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I like all of the flexibility for customizing your brushes and the interface that makes the software more workable for the individual and the project. I like the simplicity of being able to have fine control of the grain of the paper and the paint flow on the paper. I also like the UI customizations and the ability to save your work setup.

Software Review: Corel Painter 2016

Corel Painter 2016 is the latest release of Corel’s advanced digital art studio software. As a drawing and painting art studio, Painter 2016 allows artists to pursue their creative talents in new ways, creating traditional styles of painting in a digital environment. Not only do you never have to clean up a mess when you are done, but you are also not exposed to the vapors and chemicals traditionally associated with analog painting.

Corel Painter 2016
Corel Painter 2016

Corel Painter is the perfect medium for five major groups: commercial designers who require the tools to create their visions for architecture, graphic design, and illustration; concept artists who need tools to speed their production time and create astounding scenes for animation, movie, and video games; more recently, photographers who use Corel Painter to explore new avenues for creative work and additional revenue; fine artists, who use digital as “just another medium” within the world of fine art; and students and teachers of art or design who want the ability to learn and teach their craft without the cost of real-world materials.

What is new with this version of Corel Painter 2016?

Rotatable media now lets you change not only the angle of the paper, but the flow maps as well. Rotating the paper texture means that the grain can be adjusted, and changing the flow map determines how the paint flows on the surface. This means that you can get a wide variety of looks from your brushstrokes.

Default-settings restoration lets you save your personal settings when you have to reset Painter 2016 to factory settings. Now without having to export settings you can maintain your custom brushes, palettes, nozzles, textures, and other settings.

Corel Painter 2016
Corel Painter 2016

Dynamic Speckles: this feature uses the Particle System physics and the brush thickness to form a continuous stroke from discrete spots of color or speckles. They generate as you paint and so are very dynamic. You have the ability to create a wide variety of strokes and a lot of flexibility in making adjustments.

Audio Expression provides through the use of an audio input device the ability to modify the look of a brush. Your brushstrokes may change their appearance in sync with the sounds from a microphone or internal audio. The impact on the brush can be adjusted based on the strength of the audio.

Document Views allow you to switch from the toolbox to the Window menu with keyboard shortcuts. The default view will provide all the open documents together whereas the Single Document view lets you focus on the main document. In Presentation mode your desktop is hidden as is the taskbar, the document window centered over a solid background.

Brush Hints provide context-sensitive help depending on the brush. Here you can get tips about specific brush technologies and gain insight into Corel Painter features such as Particles, Watercolors, Liquid Ink, Cloner, Impasto, and the new Dynamic Speckles.

Adobe Photoshop brush file import: take pixel-based Adobe Photoshop brushes contained in ABR (Adobe Brush Resource) files and import the brush stamp. Keep in mind that not all the brush attributes are imported, but the shape, texture, dynamics, and other information are. Once they are in Corel Painter, they can be fully customized.

Corel Painter 2016
Corel Painter 2016

• The Welcome Screen can now be a hub from which you can start quickly by opening an image, choosing a workspace, access videos, and perform a host of other actions to either get you started quickly or give you inspiration to create new works of art.

Special Media Brushes provide you with more dab types. This specialized type of applying media to the canvas use both Particles and Liquid Ink or Watercolor dabs. The combination dab types here include Watercolor Flow Particles, Watercolor Spring Particles, Watercolor Gravity Particles, Liquid Ink Spring Particles, Liquid Ink Flow Particles and Liquid Ink Gravity Particles.

Custom content sharing simplifies sharing content saved in a custom palette. When you save it as a Painter Custom Toolbox (BOX) file, all of the custom brushes, papers, patterns, and flow maps that are in the pallete are saved in the file.

Layer Blending gives you the ability to paint two or more colors on a layer without white fringes.

Corel Painter 2016
Corel Painter 2016

I really like this update. I like all of the flexibility for customizing your brushes and the interface that makes the software more workable for the individual and the project. I like the simplicity of being able to have fine control of the grain of the paper and the paint flow on the paper. I also like the UI customizations and the ability to save your work setup.

With over 130 new brushes, the Audio Expression brushes are a great idea, but it will take some time to fully get a grasp on the best ways to use it. The Dynamic Speckles bring new capabilities, and the other new features provide more ways to creatively express yourself.

Corel has also increased the speed. Painter 2016 runs faster in a number of areas such as brush performance. The Adobe Photoshop Brush File Import is a really nice feature for those of us who work with both products.

Painter 2016 is a really solid upgrade. If you are looking for a new purchase, then no doubt now is the time to invest in Corel Painter 2016 and so I highly recommend this version.

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About T. Michael Testi

Photographer, writer, software engineer, educator, and maker of fine images.

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