Losing my mind (Re: Opacity)


There’s actually a very good reason for it–interactivity. When importing/exporting between different packages, you will lose interactivity because the features of one software is not supported in the other, and going back and forth between them will end up in you losing all the specialized features of all of them. For example, Painter’s watercolor or ink layers cannot be imported in other painting softwares, and Photoshop’s adjustment layers cannot be exported to other softwares…etc. If a software can do it all and do it well (the key word is to doing it “well”), then that’s always the best solution. It may be possible to come up with a workflow that can utilize different softwares with minimum loss of idiosycratic features/behaviors, but if at anytime you do need to break the workflow due to a mistake or revision and jump to another software in unforeseen ways, you run into trouble again.


Compatibility could be - and is being - overcome simply by developers making adjustments to their code to support other formats. Sure, there will always be certain features that aren’t currently portable and have to be worked around but IMO that pales into insignificance at the effort needed to use an unwieldy piece of software that allows all operations.

That said, even if such software were feasible (and I don’t believe it is - not even close) I doubt anybody would produce it. PhotoShop is already split into heck knows how many different flavours and look what happened to Painter 11 when Corel decided they’d chase the market rather than develop the original vision. I don’t criticise them for that, after all it needs to be commercially viable, but I do criticise them for ignoring the core functions and usability at the expense of glitz and fluff.

And there’s still the price for a piece of software that virtually nobody would use to its full potential. No pro artist I’m aware of would use the full gamut of photography tools, natural media, digital effects, animation, CAD tools, vectors, magic paintovers, etc. and the amateur artists wouldn’t want to pay the £1K+ price tag a piece of software like this would cost, assuming it really did justice to each area.

I think whilst it’s a fair stance to want a single piece of software to do everything (although I don’t agree on it’s practical benefits) it’s easy to miss that if you factor in the needs of every artist it quickly becomes unworkable.


In that case then the modular approach would be best. You only pay for the module you need. I don’t know why software developers don’t do that–maybe it’s hard to program clean codes that allow the modules to separate efficiently?


In that case then the modular approach would be best. You only pay for the module you need. I don’t know why software developers don’t do that–maybe it’s hard to program clean codes that allow the modules to separate efficiently?

From my knowledge, some 3D apps have optional modules in their releases (Cinema 4D, Cloth Module, Bodypaint etc.) it only seems practical that software package with a code line as deep as that of Painter and Photoshop would go with a modular approach, I mean, there are so many more markets they can target, Corel can dance around their ‘hey lets paint a photo’ idealogy and Photoshop can target a digital painting market, without obstructing photographers and other markets.

Great idea Baron.


(^ EDIT: How did that happen - time warp? :slight_smile: )

Yeah, as I say corporate software is very modular and it’s common to bolt on specific modules, and 3D too as you say. The initial development overhead is greater but I think there are so many disparate needs from the user-base that it would make sense for the s/w companies to look at this. It needn’t be very granular but I could see it working if the modules were divided up at a high level into, say, Photography, Painting, Animation, CAD, Tracing Tools, etc. The base costs would be higher, to pay for the added development, but ultimately the vast majority of users would save money because they’re not paying for functions they don’t use.


The base costs would be higher, to pay for the added development, but ultimately the vast majority of users would save money because they’re not paying for functions they don’t use.

I agree, I would be happy to pay a higher price if the package had the functions and features I needed.

Modules just sounds so practical, and it really makes the package your own. From a developer point of view, developing small modules or small add-ons for current modules would bring in some revenew inbetween software releases anyway… I don’t really see a whole lot of negatives with this idea… haha


You know Luke, I am trying lot of programs so I have no problem in using them if I really need them. I have seen lot of different UI in 2D or 3D programs, so it is not really a problem. I Have no problem using two or more programs, if only it is justified. I mean, if I want adjustment layer, Photoshop will be the solution, I see no reason having this feature in Painter. But Painter is a painting and drawing program, I don’t think I am picky (I can understand for any other reason) because I am asking for a simple decent ruler system, especially because we have more advanced tool with the ‘align to path’ feature. What is incredible, it is this tool is used only few times where a good ruler system would do the job for any basic operation.

