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.
- Europol warns: public Wi-Fi isn't safe
- Privacy groups challenge Facebook's WhatsApp buy
- IDC: iPad intertia opens door for Windows tablets
- Chip breakthrough to eliminate checkout queues
- Rivals put on notice as Spotify snaps up The Echo Nest
- Windows 8.1 Update 1 leaks via Microsoft's website
- Bitcoin "founder" says: you've got the wrong man
- Has bitcoin creator been found?
- HTC Desire 310: more competition for the Moto G
- Mozilla questions why Dell charges £16 to install Firefox
- Getty joins the race to the bottom
- Hour of Code: five steps to learn how to code
- Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet review: first look
- Sony Xperia Z2 review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 review: first look
- Nokia XL review: first look
- Samsung Galaxy S5 review: first look
- Nokia X review: first look
- Censorship by copyright: Myles Powers and abuse of DMCA takedowns
- Turn an old smartphone into an in-car entertainment system
- Make the most of your mobile data
- Old-school internet scams: five that just won't die
- Bitcoin believers not worried by Mt. Gox disarray
- How to hack your car
- Small server vs cloud: which is best for SMBs?
- Block party: why do millions play Minecraft?
- What to do if you’re still on Windows XP
- Microsoft Word: top 20 secret features
- Measuring me: is your body the future of security?
- The best mobile apps for business
- Windows Server 2012 R2: how the Datacenter edition could change SMBs
- Invoices and VAT: how to set up your documents correctly
- Nexus 5 vs Samsung Galaxy S4 Active: the best phone for avoiding screen burn
- How much is a social user worth?
- The key to choosing a secure password
- Thunderbolt Bridge: a fast Mac migration tool
- Should you advertise on Twitter?
- How to track a lost smartphone
- Self-publishing success: the best way to sell your book
- 1.6TB SSD: why would you need one?