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Deep Paint from Right Hemisphere

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Deep Paint offers tools that feel natural and work more like traditional drawing and painting tools.

Color, Bump, and Shine... Deep Paint Brings New Dimensions to Digital Art

Dateline: 04/11/00 (This review is based on a older version of Deep Paint than the current version.)

Deep Paint from Right Hemisphere is a standalone program and Photoshop-compatible plug-in that brings real-time material-based 3D paint rendering to your digital art. This means that Deep Paint offers tools that feel natural and work more like traditional drawing and painting tools. Paint has thickness and shine, your canvas has texture, lighting can be adjusted, and brushes are fully customizable. Using Deep Paint with a pressure-sensitive tablet feels incredibly like working with real-life tools. In addition to simulating traditional art media, Deep Paint can be customized in many ways to achieve a variety of effects that go way beyond traditional tools.

When used as a plug-in, Deep Paint does not actually function inside Photoshop, but your image can be passed back and forth between Photoshop and Deep Paint. In addition to Photoshop 5.5, I briefly tested Deep Paint within Paint Shop Pro 6.02, PhotoImpact 5, and Corel Photo-Paint 9 and didn't encounter any problems.

One of the drawbacks to Deep Paint is in its handling of layers. Only the current layer can be passed to Deep Paint and any transparent areas in a layer are lost when the layer is passed back to the parent application. Deep Paint has its own layering system, but any layers added in Deep Paint become flattened when the image is passed back to the primary application. In order to preserve layers created in Deep Paint the file must be saved in Deep Paint's native dp2 format. Because of the limitations with layers, I found that I preferred working in Deep Paint as a standalone application in order to have more memory available.

Deep Paint also supports most of Photoshop's filters and some Photoshop-compatible plug-ins. Supported plug-ins can be selectively applied to the color, bump, or shininess of your paint or any combination of the three.

Deep Paint is primarily a digital artist's tool, but even if you're not an artistic type, there's still quite a lot you can do with it. You can "paint" with textures and objects as well as the huge selection of natural media brushes. You can also add your own textures and image sprays for even more possibilities. One of my personal favorite things about Deep Paint was using the cloners to add artistic effects to photographs.

    Click here to see a before and after image where the clone tool was used.

    Click here to see samples of the various brush and paint settings from the default categories.

The software comes with a Getting Started Guide and a quick reference card of tools and keyboard shortcuts. Additional online documentation and tutorials are provided on the program CD in Adobe Acrobat Reader format. I was impressed with online tutorials. They were quite effective in helping me become familiar with just about every aspect of the software very quickly.

Clearly, you'll get the most enjoyment out of Deep Paint if you use a pressure-sensitive tablet. There are several advanced features that only work with the Wacom Intuos line of tablets. Deep Paint is available for Windows 98/NT4/2000/XP for a suggested retail price of US$249.

On the next few pages, I'll show you some of Deep Paint's command panels and interface elements, starting with the toolbar.

  1. The Toolbar
  2. Presets Panel
  3. Command Panels

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