Maybe you should click on the videos (6 videos and 1 minute max per video) I posted in my previous post (reposted here). It will allow you to see what these rulers can do without trying the program.

Now, it isn’t fair from me bashing about ArtRage’s rulers. In fact there is a little story behind that. In last September, I tried to think about rulers, especially about perspective ruler. I have seen here many threads talking about the needs of good tools to do this task. Lot of trick was described using different programs. So I tried to find myself all the tools in many programs to do just a simple straight line

and wow! Almost none of them has a dedicated tool (I am meaning a direct tool where you can control pressure)!
At this time, ArtRage was the only one which allows doing that with true rulers.
Painter has the ‘align to path’ button but after trying it doing parallel lines it wasn’t a satisfying solution taking many time for nothing.
In Photoshop we can use the shift key which constrains the line and it is easy to make multiple parallel lines, we just need once it is done to use the transform tool (also possible in Painter anyway without the perspective transformation before Painter 11) to orient them
again, not really a direct and satisfying solution

Now I tested the ArtRage tool

wonderful, at last, someone thought it can be useful to us! BUT, once I tried them, my parallel lines were really difficult to draw. With real ruler, I use one hand to move the ruler and my other hand to make my brush stroke. In CG one, I need to use the same hand to move and make my brush stroke. So it is slower!
Damn, what is the problem with them, if there is a domain where computer is good, it is especially in doing precision and now, none of the software solution were able to give a simple straight line ruler!! That is just crazy!

So, if I am really disappointed, it is because when I am seeing ArtRage’s rulers, they thought [b]about the tools[/b], the real one, instead about [b]the needs[/b]! What is most important? Emulating real tools or doing cg tools which meet the needs?
So it is a perfect example of why it is stupid and unproductive to emulate at any price real media tools.

So I thought about a working tool

what is a straight line ruler? A straight line ruler is a tool which is able to constrain my line using a user defined angle. Is it really necessary to move the ruler (the slowest operation)? No, it isn’t, as the position of the ruler is always where I will make my brush stroke. So the ruler I needed was already inside most of program using the shift key. It is just needed to create a system which gives a user interface which allows changing the angle. As it is needed to make a straight line from point A to point B, it is necessary to use a ghosting system which allows orienting a line on the screen. Once it is done I can move the view of my canvas and make any brush strokes I want in a simpler way I can ever dream using natural media. I wrote many notes about perspective and radial rulers also
Everything was made considering concept art workflow because if the tool is able to be used in speed painting (the fastest workflow) it will be perfect for anything else
.ouch, I will cut the story as it isn’t the point. So…

Months later I could try Manga Studio 4 rulers and it was magic, it was almost exactly what was inside my notes and a lot more with concentric and radial curve ruler. The tool is not adapted to speed painting workflow but it is the most efficient tool ever created for this task (it is mainly the difference with my notes which used a lot temporary key and a system to position and orient the ruler with brush strokes).
So yes, the ArtRage’s rulers are just poor one, they have the same unjustified issue like the real one (hiding my canvas) and with an added issue as we need to use the same hand to position the ruler and make the brush strokes. Anyway, they are colored and sweet (~irony there) but I feel so disappointed they wasted so many times doing this kind of tools

And I am even more disappointed because the only program which is able to give what I need is not a digital painting program, it is a program made for creating comic book. I will never use this program because it is not made for this task, it is like I needed to buy Autodesk studio tools (a nurbs modeling solution) to use only the sketching tools

So it is why I am a bit angry about sketchbook pro developers, because their program has been released many months later Manga Studio, because they created a new ruler system which is already outdated.
Dear developers open your window and see what is possible around you before wasting time (and money) doing outdated stuff! You can see the last video posted here named ‘workflow’ and you can compare with the sketchbook pro workflow video
you will laugh
or maybe cry.

