Corel's Painter 12 Is a Stunning Update

Painter has long been the top choice for creating digital artwork that acts and looks like traditional media. With version 12, announced today, artists can more easily achieve even greater realism.

The new Real Watercolor and Real Wet Oil brushes build on the app’s existing RealBristle painting system but go even further. The demo I watched was amazing: I could see the digital paint spread out and soak into the media as it would with traditional watercolor and paper. As new paint was applied, I watched the colors blend naturally. I even saw the watercolors pool and be blown by digital wind. Watch the demo video to see for yourself:


Two other new tools are not about realistic results but are no less impressive. When you’re in the new Kaleidoscope Painting mode, one brushstroke is multiplied three to 12 times. And like turning a traditional kaleidoscope, you can turn the Kaleidoscope Painting segments reveal different colors or patterns. It’s hard to describe but fun to watch, as you’ll see in the video below:

I can see the new Mirror Painting mode being a useful timesaver for already-competent artists wanting to save time as they sketch. Basically, you draw one-half of something–say, the left side of a face–and the Mirror Painting mode mirrors your brushstrokes on the other side of the axis.

Corel also took a chance with Painter 12 by redesigning the app’s user interface. Existing users may not like the change (people seldom do like change until they get used to it), but people coming from Photoshop will appreciate the familiar aspects of the redesigned UI.

There are many other additions and improvements in Painter 12. For the full rundown, see the Painter website.

Pricing & Availability
Corel Painter 12 costs $429 ($229 for an upgrade from a previous version). It is shipping now.

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Posted on: May 11, 2011

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