Painting "S'mores" using Corel Painter 12 - Part 3

Finishing touches

There are just a few things left to do to complete the painting. I need to make these small additions to add a sense of believability to the fantasy painting. I complete all of the finishing touches on new layers, so that I can experiment a bit and make corrections easily.

My first step is to add spotted tips to the horns. I do this quite easily by using the Variable Splatter brush (Airbrush category). Any overspray is simply erased since I am painting on a new layer.

I create another layer to add orange-reflected light to the large dragon's nose and jaws. I roughly paint the brushstrokes to create the illusion that the dragon has been around for a long time and has acquired scratches and cuts. This also gives the dragon some character. The flame in the small dragon's mouth also creates additional light.



I drop the two layers containing the rim lights and horn spots onto the canvas by choosing Layers > Drop. I then save the painting by using File > Iterative Save.

I want to add some glow around the flame to enhance the illusion that the flame is a light source and add interest to this area of the painting. The following is a relatively simple method for adding a glow:

  1. I create a new layer by pressing Ctrl + Shift + N (Win) or Cmd + Shift + N (Mac).
  2. I choose the Oval Selection tool from the toolbox and add a small circular selection around the flame on the new layer.
  3. I choose the Paint Bucket tool from the toolbox and fill the selection with a dark orange color.
  4. I deselect and duplicate the new layer two or three times by choosing Layers > Duplicate Layer.
  5. I scale one of the layers to about 75% of its original size by choosing Edit > Transform > Scale.
  6. In the Layers panel, I choose Screen from the Composite Method list box.
  7. I soften the layer by choosing Effects > Focus > Soften. I make sure to use the highest Gaussian setting possible.
  8. In the Layers panel, I select the second layer and choose Screen from the Composite Method list box.
  9. I soften this layer by choosing Effects > Focus > Soften at the highest setting.
  10. I reapply the Soften effect two more times.
  11. In the Layers panel, I adjust the Opacity slider so the layer fades smoothly into the background. I use the Screen Composite Method to amplify the first glow layer.
  12. In the Layers panel, I select the third layer.
  13. I scale the third layer so it is twice as large as the original.
  14. In the Layers panel, I choose Screen from the Composite Method list box.
  15. I soften this layer by choosing Effects > Focus > Soften at the highest setting. I repeat this step three or four times.
  16. In the Layers panel, I lower the Opacity slider to enhance the glowing effect of all three layers that are on top of the candle. The opacity setting is strictly a personal preference.

The next finishing touch is to add glow to all of the dragons' eyes. I accomplish this quite easily by using one of my favorite brushes, the Glow Brush brush (F-X category).



I find that this brush should be used with care because it can quickly become gimmicky. To add the glow to the dragons' eyes, I start by creating a new layer. I then choose a very dark, saturated orange color, and lightly paint over the dark eyes of the dragons. Once I add the general glow, I reduce the size of the brush and add the very intense and yellow highlights.

I also want to add some sparks to the flame that's coming out of the small dragon's mouth. This is also easy to accomplish. I choose the Variable Splatter brush (Airbrush category).

To add the sparks, I create a new layer and choose Screen from the Composite Method list box in the Layers panel. I then paint the sparks using a dark orange color. I also erase any sparks that fall outside of the area where I want them visible.

I save my changes by choosing File > Iterative Save. I also drop both layers onto the canvas by choosing Layers > Drop. The complete painting is almost done and looks like Figure22.



I decide to add some smoke coming out of the large dragon's right nostril. To paint smoke, I do the following:

  1. I create a new layer.
  2. I choose the Digital Airbrush brush (Airbrushes category) and paint a meandering line of wispy smoke. It has lots of tight curves similar to what is sometimes seen in aerial photographs of slow moving creeks and rivers.
  3. I choose the Distorto brush (F-X category). On the property bar, I set the Grain to 20%. I then push and pull the smoke trail around to give it thin and thick areas. The specific grain setting may need to be adjusted to suit your painting style.
  4. In the Layers panel, I hold down Ctrl (Win) or Cmd (Mac) and click the thumbnail of the layer where the smoke is painted. This creates a selection around the smoke. The selection may look smaller than the smoke. This is completely normal as the "marching ants" are drawn only around the brushstrokes with greater than 50% opacity. The brushstrokes that are below 50% opacity are also selected, but they are not outlined.
  5. I create a new layer and choose the Digital Airbrush (Airbrushes category). I use it to paint dark orange smoke near the dragon's nostril. I gradually paint the remaining smoke with other dark colors that are appropriate for the rest of the cave.
  6. When I am finished painting the colored smoke, I choose Screen from the Composite Method list box in the Layers panel. I also adjust the Opacity slider, so the smoke appears subtle against the background cave.
  7. I choose the Blur brush (Blenders category) to add a blur effect to the smoke. The amount of blur applied is completely a personal preference.

Once the smoke looks the way I want it too, I drop the colored screen layer by choosing Layers > Drop. I then delete the original smoke layer by choosing Layers > Delete layer.



I decide that it would be interesting to add some bats in the cave. Frankly, I am not sure if they are successful, but I will include the step anyway. To paint the bats, I choose the Image Hose with a custom nozzle. The nozzle itself is not hard to create.

  1. I paint about a dozen different small bats on individual layers.
  2. In the Layers panel, I select all of the layers by choosing Layers > Select all layers. I then group the layers by choosingLayers > Group layers.
  3. I open the Nozzles panel by choosing Window > Media Library Panels > Nozzles. In the Nozzles panel, I click theNozzle options button, and choose Make Nozzle from Group from the flyout menu.


  1. A new file is immediately created with each bat placed into an invisible grid.
  2. I save the newly generated file as bats_nozzle.rif.
  3. In the Nozzles panel, I load the nozzle by pressing Ctrl + L (Win) or Cmd + L (Mac).


  1. To apply the nozzle, I choose the Spray-Angle-B brush (Image Hose category).
  2. I create a new layer, and paint a line of bats flying from the right side of the painting to the left.
  3. In the Layers panel, I hold down Ctrl (Win) or Cmd (Mac) and click the thumbnail of the bat layer to select the bats.
  4. Using the Digital Airbrush brush (Airbrushes category), I choose a slightly red color from the Color panel and paint a few of the bats that are closest to the flames.

The added bats can be seen in Figure 26.



There is one last thing to do and then I am done with "S'mores". I want to add some color variety to the whole image. A very easy way to do this is by using the Apply Lighting dialog box. I open the dialog box by choosing Effects > Surface Control > Apply Lighting.



Before applying the lighting effect, I copy the whole painting by pressing Ctrl + A (Win) or Cmd + A (Mac) and paste Ctrl + C(Win) or Cmd + C (Mac).This creates a duplicate copy of the painting. I then apply the lighting to the duplicate and adjust the opacity to my liking.

With the duplicate layer selected, I choose Effects > Surface Control > Apply Lighting and choose the Splashy Colorspreset setting.



In the Layers panel, I lower the Opacity slider for the layer to about 50%, so that a subtle shift in color and value is now present in the final painting. When the layers are blended just right, I drop the layer onto the canvas.

"S'mores" is now finished and complete.



Don Seegmiller

Don Seegmiller has been painting professionally for over 25 years. He is a Corel Painter Master, Brigham Young University and CGSociety instructor, author and professional illustrator with work featured in many major art galleries. The majority of Don's traditional work is handled by Wadle Galleries Ltd. of Santa Fe. Learn more about Don at:

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