About Painter and lack of community relations I agree with you. But I think there is something schizophrenic with Corel. There are the developers which try to do a decent program and the business men with short vision (yeah, everywhere but especially with Painter development), those who are responsible of early unworking release. This last category doesn’t know anything about reputation which is really important. I have seen many time that I can show an excellent program to someone, explaining it is enough or also better for the stuff this artist needs to do, but it is a useless cause, most of people will prefer to use the program known by everyone. And these business men are killing meticulously the priceless Painter reputation like a cancer.
In my opinion, I have also the feeling there is a lack of strong vision about Painter future when I am seeing the features of the latest release. But maybe I am wrong and it is just because I am not seeing the whole picture.

I read many times your opinion and everytime it was really close or identical to what I was thinking.
Yes, the Painter brush engine is far more elaborate and feature like instant mirror may be a lot more difficult to implement when you can control precisely brush orientation.

But it is also its weak point. IMO, there are two problems with the actual system :
[b]-too many brushes !![/b]
As I thought also about this issue, I wrote some notes how to simplify that. A solution could be in a filtering system based on attributes (inspired by search engine inside latest operating sytem). What happen when user is looking for a brush? Well, I can only talk about my own case, but I am more looking for a brush which is able to play with grain than for a brush inside a category like oil, gouache

And I would like to filter all the buildup brush because I want to use a cover method. And I would like the software avoid me to choose impasto brushes easily because when the impasto is on my canvas, I haven’t found any solution to remove it from the file even when the impasto is deleted (the size of my file is increased a lot). I will like also to be able to filter true bristle brush when I need them or filter image based brushes.
Now the filtering can make my life easier hiding brushes I don’t want, an icon and color system could be added. An icon could show in a quick view which brush is using impasto, bristle, grain and so on
and a overlay color should show you which brush is using buildup method, cover and so on
With a smart system, you could activate the filter system just clicking on the icon (and maybe using a click+modifier key to activate/deactivate impasto state, grain
). I think it will make our life a lot easier and we could explore without fear new preset brushes. About image based brushes, I am tired to use my imagination trying to find a smart name for what is in most of case a random shape. Anyway it is needed to give a name if I want to be able to find where this damn brush is. A good solution should be what we can see in file manager or image manager with floating preview of the dab using 256x256 pixels.

[b]-Second issue is about too many settings with some brushes![/b]
I am one of these guys who like multiple choices, multiple settings, but with Painter it became too extreme. If you take the latest real bristle you can move 3 sliders and nothing will change or just 2 or 3 pixels will be a little different for the same brush stroke. In fact you need to move a 4th slider to see that the change happen when this last one is at special position

And when you know real bristle are controlled by all real bristle sliders but also by artist’s oil sliders, you finally have something like 10 sliders or more for just the bristle brushes, that’s crazy ! So I would like to see a change when I am moving a slider, even if there is a good explanation why the change actually are imperceptible, I would like same system with less sliders.

There is also the brush tracking panel, everyone seems to love this thing, I hate it. In PaintTool SAI there is a little slider which allows setting the pressure per tool, and finally, I have a better control over pressure with SAI than with Painter with this big panel

and it is also accessible in an easier way. Anyway everyone else seems to have no problem with this feature so why not

but I am sure everyone here would be agree that no one uses the same pressure control with oil brush and pencil. So a control per tool is needed, or maybe something close than this idea because there are now too many settings per brush.
To be able to use multiple pressure inside Painter, I am using multiple stylus. This system works pretty good and I have access to Wacom tool ID which allows Painter to keep in memory the tool and color set to main tip and also to eraser tip ([resumed in this table](http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p76/hecartha/Concepts%20and%20Ideas%20about%20Software/Pen_Info_Stored_Memory_Before.png) and the [requested one here](http://i125.photobucket.com/albums/p76/hecartha/Concepts%20and%20Ideas%20about%20Software/Pen_Info_Stored_Memory_Expected.png)). So this system allows to have per pen two tools and two colors registered. In practice you can use one grip pen with the main tip set to a black pencil and a smooth eraser set to the other tip and you can use the second pen to set a blue watercolor brush with a watercolor eraser, so two tools with different eraser per tool. This system is possible actually using two physical stylus but it could be easily made using virtual stylus. Imagine you have 4 boxes as 4 virtual stylus. You could set the brush tracking per box like this
(it is one of the image sent to Painter team last year)
So you could use one box for a pencil, one other for a brush, a marker or anything you like. And you could create predefined combined tools like black pencil+soft eraser, smeary wet sponge+an eraser sponge and so on...

