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This software will be a welcome addition for anyone who wants take their photographs to a new level.

Book Review: Painter X for Photographers by Martin Addison

Corel Painter X is the latest release of Corel's advanced digital art studio software. Painter X for Photographers is a book that is uniquely written specifically for photographers. This book is aimed at those who are new to digital imaging as well as those who are familiar with Painter X and it is most specifically geared to photographers of all types.

While other books focus on Painter from an artist's point of view, Painter X 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 within the realm of photography.

But why use Painter? Well, although photography is about documenting reality, sometimes the interpretation of reality through the choice of lenses, viewpoint, and composition, is just not enough. Corel Painter can take your photo to another dimension altogether. Painter X for Photographers is just under 330 pages in length and breaks out into 15 chapters.

Chapter 1, "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 around the workspace. The second part contains information to help you customize the program for more efficient workflow. Chapter 2, "First Steps in Cloning," describes just what cloning is. Since a major part of this book deals with cloning, it takes on some different meanings than what it means in a program like Photoshop — this is something very important to understand.

Chapter 3, "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 4, "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 purposes.

Chapter 5, "Exploring Paper Textures," explores the library of paper textures that are available to you. It is one of the many reasons why Painter is so attractive to many photographers. Chapter 6, "Applying Surface Texture," takes the previous chapter a step further and now explains the use of surface textures to a photograph.

Chapter 7, "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: an introduction, the use of layers as part of the cloning process, an example of a montage, and making montages from several different photographs. Chapter 8, "Watercolor, Oil and Pastel," describes how to make watercolor, oil, and pastel images using the clone techniques learned earlier. Chapter 9, "Mosaics and Other Clones" continues the step-by-step techniques to make mosaic clones.

Chapter 10, "Hand Coloring and Toning," explores the techniques for making hand colored images, as well as how to manipulate the tone of a photo. Chapter 11, "Children and Young People," discusses the use of some of the brushes in the Blenders category, Pastel and Chalk, and Oils brushes for creating painterly pictures of children. Chapter 12, "Portraits," shows various methods of making portraits of adults using a wide variety of techniques.

Chapter 13, "Special Effects," within Painter comes in many forms, and by the use of them you will find ways to make your photographs look very unique. Chapter 14, "Printing and Presentation," first explores the technical aspects of printing such as choosing the appropriate file size and other workflow operations. Then you will learn techniques for presentations by using artistic edges, making vignettes, and other tricks for making your picture more appealing. Chapter 15, "Paper Libraries" finishes up by describing all of the different paper libraries available.

Painter X for Photographers is really a top quality book for digital photographers who want to learn and understand how to use Painter X within the realm of their digital 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.

If you are familiar with one of the popular image editing programs like Photoshop, then you will find yourself ahead of the curve. Painter X for Photographers will make a welcome addition to anyone who wants take their photographs to a new level.

One thing to note is that there have been some problems getting the DVD to play on Mac computers, but the author has posted a couple techniques for getting them to work correctly

About T. Michael Testi

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

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