Corel Painter 12 review
Improved interface, brush handling and a few new creative effects; it’s still the best, but Painter is largely trading on existing strengths
Review Date: 14 Jun 2011
Reviewed By: Tom Arah
Price when reviewed: £229 (£275 inc VAT)
Features & Design
Value for Money
Ease of Use
Painter has dominated the market for artistic bitmap editing for the past 20 years. This long history has led to huge creative power, but also a working environment that was old-fashioned, idiosyncratic and horrendously overly technical. Since Corel took over development, things have slowly improved and this latest release sees a further interface overhaul with a more modern look and feel.
Perhaps the most obvious sign that Painter has been dragged into the 21st century is the revamped New Image dialog. Previously, this automatically defaulted to an image size of just 810 x 500 pixels at 72dpi; now it’s full screen and 150dpi. You can also now create and load your own presets as well as specify the image name, background colour and paper texture.
When dealing with larger images, you need to be able to manage your current view. Here Painter 12 adds the ability to boost either speed or quality when zooming, and a new Navigator panel that shows a small version of the full image with a box indicating the current display.
As well as providing feedback, the Navigator panel lets you pan, zoom and rotate your image and manage settings such as the grid display, tracing opacity and drawing mode. It’s not as simple as it could be – you can’t just drag over an area to set the view – but it’s a major improvement.
The biggest interface advance is the redesigned Brush Selector panel. Painter provides hundreds of natural media brushes, and choosing the right one used to be a nightmare. Now the revamped panel lets you choose a category – chalks, pastels, oils and so on – on the left and then presents a list of named brush variants to select from on the right.
The panel also provides quick access to your most recently used brushes and gives you a preview of the variants as you roll over them. Again, it’s an improvement, but it’s disappointing that you can’t pin the panel open.
In terms of the range of brushes on offer, Painter 12 adds three new categories: Gels, Real Watercolor and Real Wet Oils. In each case, the depth of the simulation is extraordinary. The Real Watercolor brushes mimic effects such as the viscosity of water, diffusion of pigment and wind direction. The results can certainly be impressive, but then they were already with Painter’s existing oils and watercolours.
- Sorry monkeys: you can't copyright your selfies
- Google: driverless car testers don't need to be "safe drivers"
- Microsoft to announce Windows 9 on 30 September
- Motorola Moto X+1 press photos leaked online
- Microsoft working on Miracast Dongle streaming hardware
- Diaspora: we can't stop spread of beheading videos
- Sony Xperia Z3 specs leak online
- iPhone 6 and iPhone 6L pictures leak online
- Bug hunters paid to target Oculus Rift
- Meet the "scarecrows" and "snipers" slaying Twitter spam
- 20 years of PC Pro: our greatest review mistakes
- 20 years of PC Pro: our first A-List
- Wikipedia's "right to be forgotten" protest hits the wrong note
- 3D printing hits the high street for plastic selfies
- 20 years of PC Pro: What amazed us in our first issue
- How Google Glass ruined my lunch hour
- Smartphone battery packs: can a USB power pack beat the festival battery blues?
- Windows Easy Transfer – not so "easy" in Windows 8.1
- Formula 1: what a difference virtualisation makes
- Office of the future: comfy chairs and tablets everywhere
- How to format a USB drive on a Mac or Windows
- What’s the best 4G network in the UK?
- How to set up a wireless hotspot for your business: give customers free or paid for internet access
- How to download YouTube videos: save YouTube videos to your iPhone, iPad, laptop or Android device
- How to access iCloud on a PC
- Nexus 5 vs Moto G 4G (2014 model)
- Chromecast vs Roku Streaming Stick vs Apple TV: what's the best TV streaming device?
- The 8 best small tablets of 2014: what's the best compact tablet?
- How to edit PDFs: make change to a PDF
- Building a patently better future
- 10 ways to make your business more secure
- Top five VoIP mistakes
- How to add in-app purchasing to an iPhone, Android or Windows app
- Remote-control ransomware: TeamViewer and software hardball
- Why laptops with serial ports matter to the Internet of Things
- Make your mobile battery last longer
- Small steps into handling Big Data
- Nexus 5: does it really run stock Android?
- How to get broadband to a garden office
- How to write your company's IT security policy