The Color Palettes in Corel Painter
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    The Color Palettes in Corel Painter

    The Color Palettes in Corel® Painter™

    Color is a crucial element in the visual vocabulary of the artist. Color expresses emotion. It is paramount that an artist be able to precisely control the color used in an expressive artwork. Corel Painter, as an application that mimics traditional artists' tools, provides the user with multiple methods for accessing and controlling color. This installment describes how to control color in Painter.


    The Color Palette: Hue Ring and Saturation Value Triangle

    The Color Palette is Painter's primary tool for visual selection of color. This palette uses a combination of a hue and saturation/value to visually dial in a desired color. The Standard Color palette is comprised of a Saturation/Value Triangle encircled by the Hue Ring. Each component utilizes the Color Indicator—a small movable circle—to indicate the desired hue and saturation/value. The Small Color palette (accessed via the Color Palette fly-out menu) alternatively represents the spectrum as a vertical color-graduated rectangle. A color indicator is used to select the desired hue.

    The Hue Ring visualizes the color continuum making up the spectrum. As the hue indicator is moved along the Hue Ring, the Saturation/Value triangle updates. The triangle's right corner represents the current full-saturation hue selected on the ring. The upper left corner is White; the lower left corner is Black. Within the resulting 3-point gradation, any tint or value of the selected hue can be visually selected. Once a desired tint/shade is dialed in, it can be further refined via adjustment of the Hue Ring.

    The gradation on the left face of the Saturation/Value triangle is a grayscale graduation between Black and White. By positioning the color indicator along the left face and sliding it up and down, any value of gray is easily accessed. The triangle's upper face is the Tint axis; sliding the indicator along this axis selects tints of the current hue. The triangle's lower face is the Shade axis; sliding the indicator along this axis selects shades of the current hue. All intermediate value/saturation combinations reside within the the interior of the triangle. As a unit, this interface provides an excellent visual color selection tool.


    The Color Palette: Additional Controls

    Painter utilizes the concept of Main and Additional color squares. This differs from Photoshop, which uses a Foreground/Background color square combo. Photoshop uses the Background color to indicate the canvas color; the Eraser will reveal this color when used. Painter instead allows the user to select a Background color when a document is created. This color is then saved as a part of the document. The Background color can be changed at any time via the Canvas: Set Paper Color command.

    Painter's Additional color is used for defining multicolor brush strokes, two-point gradients, and Image Hose effects. A Color Swap button (keyboard shortcut: Shift + X) is used to toggle the Main and Additional colors as needed. This is particularly useful for masking work, in which black and white are used to add/subtract mask elements.

    The component color Values Display provides a numeric reference for the currently selected color. Clicking on this display toggles the color values between RGB and HSV.

    The Clone Color Button (rubber stamp icon) toggles between the Current Color (Main Color Square) and the current Clone Source. I often refer to this button as a major fulcrum point within Painter. It is this control that can change any current brush into a cloner. Note that not all brushes make useful cloners, but Painter will respect the status of the Clone Color button and use whatever clone source is currently selected. When Clone Color is enabled, the Hue Ring and Saturation/Value Triangle are disabled and grayed-out.


    The Color Info Palette

    The Color Info palette is useful for making precise color adjustments. The color components can be set to either RGB or HSV. Each value can be numerically entered.


    The Color Variability Palette

    Color Variability is used to impart additional colors into a brush stroke. The effect of Color Variability on a stroke varies depending on a brush's Dab Type. The HSV and RGB options provide color component sliders to impart additional color to applied strokes. As a slider value is increased, the selected color component will be progressively randomized. For example, the HSV Hue slider will progressively impart more colors into a stroke as the slider value is increased. The effect of color variability is visualized in the Main Color Square as a dithering of the varied colors specified by the Color Variability sliders. Optional variable color sources include the Current Gradation or Color Set.


    Color Your World

    Depending on your needs, one of these color palettes will almost certainly suit your needs. Go ahead, be colorful and take advantage of these Painter palettes!



    Viva la Painter!

    John Derry
    -----------------------------------------------------------
    Pixels—It's all in how you arrange them!
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    Great info John. Painter's color wheel is nothing short of perfection. It crushes any other method for choosing color.

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