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Corel Painter 12

Creative Art Studio Software for Windows and Macintosh

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating
User Rating 1 Star Rating (1 Review)

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Corel Painter 12

Corel Painter 12 Anniversary Edition

© Corel
Corel Painter is the ultimate creative art studio software for Windows and Macintosh. If your talents lean toward the artistic, Corel Painter is a must-have tool for maximum creative expression in a digital environment. With textured surfaces, brushes, and tools, you can mimic painting and drawing with chalk, pastels, watercolors, oils, crayons, pencil, felt pens, ink, and so much more.

Painter Features:

  • Hundreds of brushes in over 30 mediums with the ability to customize or create new brushes with infinite variety. Painter brush mediums include: acrylics, airbrushes, artists oils, blenders, calligraphy pens, chalks, charcoal, cloners, colored pencils, conté, crayons, digital watercolor, distortion, erasers, felt pens, gouache, impasto, liquid ink, oil pastels, oils, palette knives, pastels, pattern pens, pencils, pens, photo, sponges, sumi-e, tinting and watercolor.

  • Paper textures that interact with your brush strokes like traditional media.

  • Artists' Oils which work like traditional oil paints. Artists' Oils let you pick up blended colors on your brush, blend paints on the canvas, and apply strokes with a finite amount of paint that runs out as you paint.

  • Liquid Ink technology that mimics the viscosity and surface texture of a thick, gluey medium.

  • Watercolor technology that closely simulates true watercolor painting and remains "wet" between sessions.

  • Impasto brushes for thick dimensional paint that builds up texture.

  • RealBristle brushes which behave more like real brushes against the canvas.

  • Divine Proportion and Layout Grid composition tools to aid in visual arrangement of the composition.

  • Cloning and tracing tools to create new artwork based on another image or photo. The Quick Clone feature sets up an image for cloning in one step.

  • Image hoses and pattern pens that allow you to paint with photographic images and patterns.

  • A Mixer Palette that allows you to mix paint colors interactively.

Corel Painter 12 User Interface

Corel Painter 12 User Interface (Click to Enlarge)

© Corel
  • The Match Palette effect for duplicating colors between two images.

  • A Brush Creator tool for designing and customizing brushes interactively. Within the Brush Creator users can test their brush creations on a scratchpad area.

  • A Brush Tracker palette which provides access to the last 24 brushes used while working on a painting.

  • Snap-to-path painting lets users constrain a brush stroke to a path or shape.

  • A text tool that supports curved text, text on a path, shadows, and other text effects.

  • Perspective grids to aid in setting up and drawing three dimensional images.

  • Dodge and Burn tools for lightening and darkening areas in a photo in preparation for painting.

  • Effects filters and plugins for correcting color, retouching images, adding special effects. Dynamic plugins that can be modified on the fly without modifying the source image. Painter also supports most Photoshop-compatible plugins.

  • KPT Effects Filters: Gel, Goo, LensFlare, Lightning, Pyramid Paint, Reaction, and ShapeShifter.

  • A scripting engine that lets you record any series of operations and play them back with one click to automate your work or create movies. Scripts are automatically saved and can help you recover your work in the event of a system crash.

  • Tools for creating and editing animations and video.

  • Vector-based drawing tools and shapes.

  • Customizable workspace layouts and custom keyboard shortcuts.

  • Color management.

  • Photoshop compatibility. Users can save and open layered PSD files, keeping layers intact and preserving layer masks, layer sets, alpha channels, and blend modes.

New in Painter 12:

  • Updated and modernized user interface supporting customizable workspaces which can quickly be loaded and swapped out.

  • Real Watercolor and Real Wet Oil brush categories which provide new levels of control such as wind angle and force, evaporation rate, water viscosity, brush wetness, and more.

  • Mirror and Kaleidoscope painting modes - Mirror painting lets you paint or sketch with symmetry so that your brushstrokes on one side of the canvas are mirrored on the other. You can work with a horizontal or vertical mirror place, or enable both at the same time. In Kaleidoscope mode, this concept goes even further, expanding the mirrored effect from 3 to 12 planes for creating intricate mandala effects and geometric designs. A new glow brush in the FX category works well with the kaleidoscope painting mode.

  • Gel brush category - This new group of brushes paints by tinting the underlying canvas colors with its color. A new merge mode brush control in the general brush control panel allows you to customize the gel brushes.

  • Computed circular brush control provides control for the color density at the outer edge of the brush dab. Six new Digital Airbrushes utilize this new computer circular control to produce effects similar to blend modes.

  • The brush selector has been streamlined and redesigned for improved efficiency, with categories and variants combined into a single view. Also, several categories of brushes were combined to reduce the clutter of the brush selector.

  • A new Navigator panel provides a preview of the entire document and allows for easier navigation when zooming in or working on large documents. The Navigator also provides easy access to zoom controls, and displays document information.

  • Temporal Colors palette allows you to quickly make color changes on the fly by opening a floating color palette directly in the document window where you are working.

  • New image presets let you save custom settings for dimensions, resolution, color, and paper texture when starting a new painting.

  • High Quality Display option displays your image smoothly when zoomed in, instead of seeing a pixelated view at higher magnifications.

  • Dynamic angle and squeeze brush adjustments can be made right in the document window like you could in the previous version for size and opacity.

  • Smart Blur filter smoothes out colors and reduces details to prepare a photo for painting.

  • Multicore support for brushes improves performance on multicore-equipped computers.

  • The Clone Source Palette allows you to clone from multiple images without combining them into separate layers and makes it easier to combine elements from several different images.

  • Native 64-bit support for Windows (Mac 64-bit support coming later).

Pros
  • Immense variety of natural media tools to realistically simulate traditional media.
  • PDF User Guide and downloadable video tutorials ease the learning curve.
  • Continued improvement to speed, stability, and compatibility.
  • Windows and Mac versions provided on one disc.
Cons
  • Steep learning curve for artists unfamiliar with graphics software.
  • Some interface elements are cumbersome (for example, small dialog boxes and tiny sliders).
  • The user interface is not optimized for pen use in many areas.
  • Runs slow, bogs down often, and crashes at times.

Guide Summary

Real Watercolor Brushes in Painter 12

Real Watercolor Brushes in Painter 12 bring even more control and realism to the digital watercolor painting experience. (Click to Enlarge)

© Corel
Corel Painter is like a well-stocked artist's studio, without the mess. With textured surfaces, brushes, and tools, you can mimic painting and drawing with chalk, pastels, watercolors, oils, crayons, pencil, felt pens, ink, and more. Painter also offers non-traditional tools such as image hose, pattern pens, cloners, and special effects. While its strong point is its artistic toolset, Painter also offers features for photo enhancement, Web graphics creation, animation, and working with text.

Alone or as a companion to Photoshop, Painter brings the maximum in artistic possibilities to digital artists and creative professionals. Keep in mind that you'll need a pressure-sensitive graphics tablet to get the most satisfaction out of Painter.

Rather than try to explain all that you can do with Painter, it's easier if I can show you! Have a look through the gallery of Corel Painter digital art created by our members.

Corel Painter Digital Art Gallery

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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