Painting innovation Corel’s latest version of Painter brings new technology for natural-looking brushes while keeping bloat at bay
After a few iterations of a product, there’s a tendency for the program to become stale as features are bolted on, but Corel’s Painter 2017 navigates around this minefield with considerable finesse. While it does feature some brilliant new brush technology, there’s also been some careful consideration into making Painter 2017 a more streamlined and customisable experience.
If you were new to previous versions of Painter it was easy to become overwhelmed by the many tools at your disposal, and it could be a chore to navigate through them. So it’s great to see how 2017 has made life easier. The Brush Selector still divides tools into categories, but each brush within is nestled into the right-hand side and hovering over it gives you a preview, making it that much quicker to find the ideal brush.
The overall layout is considerably less cluttered now too, with the enhanced Properties bar showing context-relevant options and the ability to show temporary fly-out menus or pop-out custom options if needed. These can also be sorted into custom Palette drawers that are easily minimised, resulting in far fewer palettes obscuring your workspace.
Painter 2017’s new offerings include Dab stencils, Glazing brushes and Texture painting brushes, which are great on their own, but more impressively can all be used with each other. Dab stencils give you control over how paper textures affect tools, which enables you to paint in a more natural-looking manner. You can choose from multiple Flow maps and adjust their sizes to suit your needs. Glazing brushes, meanwhile, make it possible to tint existing paint, or to add a translucent texture effect.
The overall layout is considerably less cluttered now… there are far fewer palettes obscuring your workspace
There are two categories of Texture brush: texture cover and texture source blending. Texture cover enables you to choose from multiple textures that are transformable, so that you can cover the specific area you need. You can change the texture on the fly, which means you can quickly vary the texture painting, making it feel much more analogue and unique. Texture source blending, perhaps as the name suggests, makes it possible to add textures that blend nicely with the source image you’re painting on to.
If you’re an artist who loves digital, but strives for a more random and organic feel to your work, these new features are perfect for you, especially when you combine them. Overall, Painter 2017 is a well-crafted and versatile addition to Corel’s catalogue. It’s a worthwhile update for existing users, or a great time to jump in if you’ve never tried Painter before.
Painter’s strengths may lie in its traditional media tools, but the program can still handle ‘cleaner’ art styles such as manga, as Hector Sevilla’s art shows. Dab Stencils enable you to make gorgeously textured and detailed work, like this nebula.
Emulate the work of Renaissance masters by laying down translucent brush strokes, with the new Glazing brushes. Now you can blend your own textures into your art using a range of brush settings such as pressure.