PI5 Paint and Retouch Tool Art


flower paintingThis tutorial shows you how to make a flower painting, shown left at half size. Even if you're not a great artist (and I'm certainly not!), you can still create a reasonably attractive painting while trying out a variety of Paint and Retouch tools.(View full size)

Start by choosing File, Open. Browse to Program Files, Ulead Systems, Ulead PhotoImpact 5.0, Samples, and open the file called Lotus. We'll be making our own purple lotus flower, based on the one in the sample image, by tracing its outline and borrowing its colors with the Eyedropper tool. Be sure to leave the flower image open throughout the exercise, as we'll be moving back and forth between it and the painting.

Choose the Paint Brush tool. In the Attributes toolbar, set the values shown below.

Attributes toolbar values for painting in object mode

Right click in the color box and choose the Eyedropper. When the Eyedropper dialog box opens,  click it in the dark purple color shading the petals (RGB=129, 78, 107), and click OK. We'll use this color to outline the petals of the flower.

Now click on the Mode icon in the Attributes toolbar. Doing so puts you in paint as object mode. The lines you paint will be objects independent of the base image. One petal at a time, carefully trace along the edges of each petal and major shape making up the flower. Make sure that the finished traced outline is a completely closed "loop," with no openings.

Click on the Mode icon again to deselect paint as object mode. Hit Ctrl+C to copy the outline into the Clipboard. Choose Edit, Paste, As a New Object. You'll see that all you have in your new image is the outline you created in paint as object mode. Right click and Merge All.

outline from paint as object mode


Make the flower image active by clicking on its blue title bar. Select the Oil Paint brush.  In the Attributes toolbar, choose the Light Stroke preset. The default color is wrong for this painting, so right click in the color box and choose Eyedropper. Click in the flower image to select a light lilac-pink color found among its highlights (RGB=240, 194, 219). When you pick the new color, the preset in the Attributes toolbar will show "None." Don't worry, the Light Stroke features are still there.

Now choose the Magic Wand selection tool. In the Attributes toolbar, set the Mode to New, Similarity=99, Select by Line, and Search Connected Pixels. Click inside one of the outlined areas, to select all of the white area. Doing so will confine your paint strokes to the selection area. Carefully paint in the lilac-pink color, using the light areas in the original flower as a model. You'll notice that the Light Stroke preset creates a ridged, textured effect in the paint.

If you repeat a stroke, the color will get darker. Use a variety of strokes to get different shades.

Click in the white part of each outlined section, and paint in the light lilac-pink color.

using original to choose and paint in colors

Click on the blue title bar for the flower image to make it active. Right click in the Attributes toolbar's color box and choose Eyedropper. This time, click in the image to select a very dark purple color making up the darkest parts of the flower (RGB=137, 114, 133). Return to the painting and choose the Magic Wand selection tool again. As you did before, click in the white part of each outlined part of the flower to select it. Then switch to the Oil Paint brush and paint in dark purple strokes, using the original flower image as a model.

Now we have to paint in some midtones. Click on the blue title bar for the flower image to make it active. Right click in the Attributes toolbar's color box and choose Eyedropper. Click in the image to select a medium lilac-pink color (RGB=201, 139, 174). Return to the painting and paint in the midtones, using the original flower image as a model. You won't need to use the Magic Wand this time.

When you're done painting in the midtones, your painting should look something like the one shown below. Don't worry about the dark outlines, we'll be working on them later.

adding darks and midtones

Click on the blue title bar for the flower image to make it active. Select the Airbrush paint tool. Choose the Fat Stroke preset. Right click in the Attributes toolbar's color box and choose Eyedropper. Click in the image to select the golden yellow color in the middle of the flower.

Change the size of the brush to 50. Again, once you change the size of the brush and its color, the preset will default to None, but you'll still have the Fat Stroke features. Lightly airbrush in the center and slightly upward, using the flower image as a model.

airbrushing in yellow center

You'll notice that the colors in the painting are a bit light. We'll use the Retouch tools to bring up the darks and highlights. But first, choose the Magic Wand selection tool again. The same settings should still be there. Click in the white background to select it all, then right click and Invert. This will select the flower, so edits will not extend into the background.