I can add also a better system to capture dab type and…but I wrote too many things here.

I am happy Simon Dominic has joined the discussion because he is one of us who is trying something else and I have lot of pleasure reading his opinion at conceptart.org about ArtRage. I have the same opinion about PaintTool SAI considering my needs than him who is using ArtRage.


About your first issue with Painter, Custom Palettes take care of that, I imagine the point is to load an empty file, try every single brush and move the ones you like to the custom palette. I agree that there are way too many brushes, totally unecessary too, why put the same brush in different sizes: 10px, 20px, 30px? Pointless.
Most brushes are also nothing more than brush engines showcase and impractical in real use, what Corel should do is a new category in which it would include the very best of each brush category, basically you would have a few good watercolor brushes, a watercolor eraser, a pencil, an ink pen, oils, airbrush, etc… This is a complain I often hear that there’s way too many brushes and it’s hard to track down a brush you want for a given task.

Good luck trying to explain it to Corel, I gave up on them after Painter 9.5, a developer that doesn’t listen to the userbase is shooting their own feet, specially in this day and age with the internet, it’s essential, I guess Corel’s just trying to get rid of Painter.


I’m making this thread a sticky, since it’s one of the most thoughtful and informative threads we’re had around here in a while. I’m also hoping the Corel team will read this thread and really take it to heart–that Painter needs to improve and progress in order to remain relevant in the years to come, as smaller forward-thinking developers are coming up with intuitive and useful tools that artists really need, and some have superior approaches to how transparency and opacity is handled–in ways that are actually helpful towards an artist’s workflow instead of limiting it. That ruler in Manga Studio is also a real eye-opener as well. Even my other thread about the blur brush in Sai and Open Canvas–that’s another thing I wish Painter had. And those vector/spline-based inking tools–so flexible and fluid. I wonder if it’s even possible for Corel to implement their version of all these awesome tools into Painter.


Hecartha, your bringing up a lot of issues I have known about with Painter, but have sub consiously gone, ‘meh, won’t try that again then’ you know?

Theres a fine line between wanting great functionality and balanced features and wanting an ‘all-in-one’ package, which is unrealistic by any stretch.

Sure, in a perfect world there would be a package that takes Painters robust brush system, Photoshop and SAI’s Transparency and opacity functionalities, and Manga Studios rulers, among other things, but realistically it’s a far fetched idea to even hint at wanting that from a developer, as each developer has an individual goal, and idealogy, that may not necessarily reside around creating traditional based tools, or by creating digital tools, this is another thing, as consumers, that we must come to accept, it’s a pain in the ass, but that’s life! :slight_smile:

I feel like I’m repeating myself a little bit here, so will finish by thanking Lunatique for stickying it, hopefully this’ll give Corel the boot in the ass they need to turn around Painter before it falls into an abyss of failed software.



Good call. On another forum someone asked, How come there’s so much talk of other software products in a Painter forum? I think Corel needs to ask themselves the same question.


Sorry, I meant there is an issue when we are looking for a new brush. So even if we have a custom palette, we need to try again all of them (in fact, as I know about the engine, I don’t waste my time trying preset brush, I just create the one I want…but if you don’t know the brush engine you will be lost as I was before)

I don’t know if this kind of thread can change their mind about painter, but I know trying to describe precisely an issue will not help so much. Now, if we could share knowledge about software limitation or feature using just video comparison which seems to be the simplest way to communicate with others, lot of people could know about that and they could ask to Corel also, “why your program is not able to do what this cheap other program can do?”…just trying something else as a request list doesn’t help~

Now I am not expecting finding everything in one package. The issue with opacity and transparency is also the reason why we have this gel layer, because they seems to be unable to integrate the effect inside the brush, so they use a cheap method changing the layer composite method which limits more the use of layer.

