Painter's New Mirror Axis


Painter’s new mirror axis

Paint just once but leave behind two, four, or even more, symmetrical tracks! The Mirror and Kaleidoscope axes in the new Corel® Painter™ 12 make this possible. | Doc Baumann

Perhaps you remember in notebook 36 on page 85, under “Mirrored Painting”, I complained that this wonderful function – which MacPaint has offered since 1984 – can only be imitated awkwardly in Photoshop.

In Version 12 of Corel Painter, which has just been released (May 2011), it is now available again as “Mirroring” with one or two axes, and as “Kaleidoscope” with up to 12 symmetrical axes.

Since this influences all of the paint tools, it also applies to smearing image pixels (upper right image and image 5). I will show you a few examples of what can be done with this function.

1 Enable mirror option

There is a new symbol in the Painter toolbar. The vertical line with the reflected brush stands for “Mirror” (when painting). After clicking, further settings appear above in the list of options, such as resetting, temporary deactivation, assigning a horizontal axis (discussed more in step 2), rotation, axis color selection (shown here in green), and blending of this axis. Then, use any painting tool (accessed using the B key) and the stroke will be mirrored automatically along the vertical axis and replicated on the other side.


2 Use two mirror axes

When the vertical mirror axis is enabled you can, for example, draw a frontal portrait in half the time or clone it (above). You can work on one side and the other will appear effortlessly. If there are two mirror axes, such as with a four-leaf clover, you can also select the symbol for “Horizontal axis” in the list of options. Now one brushstroke creates not just two, but four brushstrokes. Since the axes represented in green can be difficult to detect against this background color, choose another color scheme from the list of options. If there is an interruption while painting, you can temporarily blend using the symbol on the right.

3 Kaleidoscope axes

Vertical and horizontal axes will be of no help in painting a three-leaf clover. For this, there is the Kaleidoscope tool in the same spot as the Mirror tool. In the list of options, there is a field in which you can establish the number of axes, between three and 12, numerically, or by using a slider bar. If the position or orientation of the axes doesn’t suit your image, you can move these by positioning the cursor over the circle in the middle, or rotate the axes by placing the cursor over one of the lines.


4 Painting with 12 axes

The maximum number of kaleidoscope axes is 12. In this instance, one brushstroke creates 24 strokes! With this number of axes, you always achieve interesting results, because even the wildest of scribblings inevitably contains some order. I drew in the left half using a marker and different colors more or less blindly, yet the result was orderly with perfect circles. On the right side, after using the brush, I used the painting knife, which not only reduced the symmetry of the design but also modified the original colors.



5 Effects on image pixels

Since the painting knife not only blurs the colors applied as brushstrokes, but affects all the pixels of an image, you can also use the Mirror and Kaleidoscope options, for example, on a photo. This particularly affects all painting tools that do not add their own colors, but instead soften, blur or otherwise modify existing colors. With this sunflower, I used the painting effect with straight radial lines; however, with the thistle in the upper right on the opposite page, the strokes were applied in a radial, zigzag fashion.

6 Kaleidoscope layer effect

What Photoshop calls the “Layer effect” is designated as “Dynamic Plug-ins” in Painter.

Don’t be confused by the fact that one of these is also called “Kaleidoscope”. Using it, you will reach an adjustable square on one layer with vertical and horizontal mirror axes. The image is correspondingly accessed and reflected eight times. You can even make a complete circle using the bronze latticework on the left just by using the “North-northwest pie slice” (upper right). With one more step, you will also generate a repetitive pattern (below).



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