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Creating Brushes in Corel Painter IX

Part 1: Adding new brush categories and saving brushes By Dave Nagel
Since I've begin writing about Corel Painter IX and distributing free brushes, one of the questions I've received most often by new users is, "How do I save my own custom brushes?" It's not difficult. The process really requires you to know two things: where to look and what Painter requires of you to create new brush categories with your own custom brushes.

Before we begin, I should note this this is the first in a new tutorial series on creating custom brushes. In this first installment, we'll take a look at the strictly technical aspects of creating and saving brushes. In future installments, we'll look at some of the more creative aspects--how to get a brush to look the way you want, how to create custom nibs for your brushes, etc. So stay tuned for those.

Creating the brush category
This is the part that throws most people: the creation of the brush category itself. Painter doesn't have a menu command called "Create New Brush Category" or anything like that. Instead, it's sort of tucked away in a flyaway menu in the Brush Selector palette.

If you open up the Brush Selector palette and click the triangle on the right, you'll see a flyaway menu appear with the command "Capture Brush Category." What this actually means is "create new brush category."

However, in order to create a new brush category, you can't just select this command yet. Painter, when it saves new brushes, also saves icons for each category in your collection. It requires them. So, to begin, first create something on a canvas that you want to use to represent the entire brush category. This can be anything: a sample of one of the brushes, a logo, a picture of a paint brush, whatever. In the sample below, I've simply drawn a few quick strokes showing a brush I've created.

Then you need to use the Rectangular Selection tool and outline the portion of the image you want to use fore the brush category icon.

Finally, with the selection active, you can use the "Capture Brush Category" command. In the dialog that pops up, name your category, and then it will appear, with your icon, in the Brush Selector bar. The brush you currently have selected will also be added automatically as the first brush in the new category.

Saving brushes
Now that you have your new brush category, you can begin saving custom brushes to it. You can do this two ways. First, you can begin modifying the brush that's in the category, and simply save variants of that brush. Or you can find brushes from other categories, modify them (or not) and save them into your new brush category.

Before you do any of this, if you value the first brush in your new category--the one that was automatically placed there--you should save a copy of it right away because any modifications you make to it will be saved, so you might not be able to get back to the original. To do this, in the Brush Selector's flyaway menu, choose "Save Variant."

A dialog will pop up asking you to name the variant. Do so, and a copy of the original brush will be saved in your new category. (I called my copy "Dave 1.")

Now you can begin modifying the original brush  to create more variants. With each one you create, save it as a new variant, and soon your collection will build up. Variants do not have to be the same type of brush at all. You can make any changes you wish. Just make sure that when you're testing your new brushes, before making modifications to them, save copies because changes are permanent.

The other method you can use is to start with a brush from a different category, modify it and then save it to your new category. To do this, select the brush you wish to use, make any changes you wish to make, and then, from the Brush Selector bar, hit the flyaway menu and choose "Copy Variant."

This will call up a dialog asking you which category you want to save the variant to.

Select your new category, and it will be saved there.

Distributing brushes
Now that you've created your own Painter brushes in your own, unique category, you need to know how to distribute them for others to use--assuming you want to share them with others. This is a simple matter. Your Painter Brushes are stored in a folder on your hard drive. In Mac OS X, this is in your user folder in /Library/Application Support/Corel/Painter IX/Brushes/Painter Brushes.

There you will see the folder containing your individual brushes, along with the JPEG file containing the brush category icon.

Both of these items need to be distributed together in order for other people to be able to use the brushes in your custom category. And they both need to be placed into the user's brush preset folder together.

So that's all there is to it. You can now start creating and sharing your own brushes for Painter. If you have any further questions, be sure to visit me in the Corel Painter forum here.

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Related Keywords:corel painter ix, creating custom brushes, how to create custom brushes

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