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REVIEW - Carrie Woeck Painting Tutorial using Corel Painter


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  • REVIEW - Carrie Woeck Painting Tutorial using Corel Painter

    ACTUAL TITLE: Carrie Woeck’s “Painted Sports”
    August 2007

    The title SHOULD BE: Carrie Woeck’s “Really Cool Painting Method that she Demonstrates on Sports Images, but Can Be Applied to ANY Image," but it's not.





    I have been following Carrie Woeck’s digital artwork creations for a couple of years now at venues like DPReview, Innographx, PaintOutsideTheFrame and here at RetouchPRO. I remember being awestruck the first time I saw one of her “sports creations” (a basketball image) and was among many who replied something like, “Wow! How in the world did you DO that?”

    I can only imagine how tired she got of trying to explain her method via typed forum posts and e-mail replies. Some things defy written description. I suspect preserving her sanity was among the reasons she decided to create this tutorial, which I’m glad she did. It’s been a blast reviewing it.

    First, check out the example images at If this style appeals to you, keep reading.

    Secondly, everyone has a preferred learning style. If yours is detailed, step-by-step written instructions, stop now and read no further.

    But if you are:
    · A visual learner
    · Fairly new at using Corel Painter and have been bewildered by the overwhelming number of brushes and setting options
    · Among those who have little to no traditional drawing or painting skills
    · Interested in learning how to apply this technique to your own images while further developing your Painter skills
    · Not ready to spend $125 (and up) for video training offered by well-known digital artists (this tutorial is a whole lot less expensive than that), then . . .

    Carrie Woeck’s “Painted Sports” could be the tutorial you have been waiting for.

    The package consists of a page of additional information and instructions, the tutorial DVD and a CD containing practice files and “Den’s Oil Brushes” for Corel Painter, a set crafted by Denise Laurent that includes the popular “Den’s Funky Chunky” variant.

    The tutorial is delivered via a nearly two-hour screen capture video of Carrie transforming a photo of a baseball pitcher (her son, Andrew) into a finished digital painting. Viewing the seven segments is very much like standing behind her watching her do her thing while listening to her running commentary. This is an end-to-end, stroke-by-stroke demonstration with no skips along the way.

    Although the tutorial is based on Photoshop CS and Painter IX, just about any versions of these programs would work. I used Photoshop 7.01 and Painter X under Windows/XP without any problems. Elements or Paint Shop Pro could easily substitute for Photoshop.

    Carrie’s method starts in Photoshop for image preparation. Then the file is saved, closed and then opened in Painter. During in the next five segments she applies strokes with various brushes and settings to every square inch of the image until the painting is completed. No auto-painting, filters, plugins or Photoshop actions are used.

    Throughout the Painter portions of the presentation the "Brush Selector Bar" is always in view, so at any given moment it's easy to see which brush and settings are in effect. In addition Carrie describes how to achieve various painterly effects such as enhancing colors, shadows and highlights.

    In the final Photoshop segment she demonstrates how to achieve a more convincing "canvas look" than what's possible using the Texturizer effect that comes installed with Photoshop or Elements. Final touches are applied at this point to complete the artwork.

    Before trying out Carrie’s method for the first time I watched the video twice, taking notes here and there. Then, I selected an image and got going. See

    · Written instructions via books or the Internet were the source of my learning for many years, but videos for this type of training are now my preferred medium. For those who have yet to experience video training for an image editing or painting program, let me assure you there's a world of difference in terms of grasping techniques quickly between reading steps in a tutorial and watching an expert apply them.
    · As my first painting developed I replayed some segments to refresh my memory on a particular technique or just to watch Carrie "do her magic."
    · From a video production perspective this is pretty much a meat and potatoes offering. No time is wasted on fluffy introductions or wrap-up commentary, there are no glitzy fade-in/fade-out transition effects between segments, no commercials or catchy music. The entire DVD is devoted to training. Period. The instruction starts within two seconds of clicking Play, so pay attention.
    · The end-to-end process is not at all complex, in fact it’s relatively basic in nature. For the most part it’s based on Painter’s cloning functionality, something that appeals to “can barely draw stick figures” people like me. Nonetheless, very impressive and appealing results are possible.
    · Although Carrie's instructions are straight forward and the brushstrokes easy to apply, my first attempt took about three hours to complete; the second took just under two hours.
    · Like any new skill I am becoming more efficient with practice. Now it takes 1¼ - 1½ hours per painting depending on the level of detail. Getting my tablet installed and learning to use a stylus would no doubt speed up the process and level out stroke application consistency.
    · Those new to Painter who are graduating from using filters, plugins and/or Photoshop actions to create digital art will discover this method takes a lot longer to produce results than one-click alternatives. This will not likely be an issue for hobbyists or those making the traditional methods-to-digital transition, who are used to a relaxed pace and enjoy the creative process. Commercial photographers looking to expand product offerings will surely need to consider the non-trivial labor requirement on retail pricing. But take note: accomplished artists like Marilyn Sholin command (and earn) premium rates on these types of transformations. It’s all about perception, marketing and presentation.
    · If one has fundamental Photoshop and Painter skills, i.e., showing/hiding palettes, adding layers, choosing tools/brushes, etc., one should be able to learn Carrie’s method in 2-4 paintings.
    · I’m somewhat beyond rookie status when it comes to using Painter. Nonetheless I picked up some valuable golden nuggets from Carrie’s commentary.
    · Although the tutorial is titled “Painted Sports,” the method can easily be adapted to any type of image.
    · Brushes other than the ones demonstrated can be used. This type of flexibility can inspire Painter users to explore new brushes, options and settings to expedite the unleashing of their creativity.

    There’s a lot to like about this tutorial: An easy to learn method that can yield exceptional results, a flexible process that can be adapted to any kind of image and an attractive price for video training.

    P.S. I just noticed Carrie has a second tutorial in the works, Painting Portraits, which I hope to have the opportunity to review. It is a pleasure learning from someone as skilled as she is.


    Comments and questions welcome.