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Painting with a reference

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Matt Cheah
Painting with a reference
on Sep 30, 2009 at 6:27:04 am


Is there any way to paint onto a layer but be able to see another layer behind it so as to have a reference to what I'm painting? The only thing I can think of is painting directly onto a layer and then transferring the paint to another layer, but this is a big pain if I've precomposed everything.

Thank you,

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scott novasic
Re: Painting with a reference
on Sep 30, 2009 at 7:13:25 am

wouldnt just using a compositing mode work, experimenting with which one would be the way I would go about it. Possibly use a toon effect or a find edges and overlay that with a multiply or darken only as kind of a sketch reference....

Animation & Visual Effects
Scott Novasic
Los Angeles Ca

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Matt Cheah
Re: Painting with a reference
on Sep 30, 2009 at 7:32:15 am

But when you paint you can only paint in the layer panel, correct? Therefore regardless of what compositing mode you're on or the transparency of your layer as a whole, you cannot see anything else in the composition when painting on that layer.

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anita sancha
Re: Painting with a reference
on Sep 30, 2009 at 9:12:32 am


yes please someone come back with an answer to this, this has also been a big problem to me.

I want to draw a detailed house with each line on different layers and did not know even where the roof joins the house. I will probably do this in Photoshop and import composition and then effect/stroke each line to each layer (about 100 layers) from Photoshop (more labor though...) But I am trying Corel Painter to get around this.

In AE it would be extremely useful, if we could assign a comp as a tracing paper overlay on to a layer when painting. One solution is to print out an image of a comp the correct size onto overhead projector film and sellotape this to the monitor and then draw!!! WOW!!!!

Thanks for all your help
Anita Sancha.

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Paul Hennell
Re: Painting with a reference
on Oct 1, 2009 at 4:42:25 pm

I don't have direct experience with this, but have done something similar where I found a usable solution.

Assuming you're using windows, install this Power Menu program. Then take a screen shot of what you want to trace, and open in a (light-weight) image viewing program.

Using the power menu features, set After Effects transparency so you can see the window behind. You should (Provided the computer copes with it - I wasn't using AE and can't speak for your computer, so don't know how well this will work!) be able to paint, seeing through the AE interface to the picture beneath.

Alternatively you can use a picture as a reference photo, by using Power Menu's "always on top" setting, keeping the picture always at the front. Just move it to the side, so you can see it as you paint.

It's not exactly perfect, but it works.

Only in after effects do children get to pick and whip their parents.

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