Lifting the Dampers off SaveRestoreDamping
More advanced Painter users will probably be familiar with the Damping control slider in the Spacing section of the Brush Controls. For those of you who aren’t, below is a screenshot (Painter 11 in this example).
The Damping brush control (I believe first introduced in Painter 6), was incorporated to allow smoothing of otherwise jagged brush strokes. This is not to be confused with anti-aliasing, but rather it controls the transitions between points along the stroke path. Whilst higher values yield a smoother stroke, there may be an accompanying brush stroke lag, especially at or near maximum 100% Damping. A Damping setting of 50% is suggested as a rule of thumb.
Although pixel-based dab types can make use of the Damping settings, the feature was primarily intended work with rendered dab types (outlined in the Painter 11 Dab Type menu in the screenshot below). In this version, Damping control for Artists’ Oils, Blend Camel Hair and Blend Flat are grayed out and unavailable.
SaveRestoreDamping | SaveRestoreMouseParams
In a Painter xml file, the damping setting is found in the <stroke-path-parameters section. For example, damping=”0.5″ equates to a Brush Controls Damping slider setting of 50%. SaveRestoreDamping and SaveRestoreMouseParams are dab-flags which in turn enable the Damping setting (current at the time the variant was saved) and the settings in the Brush Controls > Mouse section (again current at the time of saving), to be restored to their default ‘as saved’ values.
Unfortunately, due to a bug in Painter (and possibly that some of the variants were initially imported into Painter 7 from a pre-Painter 6 version which did not have the Damping option), it now means that a significant number of default and ‘extra content’ variants have one or both of the required dab-flags missing in the xml. This problem is multiplied by the fact that if a custom variant is then created using a starting variant with either of the above flags missing, then the corresponding flag will also be absent in the new variant.
For the casual Painter user, this may not be a big issue, but for those who finely tune the brush settings and create their own custom variants, not being able to save and restore a particular setting may be a handicap.
As an example, launch Painter (any version from 8 upwards), and select the Wet Acrylic 10 variant from the default Painter Brushes > Acrylics category. Now in the Brush Controls > Spacing section, move the Damping slider to the left or right, then select Restore Default Variant from the Brush Selector Bar menu. You should observe that the Damping slider setting has not moved from the new position. If we open this variant in a text editor, we see that the dab-flags line reads;
dab-flags=”NewFormat|SaveRestoreMouseParams”. What this line should actually read is;
Although I can trace the issue with missing dab-flags right back to Painter 7 (the first version to use the xml format brush variant files), in the following pdf I have included lists of all default Painter variants in Painter X and 11, which do not have a SaveRestoreDamping flag. The pdf also includes a list of variants from the current ‘Download Painter 11 Content’ Brushes, as well as a list of find and replace search strings to restore missing dab-flags in Painter variant xml files.
For Mac users, I have created two AppleScripts to automate the restoration of the missing dab flags – please see my next article: Restoring Missing Painter Variant xml dab-flags (Mac OSX Leopard).
For Windows users, currently the only solution seems to be manually add the missing flags in a text editor However, I have included information in the above pdf which may assist someone in developing an application or other multiple find and replace method for the Windows platform. There is also a zipped folder mirroring the information contained in the pdf, but in plain text format;
Dab_flags_info.zip (8 KB)