Add some new tools to your digital paintbrush and easel
As soon as you launch Painter 2016 you’re shown a redesigned welcome screen that gives you access to helpful tutorial videos. This is a great way to discover more about Painter’s new features, even if you’ve used an older version.
Like its predecessors, the 2016 edition has an abundance of brushes and effects. Some are obvious, like watercolour and paint brushes, but there are a number of new and more unusual effects, such as the rather fun Dynamic Speckles. Though we found a lot of the brushes in this set to be fairly ordinary during our experimentation, the Particle Firestarter Glow gave a nice random ‘firework’-type effect.
Another effect that we really liked was the Audio Expression brush. We had a few problems getting this working at first, but after tweaking a few settings we soon saw our brushes’ size, colour and other attributes changing in time to our music. When this tool is combined with other brushes you can get some interesting and unique results. It makes for a fun addition to your toolset, although we doubt it will get much use after the novelty has worn off.
Painter is by far the best digital easel out there, and this new version maintains that status. With plenty of tools and functionality packed in, we certainly think that it’s well worth the money if you’re after a great app for creating digital art.
That said, if you already have Painter 2015, the new features probably aren’t worth the money – even though you can upgrade for £159 (about half the cost of a new copy). Yes, the new tools are fun, but consider carefully whether they will be a key part of your toolset once their novelty has worn off. James Robinson
Great software for the professional and amateur alike – and at a reasonable price, too.