Corel Painter 11 Review

Painter ImageCorel’s Painter software, especially since the release of version X, gained quite a following from serious digital artists. Now, Corel Painter 11, a refined, more customizable version of an already great program, lets you carry an entire artist’s studio on your laptop. Painter is a bit steep – at $429 (box) or $399 (download), with a discount for those upgrading so it’s recommended for those who take their digital drawing seriously as more affordable options exist. But, speaking of digital, it’s important to mention that Corel Painter embodies the new term natural media – letting its users have a hands on, almost tactile approach to digital painting that remains unrivaled (at least in this writer’s opinion) thanks to its RealBristle tool. More will be explain in the “Features” section, but in short, the RealBristle tool allows you to create your own tools, with your imagination as the limit, and then control those tools with the flick of your (tablet) pen. This includes wet (paint) and dry/hard tools too – charcoals, pencils, and so on.

Corel Painter 11’s learning curve may be a bit steep for new users but if you’re familiar with Corel Painter X (when the RealBristle tool was first released) you’ll have no problem adjusting to this version.

Functionality and User Friendliness:

Corel Painter 11 is easy to master if you’ve got at least a working knowledge of the previous versions but if you don’t, its worth learning. It’s available for both Mac (Intel-based only) and Windows and supports Vista. With the beta release of Windows 7 already out, Corel Painter 11 users need not worry as Corel has stated that they’ll offer any service pack upgrades, if necessary, from Vista to 7 free of charge.

Awesome Features:

In this version, Corel improved the color-recognition for files imported from Adobe – very important if you’re a photographer adding this program to your editing toolbox. Also, you can save color profiles for pretty much any kind of image format and Painter will remember the profile when you open that sort of file from then on.

The RealBristle tool, described in detail below is fantastic but Corel Painter 11 also lets you customize the digital canvases you’re working on with textures and grains unavailable anywhere else.

Features to Write Home About…

The RealBristle tool is definitely the standout feature of Corel Painter 11. Aside from allowing you to create an infinite possibility of tools that you probably couldn’t even get at the best brick-and-mortar art store, the application maps out the individual brush strokes by recognizing the pressure and speed applied on the stylus. So faster strokes mean thinner lines while slower, harder strokes mean broader strokes with more individual bristle marks. That, in addition to ‘tablet tilt’ – allowing you to control the width of brush strokes with the tilt of your pen – means you can replicate the feeling of brush to canvas without the mess.

The Mixing Feature on Corel Painter 11 (a virtual palette knife!)

The Mixing Feature on Corel Painter 11 (a virtual palette knife!)

Another feature I particularly liked was the “mixing” feature – a digital palette knife that allows you to mix colors on screen. It’s yet another tool on Painter 11 that bridges the gap between digital drawing and real-life drawing.

The Bottom Line:

If your livelihood comes from any kind of image creation – you’re a fine artist, illustrator, graphic artist, even a photographer – then you need this application. If you’re someone who enjoys playing around with digital drawing and can afford to $400 price tag, then by all means, go for it, but there are other more affordable alternatives. They’re just not as “non-digital” as Corel Painter.

Final Mentions:

It’s kind of silly to use Corel Painter without a tablet because you won’t get the full benefit of the RealBristle tool.

“This one goes to 11!”

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 19th, 2009 at 11:43 am and is filed under News, Web Design. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Corel Painter 11 Review”

  1. kevin caudill says:

    Thanks for your insight to Corel 11, I just purchased it today, along with a wacom tablet. I know it is a good program, but I didn’t know about the RealBristle tool…..Wow I can’t wait to try it out! The Idea of creating your own tool is amazing.I am getting ready to go to college for Web design, and I am sure this program will come in handy.I hear so much about illustrator, and flash, and other programs but not Corel? I am sure it will benefit me to learn Painter 11, as your article gave me confidence in the product.Thanks again. Sincerely Kevin, C.