The world of digital painting tends to be split between those in the Photoshop camp and those who prefer real natural media effects and use Painter. With version 12 Corel continued the evolution of the produce that started when the company acquired it, adding yet more features, but trying to rope it all in and tidy up the interface. See Group test: what's the best professional image-editing software?

The result now is a program that has a steep learning curve because almost nothing is intuitive about it. Everything has to be learnt. There have been a number of bug-fix releases but with version 12.2 there’s some interesting new features. To get that far though, if you buy a retail box version, you have to download each individual update and apply them one after another. See also Corel Painter 12 review.

However, the big new feature is flowmaps which work with the real watercolour brushes specifically but will also affect other brushes. These create more distinct patterns with higher peaks and lower troughs than just a paper design, so that the watercolour actually runs into them. Unlike Photoshop, when you paint with one of these brushes, there’s a processing delay as spreads, runs and mixes the watery colour. Take a look at Adobe Photoshop CS6 review too.

It makes painting slower but much more natural and organic looking. The other features of the update to 12.2 are that palettes can now dock vertically, there’s enhanced multi-touch support for the Wacom Intuos 5 and support for Corel Cinco for Painter. There’s also a long list of bug fixes as well.

Corel Painter 12.2: Specs

  • Windows
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 or Windows Vista® (32-bit or 64-bit editions), or Windows® XP (32-bit edition), with the latest Service Packs installed
  • 1 GHz processor or higher
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 600 MB hard disk space for application files
  • 1280 x 800 screen resolution
  • Mouse or tablet
  • DVD drive
  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 7 or higher
  • Macintosh
  • Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 (with latest revision)
  • Intel® Core™ Duo
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 300 MB of HD space for application files
  • 1280 x 800 screen resolution
  • Mouse or tablet
  • Windows
  • Microsoft® Windows® 7 or Windows Vista® (32-bit or 64-bit editions), or Windows® XP (32-bit edition), with the latest Service Packs installed
  • 1 GHz processor or higher
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 600 MB hard disk space for application files
  • 1280 x 800 screen resolution
  • Mouse or tablet
  • DVD drive
  • Microsoft® Internet Explorer® 7 or higher
  • Macintosh
  • Mac OS X 10.6, 10.7, 10.8 (with latest revision)
  • Intel® Core™ Duo
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 300 MB of HD space for application files
  • 1280 x 800 screen resolution
  • Mouse or tablet

OUR VERDICT

Certainly if you use the watercolour brushes, this update is significant, as well as free once you own the program.

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