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Corel Painter 2015 review: Digital art studio betters its best features

Erez Zukerman | Aug. 14, 2014
Corel Painter faces an interesting problem: When you're the best natural-media painting program out there, how do you innovate? What more could you possibly add to get people to buy the new version, Painter 2015?

An illustrator doesn't use the same tools as a photo artist, and a novice user would find either one of these layouts intimidating. So when you start up Painter, you can now opt for a Simple interface with just a handful of large buttons or for the Illustrator or Photo Artist one. Another included layout highlights just the brushes new to Painter 2015 for when you want to try out just the latest and the greatest.

While brushes are at the heart of Painter, sometimes you may want to tweak (or radically change) the look of your entire image. This is where effects come in, and Painter 2015 makes those easier to use, too. While previous versions included image-wide effects, they limited preview to a small thumbnail in the effect dialog. Painter 2015 applies the effect to the full image, letting you see exactly what you're going to get and modify effect settings as needed.

If you're a happy user of Corel Painter X3, I'm not sure any of the new features or improvements should compel you to upgrade. On the other hand, if you've never used Painter, this latest version is better than what came before — not a given when it comes to a mature product like this. Painter was, and remains, a solid and versatile tool for creating digital art.


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