Painter 2015

Par­ti­cle Acc el­er­a­tor Painter’s cel­e­brated brush tech­nol­ogy gets an up­date – is it enough to jus­tify the ex­pense of up­grad­ing?

ImagineFX - - Reviews -

While Adobe has em­braced soft­ware sub­scrip­tions to much of its prod­uct line, Corel is stick­ing to the payup-front model. The lat­est ver­sion of its evergreen Painter soft­ware is a case in point: you can buy a boxed copy or a dig­i­tal down­load, but there are no rolling sub­scrip­tion packs or seam­less up­dates.

Where Painter al­ways moves for­wards is in its brush tech­nol­ogy, which is its big sell­ing point and its rai­son d’etre. Corel seem­ingly ex­hausted its sup­ply of real-world brushes and medi­ums a few years ago, and has there­fore moved on to more ab­stract cre­ations. With Painter 2015, it’s the in­tro­duc­tion of par­ti­cle brushes.

If you’re fa­mil­iar with Flame Painter you’ll know what to ex­pect from these an­i­mated brushes. The Par­ti­cle Spring brush, for in­stance, con­sists of a num­ber of points that fol­lows your cur­sor, spring­ing back­wards and for­wards as you build mo­men­tum and trail­ing off if you draw a sharp an­gle, re­sult­ing in a gauzy, wispy line. Par­ti­cle

Par­ti­cle Ef­fects are best suited to adding sub­tle ef­fects such as a fine curl of cig­a­rette smoke or a cob­web

Flow Yeti, on the other hand, cre­ates ran­domised pat­terns of coarse hair: per­fect for paint­ing fan­tasy beasts.

These brushes don’t act like real-life brushes, and this is the point. Each takes a lit­tle get­ting used to, and it’s worth start­ing with a blank can­vas to ex­per­i­ment on. They’re best suited to adding sub­tle ef­fects, such as a fine curl of cig­a­rette smoke or a cob­web. They’re ad­justable, too, so you can use the Par­ti­cle Flow Sparkler with a large brush size to cre­ate a ga­lac­tic sky, rather than the fo­cused glim­mer­ing light points it was in­tended for.

There are a few other tweaks in the 2015 ver­sion, too, such as RealBris­tle brushes that re­al­is­ti­cally re­spond to the pres­sure, speed and tilt of your Wa­com sty­lus, and brush track­ing so you can change how hard you have to press to get your vir­tual ink flow­ing. There’s also many un­der-the-hood en­hance­ments, such as sup­port for 64-bit pro­ces­sors, and cus­tom pal­ette and tool ar­range­ments.

Painter is still one of the best pieces of dig­i­tal art soft­ware we’ve come across, but while the new fea­tures – es­pe­cially the par­ti­cle brushes – are great, there are no mas­sive leaps here.

This begs the ques­tion, should Corel make Painter a sub­scrip­tion-based soft­ware, of­fer­e­ing ad­di­tions and tweaks as in­ter­net-based up­dates, rather than to­tally new ver­sions of the soft­ware? It’s a hot, de­vi­sive, topic, that Corel may have to broach be­fore the next it­er­a­tion comes out. For now, 2015 is a wor­thy ad­di­tion to the fam­ily

An­droid Jones’ For­ward Es­cape shows the in­cred­i­bly de­tailed work you can cre­ate with Painter.

The lat­est dig­i­tal art re­sources are put to the test by the Imag­ineFX team…

Painter’s win­dow lay­outs means you can see just about ev­ery­thing at once, while keep­ing your workspace clean.

A nice touch is that Par­ti­cle Brushes have in-depth de­scrip­tions and di­a­grams, so you can find out what to ad­just to achieve par­tic­u­lar re­sults.

SmartStroke tech­nol­ogy en­ables you to fol­low the con­tours of pho­tos with a brush.

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