Painting Lilacs


Paranormal PSP8--Tutorial Index--New Features--Painting Lilacs

It was suggested to me that, given that I'm basically a painter, that I ought to create  a series of painting tutorials.

This is a follow-up to the Painting Marigolds and Daisies tutorial. If you find yourself getting lost here, you might want to take a trip over there first.

I ordinarily use a Wacom tablet, and it does make things easier, but I've tested this method with both a trackball and a standard mouse and it can be done with either one of those, too.



Let's Make a Brush From Scratch

In this tutorial we're going to create a brush and use it to create a single lilac cluster.

The lilacs you see at left  have been reduced in size in the interest of space. Learning to do all the rest of the stuff you see in the illustration at left  would take a book. Everything was done using native PSP8 tools, no plug-ins, outside textures or additional software used.

And, yes, if you're a publisher or know someone who is one, I do have a manuscript! LOL


Presets control things like size, shape, opacity, hardness, density, step, rotation and painting blend mode. These controls are set via the tool options palette that stretches across the top of the window when a brush is chosen from the Tools toolbar. Most of these controls were available in PSP7, but you could not record your settings for later recall. Now, via presets, you can.  To learn more about Brushes, see the PSP 8 Help system

(Ok, not completely from scratch, but close)

You may have noticed that PSP brushes changed. In PSP 7 and earlier versions, they were glorified rubber stamps. (Take a shape, fill 'em with paint, and click to use. Oh, it could be a little more sophisticated than that, but that was the basic process.) You can still use and create that sort of brush, but version 8 really adds some power to these puppies through two different kinds of settings:
Presets and Brush Variances. (see sidebars)

Brush tips can be created from grayscale images or from selections. In this tutorial, we're going to use my grayscale blossom image.

A complex brush like the one we are going to create here has three components: a brush tip (the shape) the brush tool options settings and the brush variances. When you save the preset, it will contain all three components.

Brush Variances are new to version 8. They control the dynamic effects available to brushes in PSP. Variances can dynamically change color, hue, saturation, lightness, size, opacity, thickness, density, fade. position and impressions.  They are set via the Brush Variances Palette which toggles on and off witn th F11 key,To learn more about Brushes, see the PSP 8 Help system













What's a "Step"?  

Jasc uses this word all over the place and never really defines it in the help files. To make matters worse, it means slightly different things depending on the context. In this context it means that when you are moving the brush across the screen it will make one impression, and then the next one will be made a little more than half (52%) way across the brush tip. So, if you were moving in an absolutely straight line, the first blossom would be stamped at pixel 1, the next one at about pixel 33.

The smaller the step the more solid the lne looks. The larger the step, the bigger the gaps between impressions.

Click HERE to see what happens when you adjust step values.







Don't miss Rotation just because there's no numerical  value entered!

1.At left you will see an image of my Blossom brush tip shape. Click it to download the image from which we will create the lilac brush, and save it somewhere on your own computer. Open blossomimage.jpg in PSP8. You don't need to do an awful lot to it. If it looks "fuzzy," it's supposed to be! I originally created this brush with sharp edges, and I went back and changed it to something softer. Sharper edges produced an unpleasant-looking impression.Why didn't I just adjust the hardness in the tool options palette? Because that option is always grayed out for user-created brushes.

2. Creating a brush tip from a grayscale image is simple. Choose File>Export>Custom Brush.  When you do, you'll see a dialog box that looks like this one

3. Fill in the name and copyright information and click OK. Because we are going back to create variances in a minute, it's OK to accept the defaults now. You've now created the sort of brush that PSP7 used. Now we're going to  give it some new PSP V8 Power via variances and then assign a preset to it.

4. Close the blossomimage.jpg and open any blank raster image (size and color aren't important right now. ) When your image opens, choose the paintbrush from the Tools toolbar. Your tool options bar wil change to the options for a paintbrush, and when you locate the tip you just created in the drop down, your options bar should look like this

(your controls may be in 2 rows rather than 3- I reshape for size in these tutorials in order to keep the text labels legible)

5. Make the following changes to the tool options:

Size 63
Step 52 
and place a check in the box marked Wet Look Paint.

6. Press the F11 key to make the Brush Variances Palette visible. When the palette opens, make the following changes:

7. Once you have that done, all we need to do is save the preset. To do that, go back to the Tool Options bar and cllick the Presets icon

When you click the presets icon, a small menu will appear. (see below) In the upper right hand corner is an icon that looks like a computer diskette.  It is the Save icon. When you click it, another dialog box will appear. (To see that window, Click HERE ) Type in a name for your brush preset (I call mine Lilac-JPK) and any additional information you want to include.  If you like, you can explore the preset before you click OK by pressing the options button and using the scrollbar. When you are ready to move on, click Ok, and the window will close.

From now on, whenever you want to recall these settings, all you'll have to do is choose the preset name  and click OK

Your brush and preset are created!
Now, let's paint!

Painting Lilacs
(and other cluster-type flowers

1. Create a new image 800x 600  with a white raster background layer.

2. Immediately create a new raster layer. Let's get ready to paint.

3. Place the color 8202D4 (purple) in the foreground, and DCCCFE (pale orchid) in the background swatches of the materials picker.

3. If necessary, choose the paintbrush from the tool palette.  On the tool options palette, open up the presets menu and choose the brush setting you just created in the steps outlined above. 




4. With your paint blend mode set to Normal, someplace in the middle of your canvas, on the TRANSPARENT raster layer 1, (not the background) use the brush to draw a sort of slanting ice cream cone or gourd shape. It doesn't have to be perfect-- in fact, it will look better if it isn't. Make it fill about 75%  of the vertical space. It should look a little like the one at the left (but much larger, of course) Looks a little like a Hawaiian lei at this point.

5. Change the blend mode to darken, and follow the outline you just made, once just outside your original shape, and once just inside it. Now it's beginning to take shape. We need to put darker colors around the edges to create the illusion of dimension. Dark colors recede, light colors come forward.

6. Change the blend mode to normal and fill in the center area lightly. It's OK to leave some spaces, but we're gong to use screen mode next, and screen needs some color to react with. It will look like the one on the left.

7. Change the paint bend mode to screen and paint over the center of the cluster. This wil introduce some pretty pink shades and lighten up the piece. See inset on the right.

8. Now, depending on what sort of natural media you want to emulate, you have a decision to make. If you are mimicking watercolor, you can stop here and run edge preserving smooth at full strength, add some stems and leaves and call it a day.  It will end up looking like the one on the left below (the leaf is a tube from Jasc Summer Leaves that has been Edge Preserving Smoothed nearly to death- there are dozens of leaf tubes available on the web!)

9. If you want to emulate a more dense medium like oil or acrylic, you would use the same technique we used for the marigolds,--On the Tool Options Palette, change the size of the brush from 63 to 43, and change the blend mode to mutiply. Draw another oval, slightly smaller than the last.

Continue to alternate a Screen Blend oval and a Multiply Blend oval, reducing the size of the petals as necessary until you get to the center.  For your last stroke, (which should be in screen blend) instead of an oval, draw a loose S curve toaff the final highlighs.  We're only going to make one flower in this tutorial but when we're done, you should make a bunch of these. I'd suggest for ease of editing later that you put each blossom cluster on its own layer. That way, you can angle and layer them, add shadows, place leaves in between the flowers, etc.

(I know I "cheated" on the leaves on this one by using tubes, but this was a long tutorial... I'll do one on creating leaves from scratch soon, I promise!)








Copyright(c) 2003 JP Kabala, Kabala Portfolio Design. All rights reserved.