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  Corel® Painter™ Wow! Tips

This is the first in a series of Painter Wow! power-user tips by award-winning artist and author Cher Threinen-Pendarvis. Painter Wow! tips will focus on advanced Corel® Painter™ techniques, artist theory, and concepts. As the developer of hundreds of brushes and other art materials for Corel Painter, Cher will uncover many of its secrets.

Photo Retouching and Enhancing with Ease and Finesse
by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis

In this tip, we will repair and add finesse to a photograph by using the updated retouching tools in Corel® Painter™ IX.5 - the Clone tool and the Rubber Stamp tool - along with special brushes from the Photo brush category. This category in Corel Painter IX.5 includes several powerful brushes that have unique uses. We will use the Scratch Remover brush to repair a damaged area of a photograph, and then the Saturation Add brush to increase the saturation in a few areas.

My photograph of the tall ships has an interesting subject and composition, but closer examination shows some dirt and scratches. Also, the composition could be improved by strengthening the focal point.

Step 1. Use a nondestructive approach. Open a photograph that you want to enhance. In my photograph, a thin scratch appeared in the upper left. For retouching or enhancing, I recommend a nondestructive approach in which you use layers, which allows more flexibility. Put a copy of the image onto a layer by choosing Select > All. Then, press Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and choose Select > Float.

Step 2. Repair a scratch. Choose the Photo category from the Brush Selector bar, and then choose the Scratch Remover brush variant. Using the Scratch Remover brush, stroke over the scratch. If needed, adjust the Strength control by using the slider on the property bar. A magnified detail of the scratched area in the sky is shown in the figure below, followed by a figure showing the repair in progress.

Step 3. Remove dirt and unwanted elements. Corel Painter IX.5 adds a useful Cloning tool and a Rubber Stamp tool to the toolbox. These tools make it easy to retouch dirt and debris. They also save the step of choosing Cloning brushes and make retouching more efficient. Click the Cloning tool to easily switch to the Cloning brush category and the last cloning brush that you used. To access the Rubber Stamp tool, click and hold the tool icon, and the tool will pop out. The Rubber Stamp tool makes it easy to do point-to-point cloning to repair areas of your image, and to clone between two unrelated images.


I used the Rubber Stamp tool to remove dirt and a lens flare from my photograph. Choose the Rubber Stamp tool in the toolbox (nested under the Cloning tool). To sample source material from your photo, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS), and click in the area that you want to sample.

Now paint over the area that you want to repair. Notice that the sky in my image has a subtle gradient. If you are repairing a similar image, note the direction of the values and carefully color in the sky gradient, so that you can match the values in your repair. In my image, it made sense to sample an area that was horizontal and to the left of the dirt and lens flare.

Step 4. Paint more saturated color onto the center of interest. To strengthen the center of interest, I used another Photo brush - Saturation Add - to bump up the color saturation on the sails of the central boat. The added saturation is most noticeable in the two sails in the center of the image.

Choose the Saturation Add brush from the Photo category, and lightly brush over the areas that you want to enhance. With this brush, subtlety is important for a natural look.

As you can see in my final image, the central boat now builds a stronger focal point. Now that you have edited and retouched your photograph, you have completed working through this Corel Painter Wow! tip. Your image may be complete, or you may want to move on to more enhancement by applying additional features in Corel Painter IX.5 to give it the look of a painting. For instance, you can use the Vignette and Smart Blur features in the Underpainting palette.

Images and content: © 2006 by Cher Threinen-Pendarvis

An award-winning artist and author, Cher Threinen-Pendarvis has always worked with traditional art tools. A pioneer in digital art, Cher has been creating illustrations with the Macintosh® computer for nearly two decades. She has been widely recognized for her mastery of Corel® Painter™, Adobe® Photoshop®, and the Wacom® pressure-sensitive tablet and has used these tools since they were first released. Exercising her passion for the artist tools in Corel Painter, she has worked as a consultant and demo-artist for the Corel Painter developers. Her artwork has been exhibited worldwide, and her articles and art have been published in many books and periodicals. Cher holds a BFA with Highest Honors and Distinction in Art specializing in painting and printmaking, and she is a member of the San Diego Museum of Art Artist Guild and the Digital Art Guild. She has taught Painter and Photoshop workshops around the world and is the principal of the consulting firm Cher Threinen Design.

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