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pixlart
12-16-2005, 02:10 PM
Corel® Painter™ Brush-ology: Quick Access to Favorite Brushes

This installment focuses on organizing your favorite brushes within Painter's interface for quick access. If you're like me, you probably have a short list of Painter brushes that you regularly use. Rather than constantly dig through the Brush Selector Bar's Category and Variant drop-down menus, wouldn't it be convenient to have your favorite brushes a single click away? Well, your wish can be granted by utilizing a couple of handy organizational features within Painter. Let's get organized!


Create a Custom Palette

A Custom Palette is a convenient tool for organizing Painter items that you regularly use. You can place items from the Brush Selector Bar, any of the six content selectors (papers, patterns, looks, weaves, nozzles, or gradients), Library palettes, or Script palette on a custom palette. You can also add any menu command, such as File menu > New, to a custom palette. I'm going to focus strictly on adding brush variants to a custom palette, but the Custom Palette feature obviously very powerful in its ability to place different Painter tools of your choosing into organized containers.

Creating a Custom Palette of your favorite variants is very easy. In the Brush Selector Bar, locate a variant that you want to add to a custom palette. Click and drag either the Category or Variant icon out of the Brush Selector (you'll see a gray rectangle as you drag). Painter creates a new Custom Palette containing the Category icon for the variant you just dragged.

To add more variants to your new Custom Palette, select each one from the Brush Selector and click and drag them into the newly created Custom Palette. You'll notice that the icons snap to an invisible grid. To move them into your desired position, hold down the Shift key and click and drag them in the custom palette to the desired location. If you want to delete an item, hold the Shift key and drag the item out of the palette.

Painter allows you to create as many Custom palettes as you'd like. The Custom Palette menu (Window menu: Custom Palette) lets you select which custom palettes are active. Depending on your Painter habits, you may want to create multiple custom palettes that contain tools specific to an activity: Sketching, Retouching, Painting, etc.


Dock Your Custom Palette

I've seen users create all varieties of Custom palettes. Long ones positioned under the Property Bar, for example. My quick access method maintains them in their narrowest possible configuration. This allows a maximum of 4 brushes across, so I arrange the brushes in rows of fours to keep the palette width narrow. By doing so, this custom palette can be docked into the main Painter palette container. I typically place my custom palette above the Colors palette, thereby positioning it immediately below the Brush Selector Bar. If I temporarily need more palette area for another activity (layer work, for example), I simply collapse the custom palette by clicking on that palette's disclosure triangle (left side of the palette bar).


Variant Icon Limitations

A limitation of a Custom palette populated with several brush variants is that any variants from the same Category will all use the same icon. This means that you could have several Artists' Oil variants in your custom palette and they would all appear to be identical! You can determine which variant a custom palette icon represents by holding your cursor over the icon. A Tool Tip will appear with the variant's name (assuming you have Tool Tips enabled (Help: Show Tool Tips)).


The Tracker Palette: An Alternative for Favorites Storage

The Tracker palette is a history list of your recently used brush variants (25 maximum). This enables you to return to a brush that you've used earlier without going to the Brush Selector Bar to retrieve it. You can also lock variants in the Tracker palette. This provides another method for keeping your favorite brushes a click away.

To lock a variant in the Tracker palette list, select the variant and click on the lock icon in the lower left corner of the palette. A lock icon will appear to the right of the list entry. To unlock a variant, select the list entry and once again click the lock icon at the lower right corner of the palette.

The Tracker palette's default view is strictly graphic: the Stroke view. Like the Custom palette, it can be difficult to discern which variant is which. As a result, I prefer the List view. This provides the variant's name. To switch the Tracker palette to List view, launch the palette's fly-out command menu (triangle at the right side of the palette bar) and choose List. You'll now have a textual list of variants.

Now for the bad news: The List view is not currently sticky in Painter. This means that Painter does not remember this setting between sessions. Consequentially, you'll need to manually choose List view each time you launch Painter. Hopefully, this inconvenience will be corrected in a future release.


