TUTORIAL: Blast Marks using Painter
Here's my first in what I hope to be a useful set of tutorials for budding game artists. Though I'm hoping it may also be of some use to anyone who wants to produce the effect of a blast mark or light flare in their artwork.
While the example I'm going to show here is specifically a blast as if produced by a violent explosion on a surface, By appropriately picking a light yellow colour the technique can be used to produce a convincing sun with rays, or a halo for a bright light.
I'll include little notes as to how you can modify the process to give different effects.
I *think* you should be able to do this with any version of Painter after 4.
Editor's Note: Many of the same effects in this tutorial can also be achieved in Photoshop with the default filters.

Step 1

Fire up painter and create a blank image, I used 256 square but size really isn't important :).
Open the growth effect [Menu > Effects > Esoterica > Growth ] and and set the sliders to something like the image below, what you're aiming for is a nice ball of sticks with a good solid center of black.

Once you have some settings you like, drag horizontally in your image from the center out so the circular marquee covers about 3/4 of your image. This will actually plot the growth pattern on your image. Now press OK on the growth menu to finish.

Step 2

This step might not be necessary if you have dense black in the centre of your growth pattern, as you can see with mine I had some patches of white in the middle. Use a big [digital airbrush] to get rid of the white spots in the centre of the growth pattern.

Step 3

This is kind of the final step to getting a basic blast pattern. Open the zoom blur tool [Menu > Effects > Focus> Zoom Blur] and move the slider up to about half way (depending on the precise effect you want). You should get a result as below. If you want the blast to look as if it was created my a projectile hitting your surface at an acute angle, you can click in your image, away from the center of the blast, while the zoom tool is active.

Offset zoom blur.

That's the basic technique, but there's lots of fun stuff you can do once you've got your basic blast....
Apply surface texture [Menu > Effects > Surface Control > Apply Surface Texture] , this old favorite will make your blast look like it damaged the surface on impact. Use the [image luminance] to get the right effect.

Glass distortion[Menu > Effects > Focus > Glass Distortion] can give lots of good results if you play...
Space explosion. Using [image luminance] in the glass distortion menu

Gas cloud. Using [Paper] in the glass distortion menu

Once you've created your blast you can paste it as an[overlay] or [gel] layer onto your texture, or convert it to a decal or sprite for use in your game.

Note for layering Blasts

Sadly the growth effect can only be used on the canvas .
If you want it layered, make your growth pattern on the canvas (maybe in another image from the one you are working on).

Use [Menu > Select > auto select] or [Menu > Select > colour select] to marquee the growth pattern, then float the growth. (alt-left click). Off topic:- filling the growth at this point with a hot radial grad (yellow to red), with 'preserve transparency' ON is a good way of colouring for a sun effect.

Make sure you have 'preserve transparency' turned OFF, then perform the zoom blur.

Alternatively float the canvas and set the layer to gel/overlay/magic combine for some wild effects over coloured backgrounds.

Other things to do with Blasts

If you capture your blasts as brushes, you can get some interesting effects. For instance the 'gas cloud' image captured with the digital airbrush gives you something that looks like a stencil brush, and capturing the base blast with your brush set to pepper spray gives you a kind of fairy dust effect.

Of course you can make a whole bunch of blast patterns, turn them into a nozzle and paint with machine-gun impacts!

Happy Blasting!

-- Evile

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