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Old 06-19-2006, 05:34 PM
pixlart's Avatar
pixlart pixlart is offline
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Layers 2: Anatomy of the Layers Palette in Corel Painter

Layers 2: Anatomy of the Layers Palette in Corel® Painter™

The first installment in this series, Comparing Adobe Photoshop & Corel Painter Layer Palettes, used Photoshop's Layers feature as a comparative tool for detailing Painter's own Layers palette. This installment will focus on the anatomy of Painter's Layers, providing you with an explanation of its various features. Like the first installment of this series, this article serves as basic foundational information to provide the groundwork for the installments to follow. If you are a seasoned Painter veteran, you may find this installment fairly basic. However, I see so many basic questions asked regarding layers that I thought it would be useful to really pick this subject apart with a fine-toothed comb!

Layers Palette Components

The Palette Bar

No, this isn't a drinking establishment frequented by artists. The Palette Bar is common to all of Painter's palettes and provides an anchor for the palette it is associated with. The palette disclosure triangle, located at the left side of the Palette Bar, toggles the palette to its expanded and collapsed states by clicking on it. On the right side of the Palette Bar, you'll find the Close Box and Layers Palette menu arrow.

The Layers Palette Menu

The Layers Palette Menu is accessed by clicking on the palette's menu arrow. This menu contains a host of useful palette-specific commands (many of which are duplicated elsewhere), from creating a new layer to converting text to vector shapes.

The New Layer, New Watercolor Layer, and New Liquid Ink Layer commands create a new layer of the designated type. These layer types can also be created via icons at the bottom of the Layers palette.

The Thumbnail commands (None, Small, Medium, Large) control the size of the Layers palette preview thumbnails.

The Group commands (Group, Ungroup, Collapse) are used to organize multiple layers. It is common to have several layers associate with one pictorial element within an image. Grouping these layers enables the entire set to be temporarily treated as a single object. The Group can be opened and a specific layer adjusted when necessary. The Collapse command flattens all layers in a Group to a single layer entry.

The Select All Layers/Deselect commands provide a quick way to select all of the current layers, as well as deselect any currently selected layers. Note that the Layer Adjuster Tool has the option to Auto-Select layers (Layer Adjuster Property Bar). With this option enabled, you can click and drag from one corner of a layer-bearing image to the opposite corner and select all layers. The Lock/Unlock command is used to prevent a layer from being inadvertently modified (moved, painted on, etc.).

The Drop commands(Drop, Drop All, Drop and Select) flatten selected layers to the Canvas.

Photoshop users: Note that there is no equivalent to the Merge command. In order to merge multiple layers, they must first be grouped, then collapsed.

The Delete Layer command removes a layer—never to be seen again.

The Show/Hide Layer Indicators command provides a visual cue (4 rectangular brackets representing the corners of the the visible pixel area of the selected layer) of the currently selected layer.

The Layer Attributes command displays the Layer Attributes dialog. This dialog is use to rename a layer. The Position numeric input field, Top and Left, are used to determine and adjust the position of a layer. The WWW Map Clickable Region checkbox and its associated Region radio buttons are used in conjunction with the Image Slicer Dynamic Plugin. These commands are used to export a set of image elements and reassembled as an HTML table. The Note text box, when used in conjunction with the Image Slicer, stores a URL associated with an Image Slicer element. In all other cases, the Note text box can be used to save information about a layer.

The Options command would be more appropriately named the Liquid Ink Layer Options command as it is solely used to display a Liquid Ink layer's Attributes dialog. This dialog can also be quickly accessed by double-clicking on a Liquid Ink layer entry in the Layers palette.

The Convert to Default Layer command is used to rasterize some of special layer types (Text, Shapes, Dynamic Plugins), converting them to strictly pixel-based layers. This conversion discards any unique information (vector data), so use it with caution.

