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Learning the Tool Palette
for Painter 5/5.5, Painter 6, and Painter 7
by Jinny Brown  e-mail

copyright 1999 - 2001, Jinny Brown

At the end of this tutorial, there's a short exercise to help you learn the Tools Palette by applying the tools to a practice canvas.


General Notes:

Check the Quick Reference Card that came with your software for Keyboard  Shortcuts. For Painter 7, also download and read A Visual Guide to Corel Painter 7 Keyboard Shortcuts by Painter Developer John Derry. These will be a big help later on when you're doing bigger projects, so try to learn one or two at a time as you use Painter.

The Painter 7 Tools Palette contains 24 tool icons There are 23 tool icons in earlier versions. Some that are visible can be clicked and dragged downward to display more tool icons. In Painter 7, when a tool icon is active, it's depressed. 

Figure 1. Painter 7 Tools Palette
Brush Tool Active and Depressed
(description not intended as a psychological assessment)

In earlier versions, there's a red highlight around the active tool icon as shown in the screen shot below. 

Figure 2. Painter 5, 5.5, and Tools Palette
Brush Tool Active and Highlighted with a Red Border

I'll give a brief explanaton of each of the tool icons. Reading from left to right in the top row (the indented descriptions are for buttons/icons hidden under the main button/icon):

  • Magnifier - Used to zoom in and out. Click to zoom in, use Alt/Option-Click to zoom out. In Painter 7, click and hold for continuous zoom in, use Alt/Option-Click and hold for continuous zoom out. 
  • Grabber - Used to move your Canvas around on the screen.
    • Rotate Page - To access this tool, click and hold while dragging downward on the Grabber tool (or the Perspective Grid tool if it's currently displayed). - Used to temporarily rotate your Canvas and make it easier to work in what would otherwise be an awkward position. To return the Canvas to an upright position, click on the image with the Rotate Page tool.
    • Perspective Grid - the newcomer in Painter 7 - To access this tool, click and hold while dragging downward on the Grabber tool (or the Rotate Page tool if it's currently displayed). - Used to adjust the Perspective Grid.
  • Crop - Used to preserve only a portion of your image. To crop, drag the Crop tool to create a rectangle or square of the appropriate size around the part of the image you want to preserve, then click in the middle of the selection. Everything but the selection will be cut out of your image.
  • Lasso - Used to make freehand selections.
  • Magic Wand - Used to make automatic selections, based on color, black, 

  • or white areas of your image.
  • Pen - Used to create shapes by picking points on the canvas, this tool is sometimes called the bezier pen, as it makes bezier curves with anchor points (tiny boxes) and control handles that allow you to reshape the line.
    • Quick Curve - To access this tool, click and hold while dragging downward on the Pen tool. Used to make freehand bezier curves.
  • Rectangular Shape - Used to create rectangular or square shapes.
    • Oval Shape -  To access this tool, click and hold while dragging downward on the Rectangular Shape tool. Used to create oval or circular shapes.
Reading from left to right in the bottom row:
  • Brush - Used to paint with any of the drawing and painting tools found in the Brushes palette (Painter's Brush Variants). 
  • Paint Bucket - Used to fill selected areas of the Canvas, Floaters (Painter 5 and 5.5), or Layers (Painter 6 and 7), or to fill the entire Floater, Layer, or Canvas.
  • Dropper - Often referred to as the Eyedropper tool - Used to pick (and match) a color from one part of the image, or from another image to be used in a new area. This allows for exact color matching of the pixel that is picked by the Dropper. In an area where colors are blended across pixels, you may not pick the color you think you're picking unless you zoom way in. The Dropper is most easily effective picking from flat areas of color.
  • Rectangular Selection - Used to select rectangular or square areas.
    • Oval Selection - To access this tool, click and hold while dragging 

