Painter 12 - Brush Calibration

So I'm putting Real Watercolor aside… but only for a while. I'll come back to this topic soon enough.  ;)  This week I would like to write about another new brush feature in Painter 12: Brush Calibration.


If you open the brush controls, you will see a new panel called Brush Calibration.




If you are familiar with Brush Tracking, think of this as the ability to have customized brush tracking for each brush.  You can still adjust your Brush Tracking settings the same way as in previous versions of Painter,  but now you can choose to have certain brushes override these settings and use their own customized calibration.  If the brush has the "Enable Brush Calibration" option checked, it will override the global Brush Tracking settings and use customized settings.



For a long time, Painter has had the ability to calibrate the brushes according to your tablet sensitivity.  For example, if you typically press hard on your stylus, you can calibrate Painter so that it will take this into account when rendering the brush strokes.


This brush uses pressure to control to width of the stroke:



You normally calibrate your tablet sensitivity in the Brush Tracking preferences dialog.  To do this, you can adjust the sliders manually, or more likely, you can create a sample stroke. If you create a stroke, Painter records your pressure as well as the speed at which you did the stroke.  These settings are then used when you paint with various brushes.  If you use a brush that takes pressure or velocity into account, these settings will affect your brush strokes.




Without setting up Brush Tracking, it can be harder to get smooth strokes.  In this image, the second stroke was created after calibrating my tablet sensitivity in the Brush Tracking preferences. If you find you have unexpected transitions in brush size, opacity or other, this might be a sign that you need to adjust your brush tracking.





In some cases, however, you may want some brushes to be more pressure sensitive than others.  Or, possibly you want some brushes to use velocity in a very different way.  Prior to Painter 12, you would need to go to Brush Tracking every time you wanted your brush to behave differently.  And this would affect ALL brushes afterwards.  Now, with the new Brush Calibration panel, each brush can have customized pressure and velocity settings.


You can manually adjust the sliders on the panel, and you can also record strokes for customized brush calibration by pressing this button:



In Painter 12, there is 1 brush that uses Brush Calibration by default.  You will find it in the airbrushes category:

- Digital Soft Velocity


This brush uses velocity to control the width of the stroke, and pressure to control the opacity. 



Here is a sample stroke done with that brush:


I decided to create a new brush for this blog post.  It uses velocity to control the brush size, and uses custom Brush Calibration to control the effect of the velocity.  The velocity scale and velocity power sliders can be modified to adjust how the velocity impacts the brush.



Here is a sample stroke:


You can download the brush here: Velocity Pen


Feedback and comments are always welcome!!!








  • Hi Chris,

    Very interesting blog entry.  I played with the new Velocity Pen and found that to get similar results as your example, Velocity Scale had to be at 7.00 and Velocity Power needed to be at 1.5, which is a big difference from your settings. This experiment convinces me of the power of brush calibration.  Prior to this play, I had thought brush calibration was cool, but I had gotten along with only brush tracking in Painter 11 so it wasn't a big deal.  But really is an impressive new feature.

    Now for a hard question.  I have struggled with trying to write a definition of Velocity Scale, Pressure Scale, Velocity Power and Pressure Power. Can you write one?  I think others would like to have one, too. Or maybe the Help files team could write one for us.

    Thanks again for this great blog,


  • Wow - thanks, Chris!  Great explanation and I just love what this Velocity Pen can do!  Think Liquid Ink without the need for a special layer.  I'm a real newbie when it comes to tweaking brushes but this sure did help.  Now - off to play with more brush tweaking!



  • Hi Skip and Gino,

    thanks for the feedback, glad you find this interesting :)

    To Skip:

    I think that you may get different results depending on how fast you use the brush and so on.   Because velocity is so dependent on the user, it's probably hard to find settings that work well for everyone. As you noticed though, it's useful to be able to adjust velocity settings on a per brush level.  

    I find that making a small manual changes to the settings can sometimes make a big change.

    I'll try to answer your question:

    Velocity Scale is essentially tied to what Painter expects your maximum speed to be.

    Velocity Power is what Painter expects your typical range of velocities to be.

    SImilarily, Pressure Scale is tied to your maximum pressure.

    And Pressure Power is tied to the range of pressure you typically use with your stylus.

    This also reminds me of another advanced tip you can do... I will edit the blog entry for this tip...

  • Thanks Chris,

    The definitions were helpful as was the extra info.


  • Thank you, velocity pen is really nice and the info very helpful!


  • Hi Paolo,

    glad you like the velocity pen.  It's a favorite of mine :)

  • I downloaded the zip file for the Velocity pen. But when I extracted it the files were empty (0 kb   size).