Painter Es­sen­tials 5

Must have We find out if a cut-down ver­sion of Corel Painter is worth an as­pir­ing artist’s time

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ainter Es­sen­tials 5 is the

P lat­est ver­sion of Corel’s an­swer to Pho­to­shop El­e­ments. Un­like the stan­dard Painter soft­ware, which has a rather steep price of £282 and is used by pro artists, Painter Es­sen­tials 5 is aimed at peo­ple who cre­ate dig­i­tal art as a hobby, rather than as their day job.

This means it has a far more palat­able price tag, along with some more user-friendly tools and help­ful how-to guides. Un­sur­pris­ingly, how­ever, some of the more pow­er­ful art tools present in Painter aren’t on of­fer in Es­sen­tials 5.

One of the big­gest hints that Es­sen­tials 5 is aimed at as­pir­ing rather than pro artists lies in the Photo Art tool, which en­ables you to choose a dig­i­tal photo and turn into what Corel claims to be a “beau­ti­ful work of art” in just three steps.

You can choose from a num­ber of pre­set styles such as Oil Paint­ing and Im­pres­sion­ist, and Painter Es­sen­tials will paint over the photo in the cho­sen style. The re­sults vary, and if you think you’ll get a piece of art with just one click of the mouse then you’ll be dis­ap­pointed. How­ever, it’s a good way to see how the tools in Painter Es­sen­tials 5 work. You can also tweak and re­fine the im­age man­u­ally, giv­ing be­gin­ners a good plat­form to work from. Another good fea­ture for as­pir­ing artists is that when you start a new paint­ing, you’ll be shown ex­am­ples of art­work with tem­plates and brush sug­ges­tions.

Cre­at­ing dig­i­tal art from scratch is easy, and like the more ex­pen­sive ver­sion Es­sen­tials 5 en­ables you to choose the ma­te­rial of the can­vas be­fore you be­gin. This sub­tly af­fects the brushes and draw­ing tools you use to cre­ate your art. Even though this fea­ture is tai­lored to­wards those start­ing out in dig­i­tal art, the at­ten­tion to de­tail is im­pres­sive, with dif­fer­ent brushes and paints re­act­ing to the can­vas ma­te­rial in dif­fer­ent ways.

If you’re keen to start cre­at­ing dig­i­tal art with a tra­di­tional feel, but want to keep your costs down for now then Painter Es­sen­tials 5 is well worth your time. You can try it for your­self by down­load­ing a 30-day trial ver­sion from the Corel web­site.

The Photo Art tool pro­duces var­ied re­sults, but black

and white land­scape shots

work well.

The wel­come screen sets out its stall as a more be­gin­ner-ori­en­tated tool, with plenty of ad­vice and guides to get you started.

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