Thursday, November 20, 2014

What is Clone Painting?

I have been a long time fan of Corel products. Corel Draw is still my go to graphics program and I use AfterShot Pro all the time now. I also have Corel Painter Essential 4 (it was bundled with my Wacom portable bamboo tablet) and Painter Lite (it was bundled with AfterShot pro). These latter two programs allow you to paint on layers over any photo and do some sampling from the image (such a colour and tone). Unlike other "artistic" filters that algorithmicly change the whole image, these works at the stroke level and the type of stroke you make leaves an authentic mark for the media and brush or pen you have selected. Well Corel have just release Painter Essentials 5, which is clearly aimed at the "art enthusiasts and emerging photo artists who want to go beyond ordinary and turn everyday inspiration into wildly impressive art". There is an autopaint setting (which can try its best to make marks suiting the media you choose). However this is really a fantastic product for anyone that wants to be creative and show their own originality (Specifically haven't already invested a lot of time and money learning the fancier side of Photoshop.)


So what is clone painting? other than a term invented by corel! It is the process of "painting" on a new layer (or layers) by sampling the underlying photo. pretty well any package that has a clone stamp and layers capabililty can do it (eg photoshop, gimp and even paint.net). At the simplest level you could say trace over the edges in your photo with a pencil (the analogy outlines on a sheet of tracing paper is good for this process). The you might change to a watercolour style brush and by again sampling the colour and tone from the photo below start to paint in the image (in a process somewhat like colouring in). Using a mouse to do this is possible but having a pen and tablet makes this all very natural and brings a lot of hand drawn authenticity into the resulting image.. The Corel Painter Series products have taken this to a high degree of sophistication by allowing automatically sampling the point under the brush at any time. Other packages may require that you dip your brush (or an eye dropper) into the photos to get the colour you want each time you need to change. Using a soft edge cloning tools some of the brush strokes may even copy the image below to the width of the brush being used and with a little feathering at the edge.

My own attempt at clone painiting, showing the layers
Clone Painted Self Portrait (via Corel Painter Lite)
Whilst some purist artists may look down on this process, there are very many younger artists that are running with this technique and producing beautiful and original work, Often they identify under the grouping digital artists (on a whole different level to those posting those "no longer zany" instagram filters).

Vive la différence !
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