Dock Your Tracker Palette

Like the Custom palette, the Tracker palette can be docked to the main Painter palette. I position mine between my Custom and Colors palettes. What makes this arrangement really convenient is the flexibility of of being able to selectively open and close these palettes as needed. Sometimes I have just my Custom palette open; other times just the Tracker palette. Other times I have them both open. If you're really an organization nut, you could have multiple custom palettes docked, each representing specific tasks.


Just One More Thing

By now, you are probably starting to realize the power of docking various palettes into a personalized workspace. Here's a tip: Dock your Layers and Channels palettes at the bottom of the main Palette stack (by default, these palettes are grouped in a separate palette container). When opening and closing various palettes, the entire palette set will perform its accordion-like magic, collapsing and expanding without generally hiding palettes.

Should you need to quickly navigate to the top or bottom of a taller-than-the-screen palette stack, hold down the ALT/OPT key and click and drag the palette stack. And you can hold down the Shift key while clicking on any palette bar's disclosure triangle and collapse the entire layer stack. Performing the same action on a closed stack will open all the palettes.

That's it for now. In the next installment, we'll delve into safely re-organizing and pruning Painter's massive brush library to a more manageable size.

Viva la Painter!

http://img515.imageshack.us/img515/2418/quickaccess4zs.th.jpg (http://img515.imageshack.us/my.php?image=quickaccess4zs.jpg)

skwearsercle
12-17-2005, 01:25 AM
This is all fairly standard info available with a cursory glance at the instruction manual. However as a reality check for you, it would be useful to understand how the limitation you describe below is more than just a minor inconvenience, it actually makes a proper custom palette of brushes useless.

It is ludicrous to suggest that a solution is to hold the cursor over a variant for an interminably long 1.5 seconds. Remember that the tip won't pop up if the your stylus is not dead still. Which means that you have to position your stylus over the button then lift it away from the canvas to lock the cursor down. It's just a waste of time.

The whole point is for the software to get out of the way, not to p*** you off.

Custom palettes were around in P6 and yet three upgrades later it's exactly the same as it was. I know that there was a convoluted way to make icons for the category but it is the variants that need differentiation.

Many Mac diehards who like the clean functionality of MacOS did not like the garish dashboard widgets at first but then it was realised that they were not in your face as you didn't see them till you pressed a button, glanced at them and then they disappeared. They actually need their own distinctive looks to make it possible to find the widget you wanted instinctively, quickly and seamlessly.

Which is why the solution of holding a stylus still in mid air over an icon to find out what it is, is nothing short of embarrassing.

PS with regards to "tall palette syndrome" ZBrush had a good solution. There is an option to enable accelerated palette scrolling so that you can drag a huge palette from one end to the other with a very short cursor movement.

kraal
12-17-2005, 04:40 PM
i use a cuctom palate all the time and have no problem with the fact that the icons are the same cause i know what order i put them in.... i just feel if you have a huge custom palate then it is unnessesary you maight as well use the brush selector palate

skwearsercle
12-18-2005, 12:58 AM
It's a simple principle. An icon is a button. Buttons that do different things should somehow look different. The whole point about an intuitive interface it that it is er...intuitive.

Jinbrown
12-18-2005, 02:47 AM
This is all fairly standard info available with a cursory glance at the instruction manual.


It should be fairly obvious that many Painter users don't bother to take even a cursory glance at the instructions manual (User Guide or Help > Help Topics). If they did, this forum and many others in the Painter community would not be filled with basic questions that can be answered by reading the Painter documentation.


However as a reality check for you, it would be useful to understand how the limitation you describe below is more than just a minor inconvenience, it actually makes a proper custom palette of brushes useless.


Not if the artist takes advantage of Painter's other capabilities to create individual brush categories, with appropriately descriptive icons, to contain their most used brush variants.


It is ludicrous to suggest that a solution is to hold the cursor over a variant for an interminably long 1.5 seconds. Remember that the tip won't pop up if the your stylus is not dead still. Which means that you have to position your stylus over the button then lift it away from the canvas to lock the cursor down. It's just a waste of time.


