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Book Review: Painter 11 for Photographers by Martin Addison

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Are you a photographer who has wanted to do more with your images? One of the hotter new trends is to take a photo and enhance it using painting techniques. While you can do painting with other products, Corel Painter is hands down standard for creating painted images using photographs.

Painter 11 for Photographers is a book that is uniquely written specifically for photographers. If you are a professional photographer, then you can use these techniques to turn a standard portrait into premium product. If you are a serious amateur, then you can work to make fine art works. For the casual photographer, you can turn family snapshots into painterly images for hanging on the wall.

While other books focus on Painter from an artist’s point of view, Painter 11 for Photographers is the only one to focus on the photographic aspect. The purpose of the book is to give a sound knowledge of the tools which painter provides and of the techniques needed to use them.

Photography is about documenting reality. Like using different lenses and filters, using Painter, gives you more options to capture your reality. Painter 11 for Photographers is 352 pages in length and breaks out into 12 chapters.

Chapter One, “Getting Started in Painter,” is really divided into two parts. The first is for total beginners and contains simple exercises to guide the user in identifying key areas in the workspace. The second part contains information to help you customize the program for more efficient work flow. Chapter Two, “First Steps in Cloning,” describes just what cloning is. Since a major part of this book deals with cloning, the term takes on some different meanings than it does in a program like Photoshop. This is something very important to understand.

Chapter Three, “Choosing Brushes,” is at the very heart of the Painter program and, with the sheer number of brushes available, choosing the right brush can be important. Each category has two pages devoted to what they are, how they can be used, and some examples. Chapter Four, “Customizing Brushes,” shows that even with the wide variety of brushes available, you sometimes still need to be able to customize a brush for your own needs.

Chapter Five, “Paper Textures,” explores the library of paper textures that are available. This is one of the many reasons why Painter is so attractive to many photographers. Here you will look at types of textures as well as how to alter their properties. Chapter Six, “Layers and Montage,” examines how the use of layers are both similar, yet different, than other image editing programs. This chapter is divided into four sections; a reference section, an example of a montage, the use of layers part of the cloning process, and making montages from several different photographs.

Chapter Seven, “Using Color,” examines using the color from the original photograph, as well as adding or adjusting its color. This includes choosing colors, adjusting tones, and hand coloring. Chapter Eight, “Landscapes,” discusses one of the most popular subjects for artists. This chapter covers the variety of techniques and styles for creating landscapes, including impressionistic, oils, watercolor, pencil, and more.

Chapter Nine, “Children,” looks at the best brushes for creating painterly pictures of children and young people. You will work with blender brushes, making an insert mount, as well as working with oils and pastels. Chapter Ten, “Portraits,” examines some of the same techniques, but now for adult portraits. Again, you will work with oils and pastels, but now add acrylics. You will also get design ideas for portraits.

Chapter Eleven, “Special Effects,” examines the many effects forms within Painter. Here you will look at Woodcut, Apply Screen, Distress, Warp, Sketch, and more. Chapter Twelve, “Printing and Presentation,” is all about output. You begin with a simple work flow for preparing to print. This includes preparing the file size, color management, soft proofing, and edge effects.

Painter 11 for Photographers is really a great book for any kind of digital photographers — even those who use film and can scan their images, and who want to learn and understand how to use Painter 11 within the realm of their photography. It takes you by the hand and shows you how to do some really creative things. It is well written and easy to follow along with.

Included with Painter 11 for Photographers is a DVD that contains over two hours of video tutorial that enhance the techniques described in this book. There are also photographs that are used in the step-by-step instruction that you can follow along with. There are even extended PDF versions of the tutorials that go into more detail than is possible in the book as well as additional information on papers, profiles, and ink systems. If you want to learn how to paint with photo’s then Painter 11 for Photographers is a must have addition to your library.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.