    • downward on the Rectangular Selection tool. Used to create oval or 
      circular selections.
    Layer Adjuster - (Floater Adjuster tool in Painter 5 and 5.5) - Used to click, and lift to Layers (Painter 6 and Painter 7) or Floaters (Painter 5 and Painter 5.5), selections drawn with the Lasso tool, the Rectangular Selection tool, or the Oval Selection tool. Also, the Shape Selection tool is used to select Shapes drawn with the bezier Pen tool or the Quick Curve tool as well as the Rectangular Shape and Oval Shape tools. In any of these cases, when the Layer (or Floater) is highlighted or the Shape is selected, a yellow and black striped frame appears around the resulting Layer (or Floater), or Shape. In the case of a Shape, the striped frame has handles at each corner and midway along the top, bottom, and each side,  that can be used to re-size or re-proportion the Shape.
    • SELECTION ADJUSTER - To access this tool, click, hold, and drag downward on the Layer Adjuster tool (or Floater Adjuster), or drag downward on the Shape Selection tool if it's displayed. Used to allow resizing of the selection. Draw a selection, click the Selection Adjuster tool, and resizing handles appear around the selection. 
    • Shape Selection - To access this tool, click, hold, and drag downward on the Layer Adjuster tool (or Floater Adjuster), or drag  downward on the Selection Adjuster tool if it's displayed. Used to make adjustments to a Shape by clicking anywhere along the perimeter of the Shape or on any point (tiny open box) of the Shape to pull or push it and re-form the Shape. 

    • Clicking in the middle of the Shape selects the entire Shape and allows you to move it. (When the entire Shape is selected, the points [tiny boxes] are filled in [closed] and they cannot be used to alter the Shape.) 
  • Text - Used to create text, this tool is used in conjunction with the Controls:Text palette that controls Font, Size, Tracking, and toggling between Primary and Secondary Colors. When the Text tool is clicked, if the Controls palette is open, it changes from it's previous function and becomes the Controls:Text palette. 
  • Scissors - Used to cut a Shape's stroke, or to cut a bezier Pen line. The stroke, or line, can then be pulled apart at the cut using the Shape Selection tool, and repositioned, shortened, stretched, or joined with it's opposite end (closed).
    • Add Point -  To access this tool, click and hold while dragging 

    • downward on the Scissors tool (or the Remove Point or Convert Point tool if one of them is displayed). Used to add a point (tiny box) to a Shape or bezier curve. This allows for fine tuning of the Shape in detail areas.
    • Remove Point - To access this tool, click and hold while dragging downward on the Scissors tool (or the Add Point or Convert Point tool if one of them is displayed). Used to remove a point (tiny box) from a Shape or bezier curve. This can help to create a smoother curve or line, with a less jagged look.
    • Convert Point - To access this tool, click and hold while dragging downward on the Scissors tool (or the Add Point or Remove Point tool if one of them is displayed). Used to alter points (tiny boxes). A corner point (tiny box) can be pulled with the Convert Point tool to create a curve. A point (tiny box) on a curve can be changed to a corner point or angle point by clicking it with the Convert Point tool.
Now to practice using the Tools:

1. In the File menu, select New to open a new, white, Canvas, 600 x 600 pixels, 300 ppi (pixels per inch, or Resolution).

2.  Beginning with the top left tool icon in the Tools palette and working across the row, then across the bottom row, use each tool. Experiment with each one to become as familiar with them as you can in an hour's work, or play as long as you like. (That's really the best way to learn.)

3.  Save your file for reference, in Painter's native RIFF format.


Have fun!  If you aren't already comfortable with Painter's tools, you'll be glad you learned them when it comes time to move on to some more challenging projects.

As you can probably guess by my little ghostie image,
this tutorial was written around Halloween (in 1999). 
Coincidentally, the revision was written, just before Halloween in 2001.
What does this mean? Spooky!

 

 

Jinny Brown, October, 1999
last modified on November 23, 2001

copyright 1994-2001, Jinny Brown
e-mail

All Corel Painter screen prints on these pages are used with permission from Corel Corporation.

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