I agree that holding the cursor over an icon is an interruption and often frustrating as one has to hold it so still that even breathing seems to make it difficult to get the Tool Tip to display. Still, it's better than not having that option along with the other options.


Custom palettes were around in P6 and yet three upgrades later it's exactly the same as it was. I know that there was a convoluted way to make icons for the category but it is the variants that need differentiation.


Not exactly the same at all. There are several differences:

• Custom Palettes can now be docked.

• The docked group can be moved all together anywhere on the Painter screen.

• The docked group can be closed all at once or individual Custom Palettes within the docked group can be closed while leaving others open on the Painter screen.

• Custom Palettes within the docked group can be expandeded one at a time, leaving others contracted so only the Custom Palette name bar is visible or multiple Custom palettes in the docked group can be expanded at the same time.

• All Custom Palettes in the docked group can be expanded or contracted at the same time by holding down the Shift key and clicking the triangle to the left of any Custom Palette name in the docked group.

• The entire docked group of Custom Palettes can be scrolled up or down either by using the scroll bar on the right side or by clicking in a blank area of any Custom palette and dragging up or down.

Those are the differences from Painter 6 Custom Palettes that come to mind right now. There may be other differences I'm not thinking of at the moment but those should clearly demonstrate that Custom Palettes are not the same, certainly not "exactly the same" in Painter IX and Painter 8 as Custom Palettes in Painter 6.

Again if you want to differentiate brush variants use the solution suggested above, individual brush categories for each favorite brush variant, with appropriately descriptive icons.


PS with regards to "tall palette syndrome" ZBrush had a good solution. There is an option to enable accelerated palette scrolling so that you can drag a huge palette from one end to the other with a very short cursor movement.

See above for a similar method of working with a tall group of docked Custom Palettes or other tall palette groups.

skwearsercle
12-18-2005, 05:45 AM
Yes custom palettes now behave like normal palettes. And have therefore inherited any changes that are made to palettes. This would have been sufficient instead of listing how normal palettes themselves have changed.

Look, Painter is not Photoshop. Painter lives and dies by it's brush variants. Yep we can create individual categories for every variant, and then collect each category into a library. Then whenever we create a new variant while we work we can make it into a new category and add it to the library. Clumsy at best.

Dealing with very tall palettes by closing them all and opening them all is not even remotely like accelerated scrolling of long palettes.

Jinbrown
12-18-2005, 06:21 AM
Yes custom palettes now behave like normal palettes. And have therefore inherited any changes that are made to palettes. This would have been sufficient instead of listing how normal palettes themselves have changed.


It's hard to tell what would be sufficient to answer your complaints. ;)

In any case, even if you don't appreciate the time John and I have taken to share information that can help a Painter artist, others will benefit from it.


Look, Painter is not Photoshop. Painter lives and dies by it's brush variants. Yep we can create individual categories for every variant, and then collect each category into a library. Then whenever we create a new variant while we work we can make it into a new category and add it to the library. Clumsy at best.


Have you thought of sending your requests to Corel at...

painterteam@corel.com

... as Rick Champagne invited us to do in his thread named Painter Team Gets An Upgrade! (http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?t=296287) ?

That might be more productive.


Dealing with very tall palettes by closing them all and opening them all is not even remotely like accelerated scrolling of long palettes.

No, it isn't and that's not what I suggested. Read my post again if you're interested.


Merry Christmas! :)

skwearsercle
12-18-2005, 10:44 PM
It's hard to tell what would be sufficient to answer your complaints. ;)

which is probably why you are not an interface designer. ;)

In any case, even if you don't appreciate the time John and I have taken to share information that can help a Painter artist, others will benefit from it.

No need to be pompous.

Have you thought of sending your requests to Corel at...

yes.

But I am also entitled to answer a thread on a public talk forum. That's how these things work.

Jinbrown
12-19-2005, 11:05 AM
But I am also entitled to answer a thread on a public talk forum. That's how these things work.


Yep. It sure is how these things work, for all of us.

I hope you'll find the answers you want.


Merry Christmas!

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