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Drawing Clouds in Piranesi

This tutorial is going to demonstrate how to use the mouse to draw clouds with a watercolor effect brush in Piranesi. You will be using the mouse to achieve this effect as not everyone may have the use of a graphics tablet. The final picture is a SkecthUp model completed with this process for the clouds.

Step One:

In Piranesi select  File> New. The following window will open. Select Create an Epix file and then click Next.

image-1-cloudsThe following window will open. Do not modify any parameters and just click Finish.


Step Two:

Select the brush tool. Click on the top left corner ‘Style Selector’ and select ‘Piranesi Tools’ and ‘Brush marks’ from the drop down menus.  Select the brush mark ‘Powdery paint’


Step Three:

Adjust the brush parameters. Go to the toolbar to the top right where it says Grain, Opacity and Blend. Leave Grain unchecked. Set Opacity to 50 % and select ‘Ink’ for Blend.


Next, click on the blue circle to the right of the blend panel. This is the ‘Radial fade’ button. Then click on the “>>” icon which is for more detailed grain and fade settings. Set Radial fade to 2D mode – You are going to select the centre or the most saturated part of the fade by clicking on ‘pick…’ and clicking once in the drawing area. Now make sure ‘Place centre at start of stroke’ is ticked. Now you are going to choose the range of the fade. Click on ‘Pick…’next to the Range box and drag your brush to the right to determine the range of fade. You can also type in the range you want, so let’s set it at about 138-140. You can experiment with these settings to get the brush stroke you want.


In the Tool Options toolbar (top left) adjust the Angle of the brush to -83 degrees, so that the brush strokes will be set to vertical. Set the brush pixel size to 120-125. You can experiment with the brush sizes if you want and see what difference it makes. For now we will use these settings below.


Step Four:

You are now ready for drawing. Experiment now using the path of the mouse. If you drag the mouse quickly you would get a “sand pen” effect. If you drag slowly the start point is dark fading out to your settings.


If you do not want a “sand pen” effect then you can modify the parameters of the brush as follows:

In the Tool Options toolbar shown here, click on “>>” icon


In the dialog window that opens use the following settings.


You can see, Repeat and the setting ‘Normal’ this is the default option. In this setting if the mouse is dragged quickly, it is possible that some parts can not be drawn thus the gaps you get. If you drag slowly, then it will be uniform in all areas of the painting.

With Repeat ‘Continuous’ selected regardless of how fast you drag the mouse it will be evenly colored from saturated to fade.  You only need to change the Repeat option to Continuous to get this effect.


In this way when dragging the mouse again you will find that the effect has changed.

Step Five:

Combination Strokes. Attention to the convergence of the brush strokes can be used to complete the local halo. The converging faded halo can also be used in places where it has not begun to converge.

Various combinations:


You can also be flexible with brush application and other functions, such as change the existing overlay mode (Blend) for ‘Paint’. It is all a process of experimentation once you have the basic brush setup and using different strokes.


Final image using this process for the clouds.


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