I know, I am finishing finding my workflow using SAI and I am feeling so good now. I will use Painter for last step when it will be needed (really few time)

It was mostly a christmas wish list showing there are many area where Painter needs to be enhanced before adding more and more…brush?.
But about ruler do you really think it is just a dream to see one day a simple straight line ruler and radial line ruler in a drawing/painting program (not necessarily Painter)? It is not like if it was complicated.

The consumers who don’t accept that buy something else and when too many consumers go away, developers think about changing things…if it is not late anyway


But about ruler do you really think it is just a dream to see one day a simple straight line ruler and radial line ruler in a drawing/painting program (not necessarily Painter)? It is not like if it was complicated.

It’s not a dream, what I was trying to say was, that if the developers don’t see their software benefiting significantly from a new straight ruler or whatever, then at the end of the day they just won’t implement it, we can’t do a whole lot about that.

The consumers who don’t accept that buy something else and when too many consumers go away, developers think about changing things…if it is not late anyway

That’s true, and Painter seems to have more hindering features then benefiting ones as of late, so I hope Corel comes to realise the damage they are doing before it is too late, because if they keep trying to please hobbyists with their photo-painting systems, then the Professional artists who are there for the long haul will leave, simple as that, and that’s something they can’t afford to lose.


Drawing aids in digital programs have been tremendously neglected, Manga Studio has a great ruler engine but if you don’t do comics it’s hard to include the program in your setup.


ok Luke, I am still thinking we have a little power about forcing them to change their priority :slight_smile:

Yeah, and it should be a priority with a great brush engine

ooh, and I need to post with all the other videos the one describing this old never fixed bug


This is a very nice thread indeed. Customer support seems to be lacking with Corel these days.

Also in regards to Sai, I think another issue is cross compatibility. Simple programs like this are made and windows users are definitely getting the benefit but Mac users are left out.

Thanks for pointing out the rulers in Manga Studio, I was pointed to it for its inking capabilities but those rulers are amazing. I’ve also become more of a fan of ArtRage now as they have a good community and better support. I agree the oils are really nice. If it weren’t for a certain Imagine FX article I would have never known how well it is for such a low cost.

You can also turn off what brushes you don’t need and save it as a workspace in Painter. That’s one thing I like in Painter because I can switch workspaces as needed. The problem is now though, this is a slow process. I don’t know if you’ve tried it, but it will lag and you think it’s done and it should have something simple like “Switching Workspaces …please wait” instead of thinking it acted up. In addition…stability issues again.

I’m also really disappointed with the treatment of Corel Sketchpad. Not only is it expensive, but if you got it as part of the package with the intuos4 and tried the download previously, there still isn’t a working solution (for windows users, you can’t instal the program because it’s detecting the trial install). Wacom and Corel are both pointing fingers at each other, and the customer is left in the middle.

I think Baron can tell you how frustrated I am when I’m at the Painter Factory forums awaiting a response from Corel. It’s like you’re told to go there as a customer, receive no service and people who don’t understand the issue and its seriousness if you got a deadline to make.

I also asked if Corel would make a side app so you can browse your various paper and pattern libraries. It’s sometimes a pain to have to keep swapping library groups just to find a paper that’s stuck in one. Your collection can get quite large so trying to find where you stuck your “Silk paper” can get to become more of a task so a side app to just browse them would be a great help.


I think Baron can tell you how frustrated I am when I’m at the Painter Factory forums awaiting a response from Corel. It’s like you’re told to go there as a customer, receive no service and people who don’t understand the issue and its seriousness if you got a deadline to make.

I think the whole idea of redirecting customers to an independent forum for support on their own product is a joke in itself… it’s laughable, Corel’s business tactics and customer support, or there lack of, is severely outdated and primitive, especially when a vast majority of users have the internet, making customer support easier than ever, yet they seem to fail so badly at it.

