacity= 100%.
Opacity Expression= None.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Produces a soft edge with most tip profiles.

Drip method variants may only be used on the canvas or on a layer previously filled with white for example.

Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Hard Drip' variant. Method= Drip.
Subcat.= Hard Drip.
Grain= 100%
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Opacity= 100%.
Opacity Expression= None.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Produces a slightly harsher edge than a Drip Subcategory variant.

Don't forget to experiment with different Brush (tip) Profiles.

Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Grainy Drip' variant. Method= Drip.
Subcat.= Grainy Drip.
Grain= 100%
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Opacity= 100%.
Opacity Expression= None.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Interacts with the currently selected paper grain.

Grain can either rapidly fill with increased stylus pressure, or remain prominent throughout the stroke, depending on Paper Contrast value.

See brightness/ contrast tip for Grainy Flat Cover.

Converts as for Soft Cover to a 'Grainy Hard Drip' variant. Method= Drip.
Subcat.= Grainy Hard Drip.
Grain= 100%
Grain Expression= Pressure.
Grain Expression Invert= Unchecked.
Opacity= 100%.
Opacity Expression= None.
Cont. Time Dep.= Unchecked.
Brush Loading= Unchecked.
Interacts with the currently selected paper grain.

In comparison to Grainy Drip, Hard Drip produces a harder brush stroke with reduced grain filling properties.

See brightness/ contrast tip for Grainy Flat Cover.

Notes.

1. If any of these scripts are ran, but no apparent change is made to the current variant parameters, it probably means that those parameters are not available as an option to the current Dab Type selected.

2.Please do not take the 'dab' icon images as faithful reproductions of your brush stroke after running the respective script.

3. I wanted to include scripts to change the brush tip profiles, but these did not appear to be scriptable. A work around was be to make a set of 'basic' Circular Dab brushes which incorporated each of the six tip profiles and use a custom palette to switch between them. These are available for Painter 7 through 8.1 by clicking the associated link here, or at the top of this page. Please read the instructions in the ReadMe which is included.

4. As these scripts change some of the default parameters of the currently selected variant, it is useful to quickly access the 'Restore Default Variant' option. This can be achieved via. the Window menu> Custom Palette> Add Command or by assigning the command to an 'F' key (via. Preferences> Customize keys). Please consult your manual/ help files if you are not sure.

On a final note, I plan to make more script presets available in the future and will consider for inclusion any specific requests you have which you think would improve your current work flow. You can contact me with your requests or any comments or suggestions relating to resources on this web site by clicking the '@' button in the menu at the top of this page.

David