Tips and Tutorials

Pink Layer Icons, Why they're Pink, and
Black and White Line Art

Written for Corel Painter IX.5 and Some Earlier Versions
by Jinny Brown

This short tutorial is an expanded version of a response I wrote to someone who was working with Layers and black line art on the Canvas. He was puzzled about some things I tried to answer and since I guessed he planned to color his line art, I gave him a more efficient way to prepare it for coloring. I hope you'll find this helpful information for a number of projects in addition to what this artist was doing.

Have you ever wondered why your Layer icons are pink instead of the usual grey? Here are some possible reasons and a little more about Layers with pink icons:

You may have painted on those Layers with a brush variant that uses Method: Buildup or you may have painted on those Layers using Digital Watercolor.

In addition to brush variants
like Felt Pens' that use Method: Buildup, both Digital Watercolor and Watercolor automatically set the Layer to Composite Method Gel. This is necessary for the intended transparent look of watercolor. If we change a Watercolor Layer or Layer with Digital Watercolor painting on it back to Composite Method Default, we'll sometimes see white edges around the brush strokes wherever those brush strokes pass over underlying color or black (white edges won't show, of course, above white).

Then have you ever opened a black and white line work image, created Layers with pink icons (in Composite Method Gel) and painted on them, and it appeared your brush strokes on the Layers were going underneath the black lines on the Canvas?

Your colored brush strokes on those Layers weren't going under the black lines on the Canvas. They just appeared that way. When a Layer is set to Composite Method Gel, it makes any color painted on that Layer transparent. Over black, colored brush strokes appear to be black.


Paint using another color on the Canvas (not black), for instance light pink, then on a Layer set to Composite Method Gel,
paint a light blue stroke crossing over the pink stroke. The result is, where the light blue brush stroke passes over light pink on the Canvas, that area becomes light purple.

Take a look at this example: Pink painted on the Canvas, blue on a Layer set to Composite Method Gel. Where the two brush strokes cross, I used the Dropper tool to pick that color. Then I painted to the right of the pink and blue brush strokes. Now we see clearly the new color is light purple:

Coloring Black and White Line Art

If you're going to be coloring black line work on a white background, and it's on the Canvas, one easy way to work is to lift the Canvas to a Layer. To do that:

1. Highlight Canvas in the Layers palette.

2. Use Select > All, or Ctrl+A (Windows) Command+A (Mac), to select the entire Canvas.

3. Click the D key to activate the Layer Adjuster tool, then click inside the selection to lift the black and white line work from the Canvas to a Layer.

4. In the Layers palette, if there are any other Layers, click and drag the black line work Layer to the top of the Layers list.

5. A
t the top left corner of the Layers palette, choose Gel from the Composite Method drop down list.

Now the black line work Layer's white background is transparent and you can really paint under your black line work either on the Canvas or on underlying Layers, without disturbing the black line work.

© 2007, Jinny Brown

December 10, 2006
last modified January 17, 2007