I’m also really disappointed with the treatment of Corel Sketchpad. Not only is it expensive, but if you got it as part of the package with the intuos4 and tried the download previously, there still isn’t a working solution (for windows users, you can’t instal the program because it’s detecting the trial install). Wacom and Corel are both pointing fingers at each other, and the customer is left in the middle.

Sketchpad is a joke, Corel have just tried to cash in on an increasingly popular sketching software trend (if you will) with the likes of Sketchbook Pro and Art Rage increasing in popularity.

In comparison with the aforementioned packages, Sketchpad is slow, heavy and for a ‘hey get your ideas out quick!’ idealogy completely unusable because it is so laggy. Although, the GUI is quite attractive, shame P11 didn’t have such an attractive one, could have balanced out with the shit they did wrong.

But yeah, Sketchpad just doesn’t offer the same streamlined and simplistic approach to sketching while programs like Art Rage and Sketchbook Pro do.


You mostly hide it pretty well by my standards :wink: but yeah, I see it and share it.

It’s a liberty to fail to offer a key service and shunt support responsibility onto the very users who are experiencing the problems. There’s a thread going on at Painter Factory (as most will know) where people are spending literally days of their time trying to figure out a major bug that stops Painter from loading. And Corel’s input? Nothing whatsoever. And that’s one thread from many.

Corel either don’t realise or don’t care what’s happening to their user-base. I doubt there was anyone as pro-Painter as I was but the fiasco with P11 made me realise that Painter as a product was not bullet-proof and that relying on it - especially for a career - was no longer viable.

This was quite scary because at the time I didn’t know of anything that could replace Painter. Of course, now I do, but I know some people still need Painter and it’s sad to see them receiving no support from Corel. I think the situation is so grave that if Corel release P12 to the same shoddy standards as P11 then that will be the end of Painter. And if the bugs aren’t sorted in 11 then 12 will need to be a rewrite.

When I type something like that I’m always tempted to list the bugs and enhancements that Corel need to address in order to sort this out, otherwise it appears I’m just finding fault without making suggestions. Then I remind myself, what’s the point? I’ve posted them for years and not one has been implemented or specifically acknowledged.


I don’t mind them using the forum for support, but if you’re going to direct us to it. USE IT. Don’t tell us it’s the best place for support and feedback and let tumbleweeds ravage the posts.

Baron, indeed, like I said if it weren’t for that ImagineFX dvd tutorial and even your posts in CA’s Painter 11 thread, I wouldn’t have thought much of Art rage as it seemed too limited at first. Sai Paint is part of my arsenal still giving Manga Studio a few attempts here and there, and Open Canvas has been something I’ve used for a while for sketching things out. I do have Sketchbook though.

Also if you’re looking for the patch online: http://www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite/us/en/Content/1153321224268?pid=1234450613802


added this video in this post about opacity bug on layer in any Painter version since at least version 6 to current version 11.0.017

Another example of limitation using transparency and layers…

First, nice to see you here because I forgot mentioning again SAI is Windows only. (and sorry for the late reply)

Few words about cross compatibility. My opinion about that is, it is more important the program is able to save a cross compatible file than the program is able to run on only one OS. Mac users (MacIntel) are not left out, MacOS users are.
In a workflow using Photoshop (MacOS workstation) and SAI (Windows workstation), as SAI uses the same powerful layer system than Photoshop (layer mask, clipping mask, groups and composite methods), when you will open your file in SAI or in Photoshop, your file will remain the same. So you don’t need to stop using features available in Photoshop because of limitation inside the program as it is the case using Painter (no clipping mask) or ArtRage (no layer mask, no group, no clipping mask). That’s especially true for people who are using Painter as blending program.

Thanks for the feedback, I just tested enough to see it is a slow process as you said.
Adding more complexity (so more nice stuff to accomplish what we need) must be balanced by an easy way to deal with this complexity and advanced file managers have done a pretty good job in managing many files using flat view (merge temporary all the brushes categories to only one) and real time filter based on tag name.