Painter IX for Photographers, by Martin Addison ISBN: 0-240-51982-5

Reviewed by: Mario Georgiou, August 2005
Published by: Focal Press/Elsevier
Requires: N/A
MSRP: US$44.95, UK£27.99

Painter is a digital tool for creating images. It digitally emulates natural media-based art. With Painter you can paint in watercolors, oils, gouache, impasto, pencils, pens, pastels, palette knives, Sumi-e and many more brushes. The beauty of painter is that it is so flexible you can create your own brushes, control their behavior and save them for endless reuse. The problem is that with such a versatile program you need excellent support materials. Painter IX is one of those feature rich programs that just screams out for a better manual. Now don't get me wrong because I actually think the manual for Painter is pretty good, as are the support materials that Corel supplies in the software package. What is missing is a manual which shows how every brush works and which covers the other features comprehensively and in an effective, visual manner.

Painter IX is naturally aimed at the artist or the artistically inclined creative. Painter IX for Photographers is a book is designed with the photographer in mind and with a focus on projects in Painter IX which allow photographers to create painterly images from their photographs. It facilitates the adding of another powerful and versatile tool to the photographers' arsenal of software.

The book begins with a very cursory look at the Painter IX user interface and tools. It also briefly discusses customization, the configuration of tools such as graphics tablets and also introduces the concept of color management. Author Addison quickly delves into the concept and application of cloning and takes you step-by-step through several different types of cloning, effectively demonstrating some practical examples for enhancing your images simply and artistically.

The use and configuration of paper textures can greatly affect the results you can achieve. The paper textures being referred to in this book are actually virtual textures or digital emulations but they are nonetheless very effective. Having tackled paper textures, Addison then explores the idea of using images with darker and colored backgrounds to evoke a moodier feeling. Again the examples here are well conceived and also open the reader up to more possibilities.

Chapter 5 is the best reason to pick up this book because it takes you through every stock brush available in Painter IX, and also provides about 66 pages of excellent contextual examples of these brushes applied to the same image and accompanied by other images that fit the chosen brush. Remember that these images are all created from photographs and the results will vary from image to image.

The next chapter is devoted to the customization of brushes and extensively covers the three available tools: Stroke Designer, Randomizer and Transposer. The tools are fairly straightforward to use but offer an extensive range of options for configuring your brushes. Again the author does a good job of covering the available features.

Chapter 7 reintroduces cloning but with the capability of using multiple sources to create your artworks. Although the chapter is short, the examples demonstrate just how versatile this tool is and how effective its techniques can be in creating great images.

Chapter 8 deals with the use of layers and demonstrates how they vary from the concept as used in Photoshop. The author then uses the same great approach of using the same images to demonstrate the effects of each method and also discusses the issues when loading and saving Photoshop files. This chapter also shows you how to use layers and cloning to create montages.

The next chapter looks at the process of creating watercolor and oil paint-based images. Addison explains the differences between the two kinds of watercolor brushes and how to use the oil and pastel brushes to great effect.

Chapter 10 very effectively covers the application of surface texture effects as well as luminance and 3D brushes. This is followed by a chapter on cloning effects such as mosaics, monochrome, liquid inks and furry brush clones. This last brush creates some very interesting textural effects but I'm guessing that many photographers will lean more towards the first two until they develop more confidence with the furry brush.

Chapter 12 deals with the digital equivalent of tinting and hand coloring darkroom techniques. There are a couple of good examples here of what can be achieved, and the landscape and seasonal examples are quite good. In the first you hand tint a landscape to create an autumn scene and then subsequently take it through from autumn to winter.

The penultimate chapter is one which deals with the special effects capabilities found within Painter IX. They're well covered with examples which enhance the readers understanding of what can be achieved. The book covers the glass distortion, sketch, woodcut, distress, apply screen, burn, bevel world, liquid lens, kaleidoscope and marbling filters. I particularly like the depth and quality that can be achieved with the woodcut, burn and distress filters.

The final chapter revisits and reviews the paper libraries or surface treatments available within the program. It's more of a pictorial catalogue of what is available and very nicely done.

Cons: The chapters covering brushes and the basics should have been expanded. There should also have been more emphasis placed on the ideal system configuration for Painter IX.

Pros: Excellent Illustrations. Excellent examples including comprehensive examples of many of the features. Well written. Painter IX for Photographers itself is an example of why Focal Press has become one of my favorite publishers of imaging and photography related books. This is a quality publication which very effectively covers the capabilities of a great software package. It is well laid out, with a high quality finish, excellent full color illustrations and color coded sections to clearly separate the chapters. I enjoyed reading it and look forward to more from Focal Press on this great program. Painter IX for Photographers is a book which for me makes the perfect companion to this great software package. Highly recommended.

Feedback? Letters to the Editor? Send them here!





© Copyright 2000-2006 All rights reserved. legal notice
home | previous reviews | forums | about us | search | store | subscribe


Hot News Search Home Previous Reviews About Us Store Subscribe