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Book Review: The Painter WOW! Book (Tenth Edition) by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis

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The Painter WOW! Book , now in its tenth edition, is a definitive title in bridging the worlds between conventional painting tools and techniques with their electronic counterparts through the use of Corel Painter 12. It blends part color theory, art history and conventional media and will show you how to translate this in to the use of Painters tools.

The goal of this book is to address the needs of those professionals who are making the transition from traditional to digital media, those who are just taking on digital painting, photographers looking to expand their visual vocabulary, and graphic artists looking for new special effects abilities. The Painter WOW! Book is 424 pages in length and is contained in 11 chapters.

Chapter 1, “Getting to Know Painter,” starts off by looking at the requirements for working with Painter under both the Mac and Windows platforms. It then goes into customizing workspaces, setting preferences, and organizing libraries.

Chapter 2, “The Power of Color,” looks at getting the most out of the ‘fruit of light’ by introducing concepts of hue, saturation, and value. You then look at adding color and graduations to line art, coloring a wood cut, and more.

Chapter 3, “Painting with Brushes,” examines the fact that brushes are the program’s heart and what sets painter apart is the way it puts pen to paper and paint to canvas. Here you will get started with painting, learn to emulate traditional techniques, sketch with pencils, work with hard media, and many more basic techniques.

Chapter 4, “Building Brushes,” is not a necessity because Painter ships with plenty its own and there are even more on the WOW CD-ROM that is include with this book, but if you think you might like to create your own, then this is the chapter to learn everything you need to create your own brushes.

Chapter 5, “Selections, Shapes, and Masks,” examines how the program isolates portions of images so that you can paint them, apply special effects, or otherwise change them without affecting the rest of the image.

Chapter 6, “Using Layers,” shows that these are elements that hover above Painters image Canvas, or base layer. This provides you with a lot of flexibility in composing artwork. There are a number of different types of layers that Painter incorporates and in this chapter you will learn how to use these layers.

Chapter 7, “Enhancing Photos, Montage, and Collage,” looks at the fact that while it began as a painting program, it has since grown into a powerful image processor program that can work for many different disciplines including photography, creating montage’s, and much, much more.

Chapter 8, “Exploring Special Effects,” opens a lot of possibilities since they are so numerous and wide ranging that this topic itself could take up an entire book. This chapter looks at the five most used ‘mini-programs’ within Painter – Apply Surface Texture, Apply Lighting, Patterns, Glass Distortion, and Mosaics.

Chapter 9, “Using Painter with Photoshop,” is easy since you can move files back and forth between the two. Here you will delve into examples of how others have used Photoshop to Painter as well as the other way around. Here you will look at techniques of compositing, Illustrating, and more.

Chapter 10, “Animation and Film with Painter,” is another area that is useful for animators, film artists, designers, and 3D artists. What you will find here is that although Painter is not film compositing program, it does work well with making comps to preview motion. Here you will see how to work with scripts, animate with frame stacks, and make an animated comp.

Chapter 11, “Printing Options,” looks at how to present your Painter created artwork to the world. Here you will look at options like commercial printing, fine art printing at a service bureau or in a studio, as well as other imaging options.

The Painter WOW! Book does cover the latest version – 12, of Corel Painter, and the coverage is really fantastic. The book is fully illustrated and is very well written and easy to understand. Because Painter has so much power, there is a lot of information that is covered in this book.

The Painter WOW! Book is really for all levels of users to Painter whether you are beginner, novice, or expert, there are things that you will take away from this book. This is the kind of book that will remain by your computer for years as a highly revered reference book. If you use Corel Painter and you want to become better at using it then I very highly recommend this book.

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About T. Michael Testi

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