The Revert to Original command is used to restore layers that have been acted upon by some of the Dynamic Plugin layers (Burn, Tear, Bevel World). Unfortunately, this command appears to be broken in Painter IX.5 (at least on the Mac). To work around this, use the Off checkbox found in the respective Dynamic Plugin dialog, then apply the Convert to Default Layer command to the layer.

The Watercolor Layer commands (Lift Canvas, Wet Entire Layer, Dry) are used in conjunction with layers created via the New Watercolor Layer command (a new Watercolor layer is also automatically created when a Watercolor Category brush is initially applied to an image). The Watercolor layer provides a physical modeling simulation of the medium of watercolor.

The Lift Canvas to Watercolor Layer command is used to promote imagery on the Canvas to a new Watercolor Layer. This is especially useful for interaction of the Watercolor brushes to a photograph or artwork created with non-Watercolor brushes. The Wet Entire Watercolor Layer command applies the current Water palette settings (Brush Controls > Water) to a selected Watercolor layer. The Dry Watercolor Layer command converts the selected Watercolor layer to a Default pixel layer, discarding the watercolor physical modeling data.

The Digital Watercolor commands (Dry, Diffuse) are used in conjunction with the Digital Watercolor category brushes and should not be confused with the Watercolor category brushes used with the Watercolor layer.

The Digital Watercolor brushes provide a simplified watercolor appearance, foregoing the complexities of the Watercolor layer. Digital Watercolor brushes are applied to a default layer; however the Digital Watercolor-applied layer does then contain special wet data that enable the interaction of additional Digital Watercolor brushwork—even when the image has been saved. The Dry Digital Watercolor command discards the wet data and converts the layer's imagery to a default pixel-based layer. The Diffuse Digital Watercolor command applies the current Diffusion amount (Digital Watercolor Brushes > Brush Property Bar) to the currently selected Digital Watercolor imagery. The command can be used repeatedly to increase the diffusion.

The Convert Text to Shapes command transforms Text layer data to a vector-based Shapes layer. This is particularly useful for customizing font characters utilizing the Shape Selection Tools (Tool Palette) to move/add/delete selected vector points.

The Layers Contextual Menu

The Layers Contextual Menu is accessed via the right mouse button (CTRL + Click on a one-button mouse) when the cursor is positioned over an entry in the Layer palette. The Layer Attributes palette can alternately be accessed via this menu. The Duplicate command creates a copy of the selected layer. The Delete command removes the currently selected layer(s). The Commit command—like the Convert to Default Layer command—rasterizes a layer type containing special data. The Revert to Original command—as mentioned above—is broken in Painter IX.5 (see above for the workaround). The Select Layer Transparency command loads a selection based on the selected layer's transparency mask. This is useful for duplicating a layer element while retaining its transparency data.

And This Just Covers the Palette Bar!

I though I was going to fully describe the Layer palette in one installment, but it literally is like peeling the layers of an onion! In the next installment, I'll finish the Layer Palette anatomy lesson and cover Painter's layer types.

Viva la Painter!

John Derry
Corel Painter Ambassador-at-Large.
Email your Painter suggestions to the Painter Team at Corel!
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Old 06-20-2006, 12:27 PM
pixlart's Avatar
pixlart pixlart is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 110
Re: Layers 2: Anatomy of the Layers Palette in Corel Painter

By the way, a while back, someone posted a link to get in touch with Painter's design team to provide suggestions. Do you have it? I want PNG support!

Hi Skinny:

You can email Painter suggestions to Steve Szoczei (pronounced "sue-see"), Painter's User Experience Designer.

Another useful email suggestion for future versions of Painter is the entire Painter Team at Corel. They all recieve—and read—these emails.

There is no guarantee that every suggestion will be implemented, but your voice won't be heard if you don't offer suggestions!

Viva la Painter!
John Derry
Corel Painter Ambassador-at-Large.
Email your Painter suggestions to the Painter Team at Corel!

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