Monday, February 5, 2007
Painter has reached ten—version 10, that is. Officially known as Corel® Painter™ X, this edition continues to innovate with ground-breaking features. I’ve always enjoyed the point in software development when all of the elements—the features, packaging, advertising layouts, and all of the associated details—finally come together. What was several related concepts congeals —the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Painter X is such a release. Painter was founded on the principle of faithfully capturing the artist’s gesture for the purpose of creative expression. Painter X is no exception to the rule.
The new RealBristle Painting System represents a significant evolution in digital paint tools. RealBristle brushes deftly respond to the subtle nuances of the hand, translating this motion into strokes imbued with complex expression. The result are the most realistic digital brush strokes ever seen. Add a Wacom 6D Pen and the results are further enhanced.
Painter began its life primarily known a start-with-a-blank-canvas artist’s tool. In the intervening years, digital technology has engulfed traditional film-based cameras. The digital camera is now ubiquitous to the point of being an accessory on mobile phones. Likewise, Painter has become an accessory to digital cameras. With these two mediums converged, you can now easily dip your paintbrush into a photograph.
Using a photograph as a source image, the enhanced Photo Painting System produces convincing hand-painted results with a single mouse click. This feat is made possible by the Smart Stroke Painting option. Initially analyzing the source image’s content, Smart Strokes dynamically change brush size, stroke length, and pressure based on the detail and focal areas of the original photo. Strokes intelligently follow the forms of the original subject matter. All of this translates into an amazing breakthrough enabling the drawing-challenged to produce remarkable finished art. Smart Stroke Painting is going to be an out-of-the-park homerun for photographers!
In the past, an artist had to pre-mix his color palette to match the painting’s subject matter. Both Painter X’s Match Palette effect and Color Schemes (Underpainting palette) provide the ability to apply another image’s color palette to an existing image. The effect can be deftly subtle—matching the color and tonality of one photograph to another, for example. Or creatively dramatic—applying the palette of Picasso’s Three Musicians to a painting in progress, for example. Try that with traditional tools!
Every time new features are added to Painter, its interface grows. Users, take heart! The new Workspace Manager provides a complete solution for organizing and saving palette, brush, and library visibility. For example, you can now decide which variants you want accessible in each Brush Category, turning off the unused ones in the Workspace Manager (you can turn them back on at any time). Multiple Workspaces can be saved for streamlined workflow depending on the task at hand.
More importantly, saved Workspaces are encapsulated into [b]a single portable file that is easily shared with others—perfect for placing one Workspace with its brushes into many hands. Speaking as an educator, this feature alone makes Painter X worth its weight in gold for teaching workshops.
Both Windows and Mac users have cause for celebration. On the Windows front, Painter X is compatible with Windows Vista™. And on the Mac, Painter is now a Universal Binary, enabling it to run natively on both Intel- and PowerPC-based systems.
Beyond the big features, it is the attention to small details that makes Painter X shine. An Auto-Backup feature, session-independent Color Management, Tracker settings that stay put. Little things, but they add up.
I advise you to now get yourself into a seated position. The printed User Guide has returned! What’s next…a paint can? That’s right, Painter X acknowledges its roots through the offer of a limited edition one-gallon paint can. Both the retail packaging and limited edition include an updated Welcome book showcasing Painter art, poster, and a cool compositional aid.
It may sound cliché, but this is the best version of Painter ever. Corel has paid a great deal of attention to user requests, as well as the small details that add up to a well-oiled creative expressive machine. Painter’s not getting older—it’s getting better!
Looking for the best-of-breed in visually expressive software? X marks the spot!
Viva la Painter X!