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Paul Arnott - Computer Art, 17 March 2009
Call him on 02920 779576 or e-mail paul.arnott[at]ntlworld.com
You will have to forgive the photographic quality here - I was taking photos of the projector screen, using a hand held camera, but you should still get the message. Sam Dauncey
During the EGM, Paul was doodling on his computer and produced this little sketch to introduce his demo of Corel Painter.

Corel Painter is top-of-the range software (some hundreds of pounds) to create "realistic" paintings on your computer. Much cheaper (tens of pounds) is Corel Painter Essentials, quite adequate for a beginner but lacking some of the cleverer facilities.
Introduction To use such a programme it is virtually essential to use a graphics tablet instead of a mouse.

Again, his pressure sensitive, pen-orientation-detecting WACOM tablet cost much the same as the software but you can buy perfectly adequate tablets for much less (e.g. a Medion tablet from Aldi for perhaps £30).
Effects
He first introduced us to some of the myriad textures and tools that are available at the touch of a "button": paints, pastels, different papers, washes, impasto, pallette knives, brushes, aerosols . . .
Paul has been painting for many years, describing himself as a watercolourist. He started trying to paint on the computer around the turn of the millennium and has, I suspect, somewhat neglected conventional painting ever since.

In this context, canvas size is measured in pixels, not in inches. His preferred size is 2400 x 1800, much bigger than a normal computer screen but suitable for a reasonable quality print of up to 24" x 18" (or much more or less, depending on how close you stand to look at it). It might be good to go even bigger but most computers will slow down too much.
Sea at start
He then started to demonstrate the construction of a seascape by selecting a rectangle in the bottom third of the white (sic) canvas for the sea and beach.

This he painted blue and, at the bottom, yellow, with crude wiggles for the waves.
Waves detail The magic of blending and smudging in touches of extra colour transformed the crude marks into very effective waves. The selection was then inverted (so the paint only went into the sky) . This was painted with two graduated blues (another tool) and then white squiggles in the sky were transformed into more and more realistic clouds. Sky detail
Cliffs Cliffs were added, originally just flat purple, but then introducing darker and darker versions of the same colour as they approached the foreground, using the colour picker described below. Texture was added to make them more interesting.

A fisherman and some foreground rocks and birds were were the final touches.
Fisherman
Final picture
Glasses After coffee, Paul introduced a few more of the tricks that the computer can do for you. First (with a black background instead of white) ellipses and rectangles (computer-generated) were selected (colour goes only into the current selection) and colour and texture sprayed in to give quite presentable wineglasses and an orange, whose relative positions could be moved since they had been painted on different "layers".
Purple background Finally we can see the effect of changing the backgrount colour and how it shows through the semi-transparent parts of the glasses.

The top right corner of this image (badly focussed, sorry) shows one of the ways of picking colours. One tiny black circle selects what colour you want from the colour wheel. The triangle then shows that colour at the right corner, merging to black along the bottom and white along the top. You place the other tiny circle in the triangle to define the shade you want to use as your paint. One trick in hundreds.

All-in-all a most enjoyable evening - I'm sure one or two of us are seriously tempted.

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