Brush Category and Script Icon Helper
The icons helper is essentially a set of scripts ran via a custom palette to aid manual creation of custom brush category and script icons in Corel Painter 7 through IX.5.

The Inspiration for this project came from a comment by John Derry, under the heading Create Customized Brush Category Icons, which can be found in his Brush Library Organization 3 tutorial. You can of course also utilise Photoshop in the icon creation workflow, but by means of these resources, this has been tailored to Corel Painter. Below is a screen-shot of the resulting Painter IX.5 custom palette (left), with a key for reference on the right.

The basic concept is that the artist has a choice of three initial canvas sizes onto which the icon design may be rendered (clicking one of the respective icons in the custom palette will automatically create a new canvas document of preset dimensions).

Apart from the choice of initial canvas size, the artist also has a choice of icon backgrounds. With reference to the key image, 1, 4 and 8 can be used to give a similar look to the Painter 9.5 default brush category icons. These have a gradated grey background. 2, 5 and 9 on the other hand will default to a plain white canvas, intended to be predominantly covered by imagery.

The initial canvas sizes are as follows;

1 and 2 are 90 x 90 pixels

4 and 5 are 120 x 120 pixels

8 and 9 are 150 x 150 pixels

In the case of Painter 7 through 9.5 brush category icons, in order for the icons to display in the Brushes palette/Brush Selector Bar, their final size must be exactly 30 x 30 pixels.

Painter has both cloning and resizing abilities, and these are made full use of in 3, 6, 7 and 10.

Clicking on the far right custom palette script icon on the same row as that clicked for the initial canvas document will automatically clone, flatten and resize the original to the magic 30 x 30 pixels. As an example, if I chose either 4 or 5 to generate my initial canvas image, I would click 7 to clone and resize that image. The resizing operations work as a preset percentage of the original dimensions, hence a dedicated clone/resize script for each original canvas size.

The big advantage of cloning prior to resizing is that a non destructive snapshot view can be taken during the rendering process, on a let's see how that will look basis. If you are not happy with the result, just close the resized clone image without saving, and continue rendering the design.

You may also wish to sharpen the clone image to enhance the appearance Custom palette script icons 11 through 14 are actually sharpening presets. I found that in Painter IX, there was no method of manual numerical input of the required sharpening amount in the Sharpen dialogue. Moving the Amount slider gave (at the lower end), stepped values of 0.92, 1.83, 2.75 and 3.76. The scripted versions (accessed via the above custom palette), are not only very fast to execute, but provide preset sharpening amounts of 1.25, 1.5, 1.75 and 2.0 respectively.

When you are happy with the 30 x 30 pixel image, save the file as a jpg, with the same name as the brush category folder it will represent (jpg file extension required). Place the icon image in the respective brush library folder in order to replace an existing brush category icon (or use it in the process of manually creating a new brush category in the brush library); i.e create a new category folder of the same name as the jpg brush category icon (without the jpg file extension), then copy or move your desired variant xml files (and captured dab jpg files if applicable) to the new category folder.

If you wish to create a new brush library, place the brush category folder(s) and brush category jpg file(s) in a new (appropriately named) brush library folder.

The Adjust Colors, Save As, Zoom In and Zoom Out buttons have been added to the custom palette via. Window menu> Custom Palette> Add Command.

The image above demonstrates how the initial capture size of an image effects the imagery size displayed in the resulting script icon.

From left to right;

30 x 30 pixel capture image size

60 x 60 pixel capture image size

120 x 120 pixel capture image size

94 x 94 pixel capture image size

Note, to view the capture image at final script icon size, simply click 6 again, with the first clone/resized window to the front. Remember not to capture at this size though, unless you want your icon imagery to be the same size as the far left icon in the above screen-shot.

Above is a demonstration of the system in action. Number 4 has been clicked to generate the gradated canvas document and the imagery has been painted on the above layer before adding drop shadow. Number 7 has been clicked to create a flattened and resized clone document (30 x 30 pixels).

At this stage, one can either save the cloned image as a jpg to be used as a custom brush category icon, or close the clone document, (without saving), and further refine the original image. Before saving, you can also perform image sharpening (via the sharpening presets), adjust the colors via the respective custom palette shortcut, or apply a multitude of other effects in Painter (before or after cloning). Painter's Bevel World plugin can also be utilised prior to cloning, in order to produce various button effects. The image above right shows a screen-shot of the new custom brush category icon in the Brush Selector Bar (Painter IX.5).

Creating 'capture' images for conversion to script icons

I'm not going to go into too much detail on the number 6 option, as this will be covered in another tutorial.

Number 6 is used to clone and resize to 60 x 60 pixels, from either a 4 or 5 initial canvas image. This latter script generates my preferred 'capture size' image for Painter macro script icons. The screen shot below demonstrates script icons captured at various sizes.

Downloading and Installing the Resources. (24 kb) for Painter 7 through IX.5 PC.

scripts_mac_dl1_folder.dmg (32 kb) for Painter 7 through IX.5 Mac.

How to Load;

In Painter 7 and 8, first place the enclosed script library at the top level of your Painter application folder.

For the script library to auto-load via a linked custom palette in Painter IX/ IX.5, the script library must be placed at the top level of your users Painter IX /IX.5 folder which can be found at the following locations;

Users > [username] > Library > Application Support > Corel > Painter IX

Documents and Settings > [username] > Application Data > Corel > Corel Painter IX

Once in the correct location, use the 'Load Library' option from the Scripts palette> Script Selector window> menu.

If individual scripts are to be run via a custom palette, due to a Painter bug, first drag the script icons onto the desktop/ custom palette, re-arrange the palette icons if desired, then quit Painter without clicking any of the icons in the newly created custom palette. Failure to do this may result in Painter crashing. Re-launch Painter and try out the scripts via the respective custom palette.

In Painter 7 and 8.1, the respective script library must first be loaded for the scripts to run from the custom palette. In Painter IX/ IX.5, the script library will auto-load when the relevant custom palette script icon is clicked.