Get More From Painter’s Brushes

Painter 12’s enhanced brush configuration options give you even more control over your brush variants, as Simon Dominic points out…


Simon Dominic
Simon Dominic
Simon is a freelance illustrator who specialises in fantasy, sci-fi and horror. He works primarily on game art, book covers, private commissions, cards and magazines.

As well as implementing performance enhancements in Painter 12, Corel has made some of the generic customisation of Painter 11 available at the brush level.

One long-awaited improvement is the Multicore option, available as a tick-box at the bottom of the General panel and selectable per individual brush.

Ticking this option instructs Painter to use all available CPU cores when painting with the current brush.

However, it’s best not to just turn on Multicore for every brush, because applying Multicore to simple brushes can cause an overhead which may result in higher CPU usage without any added performance benefit.

So it’s best to try it first and see if Multicore benefits your chosen brush.

Brush calibration

Painter 12 enables you to  save unique calibration settings against each brush. On the Brush Calibration panel, tick Enable Brush Calibration and then click the brush icon in the lower right-hand corner.

On the Scratchpad that appears, draw a stroke using typical velocity and pressure range, then click OK. If the checkbox is left unticked the generic calibration preferences in Edit> Preferences>Brush Tracking are used.

Painter 12 brushes

2: Dab Profile

The Dab Profile functions have been expanded in Painter 12 and now include Dab and Stroke previews. In the Dab Profile panel, select a brush tip shape from the right-hand options (some are greyed out, depending on the brush type).

Choose each of the three icons above the Preview Stroke to preview Size & Shape, Hard Media and Brush Dab, or click the Dab Preview pane to cycle through all three options.

Painter 12 brushes

3: Stroke Attributes

Halfway down the General Panel is a tick-box entitled Use Stroke Attributes. Tick this to activate the Merge Mode pull-down and Stroke Opacity slider.

From Merge Mode, chose an overlay method and then alter the opacity of this method using Stroke Opacity.

In previous versions of Painter this effect was only available using layers but now it’s saved as a config attribute against your current brush.

Painter 12 brushes

Painter’s Brush Calibration

To get started, bring up Painter’s individual Brush Tracking window, using the Brush Tracking icon to the bottom right of the Brush Calibration panel. Take a look at the diagram below to see what we're talking about:

A. Scratchpad

Sketch in this area with typical speed and pressure range. The values that are described below (Velocity Scale, Velocity Power, Pressure Scale and Pressure Power) will then be set automatically.

If you’re not happy with these values you can alter them manually, either in the Brush Tracking window or through the Brush Calibration panel.

In general, it’s best to configure these settings first using the Scratchpad and then adjust them by hand.

B. Velocity Scale

Increase this value to spread the velocity response over a larger pen velocity range. You need at least one brush Expression set to Velocity to see this work.

C. Velocity Power

increase this value to heighten the velocity needed to achieve a certain effect. You need at least one brush Expression set to Velocity to see this work.

D. Pressure Scale

Increase this value to spread the pressure response over a larger pen pressure range. You need at least one brush Expression set to Pressure to see this work.

E. Pressure Power

Increase this value to heighten the pen pressure that’s required to produce a certain effect on the canvas. You need at least one brush Expression set to Pressure to see this work.

Painter 12 brushes

Simon's tutorial was featured in ImagineFX issue 74 as part of our Core Skills workshop series.

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