Choose the Burn Retouch tool (it looks like a darkened lightbulb). In the Attributes toolbar, select the Wide Burn preset. Working from the center of the flower out, click and drag up in short, curved motions over the darker areas.

Now choose the Dodge Retouch tool (it looks like a shining lightbulb). In the Attributes toolbar, choose the Spotlight preset. Click briefly and drag slightly to highlight, using the original flower image as a model.

Dodge and Burn applied

Right click and choose None to deselect the flower. Choose the Pencil Paint tool. In the Attributes toolbar, select the 2B preset. Click in the color box and choose a dark purple (RGB=125, 70, 99). Set the Transparency to 50%.

Carefully draw delicate, narrow lines on the petals. Study each petal in the original flower image to see how the lines go straight in some places, and curve in others to conform to the surface of the petal. Don't overdo it with the lines, draw just enough to add detail.

drawing lines on petals

Now it's time to get rid of the dark outlines. Choose the Bristle Smear Retouch tool. This tool doesn't add color, but it rearranges color pixels in a very interesting, painterly way. In the Attributes toolbar, choose the Coarse Smear preset. Position the Bristle Smear tool along the edges of the petals, just outside the dark outline, and drag slightly into the petal (about 1/8 inch). Repeat around all of the edges.

You don't want to obliterate the dark lines completely, just soften them. Leave some showing in places. Inside the petals, use the Bristle Smear tool to lightly smear some dark color into light, and vice versa.

Bristle Smear Retouch Tool softens edges

It's easy to overdo it with the Bristle Smear Retouch tool. If you wipe out your lines, return to the Pencil Paint Brush tool and add them back in again. If a line looks too sharp or harsh, use the Blur Retouch tool to soften contrast. Your flower should look similar to the one shown above.

When you're satisfied with the look of your flower, choose the Magic Wand selection tool again. The same Attributes toolbar settings should be in effect. Click in the white background to select all of it, then right click and Invert to select only the Flower. You can close out the original flower image now.

To add a little dramatic lighting and dimension to the flower, choose Effect, Magic Light. When the Magic Light box opens, leave the default thumbnail selected, but click on the Options button for a secondary dialog box. Click in the Light Brightness color box to change the pale yellow color. Select the lilac pink (RGB=255, 200, 255) in the bottom row of the Ulead Color Picker box and click OK. Click OK to apply the Magic Light effect.

Choose Edit, Expand. When the Expand box opens, expand by 50 pixels in all directions. Make sure the canvas color is white, to match the base image. Click OK. Right click on the flower selection and choose Shadow. When the Shadow box opens, select a black perspective shadow with the values shown below. Click OK to create the shadow.

adding a perspective shadow

Choose the standard selection tool to move the flower and its shadow slightly to the left, so that the entire shadow fits into the image.

Choose File, New. When the New box opens, select Active Image and click OK to open another image the same size as the flower painting. Now we're going to make a little "wash" of teal in this image, to provide some contrast for the flower.

Choose the Airbrush Paint tool. In the Attributes toolbar, click in the color box and choose a dark teal (greenish-blue) color (RGB=155, 0, 165). Set the brush size to 100, set Transparency to 75% and leave the preset at None. At about a 30 degree angle, loosely scribble in a large patch of soft-edged teal in the center of the image.

Use the standard selection tool to drag the flower painting and its shadow onto the teal background in the new image. Right click and Merge All.  Choose the Bristle Smear Retouch tool again to soften any edges that need a little work and to smoosh the petal colors around a tiny bit more.

As a finishing touch, to soften the hard square edges around the image, choose Web, Frame Designer. When the Frame & Shadow box opens,  click on the Shadow tab and make sure that Shadow is deselected. Click on the Frame tab and choose Edge Frame Gallery from the Style dropdown list. Select an edge frame for your painting and click OK.

Here's the final version of the flower painting.

Now you know that even with a mouse, limited artistic ability, and PI's paint tools, you can create your own works of art!

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