Corel Painter 2016 review by Dee Marie
Corel Painter 2016
review by Dee Marie
review by Dee Marie
Corel Painter 2016 is the ultimate digital paint program. What sets it apart is an extensive assortment of lifelike Natural-Media paintbrushes, paints, interactive papers, and specialty art-tools. For digital artists, once you go Painter, you will never go back to your previous painting app. Painter 2016 upholds its goal of, “giving digital artists the inspiration they need to keep their work fresh.”
Top New Painter 2016 Features
Audio Expression Brushes
Paint with sound. Within Painter 2016 are a variety of new brushes that react to the intonations of vocal cords and the beat of music. Brush elements are linked to either an internal or external audio input, which in turn flows to the rhythm of your imagination. Be sure to Enable Audio Input in the Audio Settings Panel. Also within specific Brush Panels you will need to click on the Enable Audio Expression box.
A: Enable Audio Input in Audio Settings Panel / B: Enable Audio Expression in specific Brush Panels
Dynamic Speckles Brushes
The Dynamic Speckles Brushes are unique because they generate speckles within a brushstroke as you paint, utilizing the innovative ‘Particle System physics and brush thickness control.’ This new function comes to life when combining it with options inside the different Brush Panels (such as Blending and Color Variability), providing infinite brush variations.
Special Media Brushes
The new dab types use both Particles and Liquid Ink dabs, and Particles and Watercolor dabs, to create a distinct painting experience with more brush variants. The new Liquid Ink Special Media Brushes are: Liquid Ink Gravity Particles, Liquid Ink Flow Particles, and Liquid Ink Spring Particles. The new Watercolor Special Media Brushes are: Watercolor Gravity Particles, Watercolor Flow Particles, and Watercolor Spring.
Adobe Photoshop Brush File Import
You can now import ABR (Adobe Brush Resource) files as image stamps into Painter 2016. This means you can import the Dabs [the brush tips] not the full functionality of an ABR brush. Although imported ABR brushes do retain the shape, texture, and dynamics of the brush, they do not function exactly like they do in Photoshop. However, with a little tweaking within Painter’s numerous Brush Panels, the imported ABR’s react similar to their Adobe Photoshop counterparts.
Using the imported Special Effect Butterfly ABR brush (with Brush Panel options) as a new Painter brush
Interface Color Themes
New to Painter 2016 is the ability to change its interface color themes: Default Grey, Dark Grey, Frost, and Sepia. I found this new feature disappointing. First, there are no thumbnail examples of the new color themes within the preference/interface screen. Also, there was no preview available for the new interface color themes … Painter has to be restarted to view the selected color theme.
For this review, I installed Painter 2016 on my laptop with a Windows 10 OS. Unfortunately, I was unable to test the new interface color themes. Following the instructions, I restarted Painter after choosing a new interface color theme. When the interface remained the default grey, I then restarted the computer and launched Painter again. I even reset Painter to its original factory settings. The interface color theme remained the default grey no matter what I tried.
This is a small glitch, and as all of the other features and functions work as they were intended to, I’m assuming this was merely a conflict with the Windows 10 OS.
Enhanced Layer Blending
The Enhanced Layer Blending can be enabled within the Blending Panel. This new layer blending option provides blending brushstrokes, minus the white fringe that appeared in previous versions. This is a huge improvement; enhancing the painterly blending effects.
A: With Enhanced Layer Blending / B: Without Enhanced Layer Blending
Paper and Flow Map Rotation
Keeping with its theme of replicating a realist painting experience, the media that an artist paints on is as important as the paintbrush and painting medium. New to Painter 2016 is the ability to rotate paper, and flow maps, resulting in a true-to-life painting experience. I was very impressed with the results achieved using this new feature, especially when working with watercolors on watercolor paper. Rotating the paper allowed the colors to flow across the paper’s surface as it would in a non-digital watercolor painting.
To Buy or Not to Buy
Corel Painter 2016 is a powerful painting program and a must-have for anyone serious about creating original digital art content. The paintbrushes (paints, paper) are unique and feel like you are using real artistic tools.
If you are new to Painter, even with the numerous instructional tutorials, the learning curve is steep. To get started with Painter 2016, expect to spend several hours just understanding the User Interface, the various features within specific panels, and how each of the panels interact with the different brushes. Painter 2016 is not an install and go program, but the energy expended on learning the program will be time well spent.
If you are a longtime Corel Painter enthusiast, you will especially appreciate the new features and functions in this latest version; especially if you are currently working with Painter X3 or Painter 12.
Top Additional Reasons Corel Painter 2016 is a Worthy Upgrade
- Corel Painter 2016 is still a standalone program that you own (at a very reasonable price) no need to pay an ongoing subscription fee.
- Corel Painter 2016 is a fully functional artist studio: filled with brushes, paints and canvases, all without the mess, storage and overheard of a brick-and-mortar building.
- Corel Painter 2016 meets the needs of serious artists from photographers, illustrators, and painters of all mediums.
- Corel Painter 2016 has an abundance of online support, including a downloadable 717 page PDF user manual, as-well-as a 34 page PDF getting-started guide. Plus the welcoming screen (help/welcome) offers direct access to several online video tutorials; with convenient check marks to remind you which of the tutorials you have viewed. Also, new are the brush and tooltips hints panel (help/hints).
- Corel Painter 2016’s new Brush Library has been combined and reconfigured to condense the number of brushes, and at the same time include 70 new and 50 updated brushes.
- Corel Painter 2016 increased its brush speed to 3 times that of Painter 2015.
- Corel Painter 2016’s Enhanced Sharing makes it easier to export custom brushes, papers, patterns, and flow maps, by bundling them into a Custom Toolbox (BOX) file.
- The Full version of Corel Painter 2016 is available for either Mac or Windows OS, with a boxed or download option, for $429
- The Upgrade version (with some restrictions) is good for Painter 7 and up, and is also available for Mac or Windows OS, with a boxed or download option, for $229
- The 30 Day Fully Functional Free Trial version is available as a download for either Mac or Windows OS (Window users must have a 64-bit system in order to run the 64-bit trial)
To explore Corel Painter to its fullest, please visit the following sites:
Corel Painter 2016 official Website
Comparison Chart for Painter 2016/2015/X3/12
Dee Marie is an awarding winning author and freelance journalist. She has previously served as Managing Editor and Editor-in-Chief of an international printed CGI magazine. She invites you to visit her on Facebook, Twitter, and her Sons of Avalon website.