Corel Painter 2015 in Review

April 29, 2015 1:19 pm

Tags: Corel Painter 2015, Paint Program, Sketching Application

While there are a number of painting and sketching applications available, Corel's Painter stands out on top, with its huge assortment of natural media brushes, plentiful features, and innovative advances. Continuing in this manner, Corel's natural media painting application boasts some great new features and enhancements with the release of Painter 2015.



For those that don't know, Corel's Painter is a dedicated painting application that allows the digital artist to very closely emulate traditional art. Built into the program is a vast selection of brushes organized into categories, such as oils, acrylics, pencils, and watercolor. There are also many different paper types and textures to choose from to create just the look you want for your paintings. But, it doesn't end there, as you have the ability to go beyond the traditional and work in layers, add effects, work with a large content library of gradients, patterns, weaves, etc. Plus, you have complete control over every brush feature, and can even create your own unique brushes, paper textures, and other content.

The real beauty of Painter is that it can be a great fit for many different types of artist, like those coming from a traditional art background, to designers, illustrators, and even photographers looking to do more with their captures or portraits.


Painter 2015's Welcome Screen


When you first launch Painter, you get a welcome screen with 3 tabs: 'Inspire,' 'Create,' and 'Share and Learn.' Under the 'Inspire' tab you are greeted with images created by other Painter artists, which is a nice way to get a little inspiration before you create. Under the 'Create' tab, you have the option to create a new piece, or open an existing project. You also have the option to refresh the Painter interface with a workspace geared to the work you are doing, such as illustration, or photo art. 'Share and Learn' offers links to Painter's Facebook page, YouTube channel, and the wonderful site.

The Painter user community is huge and there is no shortage of tutorials available online. The first place I would recommend to look would be the works and tutorials of the newly appointed 2015 Painter Masters, and the Elite Painter Masters.



Particle Brushes

The biggest new feature to Painter 2015 is a whole new brush category - particle brushes! These are unique and exciting brushes that bring a new edge to Painter, and can be a great asset. I can immediately see the usefulness for the concept artist, but everyone could find something useful, as these brushes are capable of creating looks of fire, smoke, fur, water, etc. The particle brushes are unlike any other brush in Painter, and they are very, very cool.


Particle brush examples


Some of the particle brushes show only on a dark background


There are 3 different types of particle brushes in Painter 2015: springs, flow, and gravity. These are built on physics properties and create some really dramatic results. Learning how the particle brushes work may at first appear tricky, but Corel did well in providing info on their use, and how to tailor them to your needs, through detailed information palettes accessed via 'Window > Info Palettes.'



Jitter Smoothing

The previous Painter X3 version introduced Universal Jitter, which allowed for randomness in your brush strokes with a jitter effect. Now, Painter 2015 improved upon that with the introduction of Jitter Smoothing. This allows for a smoother, more natural look and flow with your brush strokes.


In this example, you can see brush strokes with jitter, followed by strokes with applied jitter smoothing below them.


Brush Tracking

While Painter 2015 introduced a couple new features, there were other areas that were greatly enhanced. Brush Tracking, which allows you to best calibrate and tailor the pressure of your strokes is one such feature. Basically, when you open the brush tracking panel, you draw a stroke in a designated box. You are then shown a curve indicating your unique style. You can tweak it from there to create just the right settings you want for for each of the different brushes you use. And you can now practice your calibration settings right on the canvas before commiting changes.



Additional Enhancements

Another big enhancement in Painter 2015 is the very noticeable increase in speed. While some brushes like the watercolor can still lag a bit, there is a definite difference over Painter X3. Corel stated there was up to a 40% increase in most brushes, and the majority of the brushes I enjoyed working with were, in fact, quite zippy. And, I should also mention that Painter 2015 is now native 64-bit for the Mac.

Painter also includes some effects that you can apply to your images, changing tone and texture, for example. In Painter X3 you only had a thumbnail preview, but now in Painter 2015 you get to see the full image preview of the effects before you apply them, which is so much nicer.

Painter 2015's libraries also offer additional content this time around, with new paper textures, flow maps, patterns, etc.



I highly recommend Corel's Painter 2015. Comparing it to Painter X3, I think it is a very worthy upgrade, not only for the newly added particle brush category, but for the noticeable increase in speed, the new jitter smoothing, and brush tracking enhancements.

For those who have never given Painter a try, do yourself a favor and take advantage of the free trial. There is good reason Painter is the best of its kind out there. And it is limitless what you can create with the many tools and features provided in Painter 2015.

Pricing and Availability

  • Corel Painter 2015 [Full] $399.00 (USD)
  • Corel Painter 2015 [Upgrade] $199.00 (USD)

Note: Current owners of version 7 through X3 are eligible to purchase Painter 2015 at the Upgrade price.

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Nick C. Sorbin is a digital artist, sculptor, writer, and Contributing Columnist for Renderosity's CG Industry News.
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Nick C. Sorbin Contributing Columnist