Palettized painting

While cloning in PostworkShop 3, you can use a palette to automatically limit the colors to a predefined set. The palette can be generated from the source image, from another image, selected from the built-in palettes or created by hand.

In the following image the brush opacity was 50%, so we also see blended colors, but still based on the palette. Click the image for a larger view.


Just to show something different … PostworkShop works very well with mathematical creations, like fractals or generated textures. I always find interesting how the geometric nature of these images is completely transformed by PWS.


New brushes

PostworkShop 3 will contain tons of new brushes. Combine these brush textures with another exciting new feature of PWS3, the Paint Presets and you will have thousands of different artistic possibilities. The Paint Presets will describe the mechanics of drawing and painting, i.e. how a given brush family is used: painting or cloning mode, size, scatter, color jitter, angles, palette, etc.

Below you can find two new images with samples of the brush families that I used to transform the photos to pastel and graphite drawings. Click the images for full size view.

The anatomy of a comics image

This is a style that I created today. First, let’s see an image, then we will see the construction details.

The style is based on a Simple Watercolor filter (that is basically a Map to Palette filter with a twist) and the two different Sketch filters, all of them can be found in the Building Blocks / Simple Styles folder.

We have a normal and a saturation boosted version of the Simple Watercolor image.

The Sketch 2 is used for creating thick lines that we will blend in with reduced opacity.

The Sketch filter is also set to output thick lines, but the Majority at the end of the chain will reduce this thickness in an interesting way. The black lines on the white background will become thinner at the ends, where there are more white pixels than black ones, so they win the Majority vote for the color of the pixels in these areas.

All the sketches are of course blended on the color images with Multiply.

There is final blend, this time using the layer structure, where we Color blend the original on the filter graph result. This will give the smooth gradients that would not be present with the Simple Watercolor alone.

Colorful painting

In PWS3 the clone painting tool will have built-in saturation control. No more need to leave the editor and pre-process the image with a Hue-Saturation-Lightness filter, you can do it interactively, during the paint session. It will be also useful to give different importance to the background and the subject, still in the same session.

The demo image is a stock photo from deviantART (“shmile” by Aurora Dawn)

Fixing the Sketch filter

In homogenous or dark areas the Sketch filter can produce noise or strange artifacts. It is also visible when the original image contains compression artifacts.

Most of the time you can fix it by inserting a High Pass filter before the Sketch filter. You may need to adjust the Sketch properties because the lines generally become thinner.

Of course when you only have a few, well defined areas to fix, you can go to the Bitmap Editor and clean the Sketch result up with a white brush.


Old man – red chalk

I wish to share two useful tricks that I applied to create this image.

First, the lines come from a Sketch filter followed by a Random Painter. The Brush type property of the Sketch filter was set to Transparent. This way the connected Random Painter won’t render white brush strokes on the background. You can also use this setup as the top layer of a auto or hand painted image, to enhance the contours. Try different brush families in the Random Painter, until it suits best the artistic style that you are looking for.

Now we have a black on transparent sketch, that we can enhance with a Texturizer filter, still on the same layer, dropped after the Random Painter. The texture will break the uniform look of the existing strokes, it will look more like a chalk drawing. But it is still black and white. So the second trick is un-checking the Grayscale property of the Texturizer. The Paper 9 texture that we selected here will beautifully tone our drawing to red.

Finally I added another Sketch layer on top, with Normal blending and 40% opacity, to make the color of certain lines a darker red.

PWS3 Clone Painting Video Demo

A quick video demo of the clone painting capabilities of PostworkShop 3 beta. The video capture is real-time, not accelerated.

We are still adding new features to the user interface, so I don’t show it here.

Colored Lines

Sometimes you wish to add more details to your clone painting projects, e.g. contour lines would often help. Click the image for a full size view.

In PostworkShop you can get black contour lines with the Sketch filter, but they would look strange in a paint project. You can create colored lines by using the Sketch output to mask the original image with a Set Alpha filter (you will have to invert the mask, because black means transparent and white means opaque). See below:

You can even assemble the Sketch + Set Alpha combo in a separate project and save this setup as a new style. Later, when you need these colored lines, you can just drop this custom style on the top layer. Do not forget to export the Line width and Effect strength properties of the Sketch filter, you will need them to adjust your colored lines.

As this will be your top layer, you can also change the usual layer blending and opacity settings to tune down the effect if necessary.


Painted with PostworkShop 3 beta. Click the image for a full size view.

For the photo cloning I used “Paint Brush 2″ with a small step and a large scatter, local color pickup (new in PWS3) and extra saturation (also new in PWS3).

The lines come from a simple trick: I used the inverted black and white output of a Sketch filter to mask the original image and the resulting colorized lines were simply added on top of the painting. I will write about it in more details in another post.

The paper texture was added on the Compositing tab, with a Texturizer filter chained at the end of the layer.