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Graphic design & publishing software Reviews
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Corel Painter 11 review

£263 inc VAT

Manufacturer: Corel

Our Rating: We rate this 4.5 out of 5

The best just keep getting better, and in the case of the Corel Painter 11 painting software, it even got a little faster, too.

The best just keep getting better, and in the case of the Corel Painter 11 painting software, it even got a little faster, too.

In this newest version of Corel Painter - the gold standard software for a real-world painting experience - users will see a marked increase in speed along with 40 new Natural-Media brushes, more intuitive brush customizsation, resizable Colours and Mixer palettes, PNG support, and a ton of other time-saving features.

The revamped selection and transform tools will keep users from jumping to and from Adobe Photoshop quite so often and once you do open the file in Adobe Photoshop, the colours between the two programs will actually match (thanks to an improved colour management system).

When you're finished with your masterpiece, Corel Painter 11 will even let you export it and attach it to a new email message for you.

By adding this level of functionality, Corel proves that it not only listens to the feedback of its community of artists, art students and teachers, designers, and photographers, but it seeks to make them more productive as well.

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Corel Painter 11: workspace improvements

One of the first things you'll notice in Corel Painter 11 is that the workspace has been tidied up in variety of ways. For example, the interface colour is now totally consistent, and the Show/Hide text in some pull-down menus (the Window menu, for example) has been replaced by a single checkmark to indicate if the palette is hidden or not.

The Transform tools have been relocated to a more intuitive home (the Edit menu and Property Bar), and new Hard Media and Colour Variability palettes give you quick access to brush customisation tools (about which you'll learn more later).

At long last, Corel Painter 11's Colours palette is now resizable - something users have requested for years. You can also use your arrow keys to refine a selection in the colours palette: just make an initial colour selection on the Hue Ring and then tap any arrow key to adjust the saturation of the predominant hue.

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Corel Painter 11's Mixer palette is resizable too, revealing more preset colour swatches as it's enlarged. By default it sports a parchment background instead of stark white, which had always made it challenging to spot differences between very light colours when mixing. While users have long been able to change the Mixer background themselves, this kind of attention to detail is a nice touch.

(Both palettes have to be undocked before they become resizable.)

And the aforementioned tidying isn't limited to the interface, as Corel has also given a nod to the environment in this release. The packaging for Corel Painter 11 is certified green, thereby reducing its carbon footprint, and the reduced electronic pricing certainly encourages downloads.

See Digital Photography Advisor for camera reviews, tips and news

NEXT PAGE: 40 new brushes

Corel Painter 11 Expert Verdict »

Windows Vista/XP (with latest Service Pack)
Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5 (with latest revision)
Pentium IV, 700MHz or greater
Power Mac G5, 700MHz or greater
500MB of hard disk space for installation
24-bit colour display
1024 x 768 screen resolution
Internet Explorer 6 or greater/Safari
Mouse or tablet
  • Ease of Use: We give this item 8 of 10 for ease of use
  • Features: We give this item 9 of 10 for features
  • Value for Money: We give this item 7 of 10 for value for money
  • Overall: We give this item 9 of 10 overall

While the speed boost alone may not be enough to reach for your credit card, the new Real brushes (especially the Real pencils), marker buildup, intuitive transform tools, and colour management make it a tempting expenditure (the reduced cost of the electronic version makes it even harder to pass up). With these improvements, users can truly focus on creating art, solidifying Corel Painter 11 as the ultimate digital art studio.

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