|This tutorial explains some basics
of using Painter 6 Layers, Painter 5/5.5 Floaters and Transparent
Layers, and (using the tutorial linked below) their corresponding Visibility
Masks (also referred to as Masks).
Find a comfortable place (quiet if
possible) and read through this tutorial one time without worrying about
whether or not you understand it or will remember it all.
Open Painter and read it again,
referring to the Painter interface to see where things are (main
Menu items, Palettes, Palette sections, and Palette
section menus referred to in this tutorial) .
After doing both of the above, have
a try at opening a new Canvas and working with Layers (Floaters/Transparent
Layers) on an image used just for the purpose of learning.
Working this way should give you
a good basis for using Layers (Floaters/Transparent Layers)
in an image you care about.
When you finish this tutorial, please
also read and use the tutorial named:
on a Transparent Layer - (Transparent Layer Masks)
A description is found at the end
of this page, along with another link so you don't have to scroll back
up to the top again.
A new Painter user in one
of the Painter Forums recently asked for a step-by-step tutorial
on Floaters and also had a few specific questions. Since my response
covered enough to at least get a new Painter user started, it seemed
useful to refine it a little and publish it here. It doesn't cover everything
so be sure to ask questions when you need to.
It's unlikely that you'll find a
single tutorial that covers everything about Layers (Painter
6) and Floaters/Transparent Layers (Painter 5/5.5) as
there's a lot to know. Reading the Painter 5, 5.5 or 6
User Guide (for Painter 5 and 5.5, if you don't have
a hard copy, you should probably have a PDF file on the CD) and
the Help menu PDF files (Painter 5 Help menu Index) will
give you a tremendous amount of good information. Try to get into the habit
of referring to them. In a fairly short time, you'll begin to know where
to look for specific things and know more of the terminology used to find
them, another thing that just takes time and practice.
Here are some basics based on questions
people have posed in various Painter related gathering places and
general information you need to know:
6 (and Painter 5/5.5)
Any painted areas of your Layers
(Painter 5/5.5 Floaters/Transparent Layers) will prevent you from
seeing what's below them on other Layers and the Canvas (other
5/5.5 Floaters/Transparent Layers and the Canvas). Only the
un-Filled and unpainted areas will be transparent. If your
(Floater) was made using a Selection of the entire Canvas,
the entire Layer (Floater) will be opaque, including the
painted or Filled areas and the remaining
Canvas color. The
is always whatever color you chose when creating the New Canvas,
or whatever color you used to Fill and paint it. If you want to
see what's below your Layer (Floater/Transparent Layer),
in the Objects palette's Layers section list (Floater section
list), highlight the appropriate Layer (Floater/Transparent
Layer) and click its Eye icon to temporarily close it.
There's another important thing to
remember. If your Layer (Floater) was created by painting
on part of the Canvas, using Select/All, then clicking
inside the Selection with the Layer Adjuster tool (Floater
Adjuster tool), the unpainted parts of the Layer (Floater)
will be opaque and whatever color the (former) Canvas was.
If the Canvas was white, there's a way to make the white
areas of the Layer (Floater) transparent (temporarily
or permanently if you choose to leave it that way):
Click the Layer Adjuster tool (Floater Adjuster tool) and,
in the Layer list (Floater list), highlight the appropriate
In the Controls:Adjuster palette (Ctrl/Command+5 to toggle
it open and closed), choose Gel or Multiply from the Composite
Method drop down list. You can change it back by choosing the Composite
Method Default any time you want to as long as the image is
still a RIFF file and therefore contains Painter specific information
such as Layers (Floaters/Transparent Layers), etc.
To see the actual size of your Layer
(Floater/Transparent Layer), in the Layers list (Floater
list), highlight the appropriate Layer (Floater) then
in the Layers menu (Floater menu), choose Show Layer Marquee
(Show Floater Marquee). A black and yellow bounding box is displayed.
To turn it off, choose Hide Layer Marquee (Hide Floater Marquee).
To paint outside of the existing
Layer's painted area, change your Brush Variant's Method to
and the Subcategory to Transparent Layer Brush.
You'll have to change these settings each time you switch to
another Brush Variant.
Using Transparent Layers:
In the Objects palette's Floater
section menu, choose Transparent Layer and paint with the Brush
Variants' Method set to Plugin and the Subcategory set
to Transparent Layer Brush.
the other Subcategory options to paint effects on existing areas painted
with the Transparent Layer Brush.
6 (and Painter 5/5.5)
If you click on the center of a Layer
(Floater/Transparent Layer) and it "turns white", it could
be because the appropriate Layer (Floater/Transparent Layer)
was not highlighted in the Layers (Floaters) list.
In other words, it was not active. Instead, the Canvas was active
and part or all of the Canvas was selected (had "marching ants"
To know when the Canvas is active,
look in the Layers section list (Floaters section list).
If the Canvas is highlighted, it's active.
(Painter 5/5.5: If no Floater/Transparent
Layer is highlighted, the Canvas is active. To
make the Canvas active when a Floater/Transparent Layer is
in the blank area below the list of Floaters/Transparent Layers.)
made a mistake. Now what?
To revert to the previous state of
your image, in the Edit menu, choose Undo (or use Ctrl/Command+Z)
to Undo the last action. Repeat this step to Undo
as many previous actions as you want (up to the number you've chosen
to make available). The default number of Undos is fairly
small. However, you can set the number to a maximum of 32 Undos.
Remember, though, that the higher the number the more memory is used.
To change this setting, go to the Edit menu, choose Preferences,
choose Undo, and type the number of Undos you want.
I hope that this tutorial contains
enough information to help you with the basics of using Layers (Floaters/Transparent
If not, please feel free to ask specific
questions including the Painter version you're using and any
patches you've installed. In your questions, try to use the terminology
you see in the Painter Interface whenever possible. This will make
it easier for people to understand your questions and respond to them properly.
Reading and working this tutorial
and the linked tutorial described below, reading the Painter User
Help menu PDF files, and Help menu Index, and/or
using other tutorials related to Layers (Floaters/Transparent
Layers), should get you to the point of understanding them in the quickest
manner, as long as you put what you've read to practice fairly often until
it all sinks in.
tutorial suitable for both
6 and Painter 5/5.5 users
There's another very simple tutorial
on my site that should help with some aspects
of using Layers and Layer
Visibility Masks, also referred to as Masks
(Painter 5/5.5: Transparent
Layers and Transparent Layer Visibility Masks, also referred
to as Masks, in addition to giving you some information that applies
also to Floaters and Floater Visibility Masks).
on a Transparent Layer - (Transparent Layer Masks)
It's also found near the top of the
list of tutorials on the PixelAlley main Tutorials
section page (along with a lot of other tutorials that were written for
5/5.5 and Painter 6 (many of these include translations for
I should add, because it isn't explained in that tutorial, Masks
that correspond to Layers (Masks that correspond to Floaters/Transparent
Layers) are Visibility Masks. In other words, when you paint
on them with white to increase the transparent areas of the corresponding
(Floater/Transparent Layer), what you're doing is making those painted
areas invisible. They remain even though you can't see them
and can be restored to visibility by painting those areas of the Mask
Once you get these things under your
belt, and practice them for a while, you'll be a long way toward understanding
(Floaters/Transparent Layers) and their corresponding
and able to use them with ease and pleasure. You'll be amazed at what you
can do with them and how useful they are for all kinds of projects done
in Painter. It's not really hard to learn. It just takes time and
find on this site is to be e-mailed, forwarded, copied and pasted, shared,
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of other writers and artists.