How to beat creative block using Painter

08. Exporting the movie

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I make sure the script I want to export is active and shows in the preview window, then click the triangular Play icon. In the box that pops up I name the movie and decide where to save it. It's saved as a Painter Frame Stack file. I make sure there's enough room in the destination folder, because these files can become fairly large.

09. Opening the Frame Stack

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Now I click the Save button, and an Open Frame Stack box appears. There are options for the number of Onion Skin layers visible and the colour depth or Storage Type of the movie.

I change the Storage Type to 15-bit colour with 1-bit alpha, which reduces the size of the movie. I click OK and my movie is automatically painted.

10. Previewing the movie

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Once my movie has finished painting, the Frame Stacks box shows me how many frames have been created and gives me the option to play the movie back at a different frame rate. I go to the File menu at the top of Painter and choose Save As...

Shortcut: Mirror Painting (PC & Mac)

The tilde key, located left of the number 1 on a PC keyboard, toggles Mirror Painting on and off

11. Saving the movie

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The Save Movie box offers five options: Save current frame as image, Save movie as AVI, Save movie as QuickTime, Save movie as numbered files, and Save movie as GIF animation.

I usually save as uncompressed AVI movies at 10 frames per second or as numbered files. I find that these options give me the most flexibility using the output movie.

12. The final movie

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My movie is now complete and ready for any post work, combining, converting and so on. You won't be able to see the Painter interface in the saved movie – all that's recorded is the image itself being painted.

13. Creating a script library

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Once I've painted a number of different heads I put them into their own script library. This makes them easy to find and share. To create a new script library I go to the top-right menu in the Scripts window and choose New Script Library. In the Save dialog I name my new library Faces and click OK.

Tip: Record your starting setup

In the Script Options there's a Record Initial State box. Tick this and the script will use all the program features as currently configured. If the box is unticked the script will only record the brush strokes. This can be useful to test new brushes and the like, but can cause unexpected results if the script is used with program settings different from those in place when the script was recorded.

14. Copying the face scripts

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Now I simply drag and drop all my face scripts into the new library. A blue bar and blue arrow appear when the script is successfully placed and I can release my pen or mouse button.

Words: Don Seegmiller

Don Seegmiller is an artist, author and instructor. He's part of the faculty and coordinates the Illustration Program of the Art and Visual Communication Department at Utah Valley University. This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine issue 123.

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