Corel Painter X 

This product has been a niche offering for quite a while, however the new version could well make it a mainstream product that gives people like me with no artistic talent a chance, of course should you have talent you will already know that.
Corel Painter-X software package - box shot

I was recently at the NEC in Birmingham for a camera show, however Corel invited me to a presentation on Painter X, it was a demonstration done by a US portrait painter who uses Painter and also teaches it.

As with all demos you need to take them with more than a pinch of salt. I made copious notes and when my copy arrived I set out to try the things she said, much to my surprise most seemed to work and those that didn't were probably down to my incorrect note taking.

This is a Digital Art Studio and as such anyone who falls into the following four categories will certainly appreciate it. Fine Artist, Entertainment, Commercial or Photo Professional, the latter was I assume the reason that Corel were at the show.

The first new feature (remember there have been nine versions previously) is Art History. This is so you understand how the artists composed their masterpieces. Version 9.5 introduced Painter Palettes now there are Universal Mixer Palettes. To say a software product has Real Bristle Brushes needs some explanation. While it is possible to use Painter with a mouse you really need a Tablet such as those offered by Wacom or others to achieve brush pressure, most Tablets have 256 levels of pressure and to get the real brush feel one of these is required.

Smart Stroke is new to Painter 10 and this really made me say wow as I gave it a photograph, created a clone and tweaked a few settings from an on screen menu and watched as it starts with bold strokes and after a couple of minutes they become finer and then perhaps through the blobs of colour you could hear Rolf Harris say 'do you know what it is yet' as the movements become finer your original image becomes recognisable and it is up to you when you stop the cloning, I was more than satisfied that Corel Painter 10 could produce such recognisable output. Of course with skill and choice of palettes the output could be even better.

Custom Workspaces can be created as can Custom Palettes and indeed these can - in a teaching environment - be forced on students so they create in the manner of? These can be both exported and imported.

Like most recent Corel offerings this has been certified to work on Vista, in fact the box also says Windows 2000 or XP with latest service packs and MAC 10.39 or higher. I checked and while it should work on earlier versions Corel will not guarantee or support it if you use them.

Example of corel painter X animation

The specifications say mouse or Tablet but to do anything serious you need the latter. 256MB of RAM is the minimum with 512MB recommended. A CD or DVD ROM is required for installation and around 360MB of hard disc space is required.

The link at the bottom of the page is somewhat unusual in that it gives you a chance to download a trial version so you get the chance to try it and to see if your hardware is up to the task. While this seems a good offer - and it is - I think you need to know how to do certain things such as the Clone of an image and what settings to use to give yourself the chance to get the results you might expect.

Doing my Internet searches I found Corel Painter X at a best price of £211.48 including delivery.

Should you own an earlier version then Corel you can upgrade to version 10 for £120.98

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