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Painter 2017 is the most must-have upgrade in a long time. There is definitely much here waiting for you.

Software Review: Corel Painter 2017

Corel Painter 2017 is the latest release of Corel’s advanced digital art studio software. As a drawing and painting art studio, Painter 2017 allows artists to pursue their creative talents in new ways. You can do much more than create traditional styles of painting in a digital environment; you never have to clean up a mess when you’re done; and you’re not exposed to the vapors and chemicals traditionally associated with analog painting.

Painter 2017
Painter 2017

Corel Painter is a great medium for five major groups. Commercial designers need these tools to realize their visions for architecture, graphic design, and illustration. Concept artists need tools to speed production and create astounding scenes for animations, movies, and video games. In recent years, photographers have begun using Corel Painter to explore new avenues for creative work and additional revenue. Fine artists use digital as “just another medium” within the world of fine art. Finally, students and teachers of art or design want to teach and learn their craft without the costs of using real-world materials.

What is new with this version of Corel Painter 2017?

Texture Painting gives you a much more intuitive way to add texture to a painting. Instead of dealing with layers, you can now actually just paint the texture onto your canvas where you want it. You get a number of textures as presets and you can add your own to the system. You can preview your textures and associated manipulations such as transforming them, blending them, and color options.

Painter 2017 - Texture Painting
Painter 2017 – Texture Painting

Dab Stencils let you change the brushstroke opacity before you paint. Based on paper, flow-map, or texture source, and with the new texture brush variants, you can get more control over the look and feel of your strokes. Dab Stencils will add very organic looks to your work and bring out a lot of character to your paintings.

Glazing Brushes are a user-suggested addition. Here you get to control the look of your painting by applying mixed paints with stroke level opacity. Each brushstroke is added independently and the look is built up to add depth and luminosity to the parts of your painting that you choose. These work best when you vary the stylus pressure in each brushstroke.

• The Interactive Gradient tool has been reconfigured for Painter 2017. Along with adding a gradient layer, you can now edit them using nodes. You can move these starting and ending nodes around to achieve the precise look you want. You can also add more nodes along the path for more control.

Gradient Express Paint provides a quick way to start a painting by filling a blank canvas with a gradient quickly and easily. Using presets, you can give yourself quick inspiration, and using dabs, strokes, and other techniques, you can fill the background.

Painter 2017 - Dab Stencils
Painter 2017 – Dab Stencils

Palette Drawers are a workflow enhancement to help you unclutter your workspace while keeping the tools that you need close at hand. This lets you combine panels and custom palettes into a grouping for a style of workflow or for a particular project.

Property Bar enhancements now let you optimize brush and tool settings by showing the most relevant settings for the tool selected. This lets you adjust everything without having to flip through menus to get everything set just right.

• The Brush Selector can now be displayed as a panel, putting your recently used brush variants right at your fingertips. The entire brush library is accessible and you can position it where you need it most.

• The Dropper tool is now right at hand and gives you the ability to sample color. Options are to average the color of pixels in larger sample areas, in all visible layers, or in a single layer.

Artist Layouts are predefined layouts that provide a workspace suitable for the kind of project that you are working on. Included are concept-art, fine art, illustration, Manga, or photo-art.

Painter 2017 - Gradients
Painter 2017 – Gradients

This may be the best update in quite a number of versions. The updates to the workflow in the Palette Drawers is excellent: The performance is better than ever, and there are a lot of new little features that make this update worth it.

To me one of the most important features is the enhanced brush selector. Finally you can undock the selector and it stays on your screen. That makes it so much easier to work with your brushes and keep them close at hand, especially for your recent brush lists.

Then there are the new Glazing, Dab Stencil, and Texture brushes. Each has its place and will quickly become a part of my regular use. These may be my favorite parts of this version.

The Dropper tool is also a welcome addition. The ability to sample from a single layer or all layers is nice. The Artist Layouts are also nice in that they help to reduce clutter in your work area.

Painter 2017 is certainly the most must-have upgrade in a long time. There is definitely much here waiting for you. If you are looking for a new purchase, then no doubt that now is the time to invest in Corel Painter 2017 and so I very highly recommend this version – to the point of saying this is a must-have.


About T. Michael Testi

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

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