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For, or Against Cloning

Corel "Painter Classic" comes free with a Wacom graphic tablet, otherwise, costing in the region of 100, it is a fantastic addition to regular imaging software. The grand version, "Painter 7" costs three times as much but quite honestly the Classic version has the basic features, which are most useful for giving that photo a different bias. "Painter" is like an art supplier in that it can come up with any art medium that comes to mind, in all its varying possibilities. Useful, you might say, for colouring black and white photos. That is true but there is another feature, which is also very effective - and great fun to try -

Cloning

Whereas "Cloning" in "Photoshop" is selecting a number of pixels and copying them, to fill in another area with similar texture or colour, "Cloning" in "Painter" is making a copy - but of the whole image, using any art media simulation effect and with a choice of brush size, opacity and grain. There are many good reasons to use this method, not least to create interesting "edge" effects, hide the fact that you may have too much background which is boring and to disguise parts of a picture which are missing. The main reason, of course, could be that the end result looks artistic.

Open an image in "Painter" and it will appear on the screen at enormous size. The "Window">Zoom Out" instruction - about 4 times - will bring the image to the right size, bearing in mind that you need to be able to fit the image onto the page twice. Drag the image to one side of the screen. Go to "File">"Clone". There is now a duplicate image, which can be placed alongside the first image. Highlighting the duplicate, which is the "clone", go to "Edit">"Select All" and then "Edit">"Clear". Now the duplicate is blank. (If you don't fancy working on a blank canvas you can select "Edit">"Fade". The level of "Fade" can then be selected and there is a ghost image instead of a blank canvas.) If the "Brushes" menu is not visible, it will be found in "Window">"Show Brushes". (That applies to all the other tools.)

In "Brushes", select "Clone" Brushes. (The icon for this brush looks like two layers, one above the other.) Make sure that the "Brush" symbol is also selected in the Toolbar. At the bottom of the "Clone" Brushes menu, click on the bar at the bottom of the menu where there are various media options for cloning. Watercolour, chalks, felt-tip pens, oil paint, driving rain cloners, to name only a few.

Now - Drawing on the blank canvas it is possible to see a "cross" on the visible image, from where the brush is picking up the image and transferring it to the blank canvas. This is great because it means you can draw your lines according to the rhythms of the original I am always amazed how this software produces results, which so closely resemble the real art medium

For my own digital work I do use "Painter" extensively, mainly for painting backgrounds, using the main brush tools, then move over to "Photoshop" and add as layers to images.

The question - "For, or Against Cloning" - is raised, because this is a technique that, once learned, is very easy - and this is fine - as long as it serves a purpose in achieving a desired end result, rather than being a technique in itself for its own sake. It is an interesting exercise to save a cloned image as a jpeg file, open it in "Photoshop" and add as a layer, trying different "Blending Modes".

The main thing is "Create - and be Happy!"

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