Corel has released Painter 2015, the latest version of its digital painting package, adding physics-based particle brushes, improved brush tracking and smoothing, and introducing a new 64-bit Mac edition.
The company has also released Painter Mobile, a cut-down version of Painter for Android tablets.
Paint organic strokes with particles
The headline feature in Painter 2015 is the particle brushes, which use particle systems to determine the form of a brush stroke. There are three types – Gravity, Flow and Spring – each with a different physics constraint.
How far the particles spread is influenced by stroke speed and pressure, so the resulting stroke is a combination of the movement of the artist’s hand and the behaviour of the physics system.
The results often look similar to Flame Painter, Escape Motions’ standalone painting application, with the procedural randomness of the brushes leading to unpredictable, organic strokes.
Painter 2015 introduces a new Brush Tracking utility, which enables users to tailor the software’s pressure sensitivity to match their painting style. It can be used to customise individual brushes, or applied globally.
There are also more options to control how strokes are smoothed, with the option to add jitter to Airbrush spacing and flow, brush rotation and colour expression. It can also be applied to the new particle brushes.
New UI presets for different job types, improved performance
Of course, more toolsets means a more crowded UI, but Corel has mitigated the interface clutter by introducing four new presets that selectively show or hide interface elements.
There are layouts designed for illustrators, artists working with photos, or for learning the new particle brushes, and a Simple option if you just want the basic tools.
Painter 2015 also makes a number of changes under the hood. Power consumption has been halved, meaning that your battery lifespan should be extended if you work on a laptop.
If you work on very large images, in which lag becomes a problem, Corel also claims that brushes are on average 40% faster than in previous releases, and in some cases are up to six times faster.
For Mac users, Painter 2015 also introduces 64-bit support, which should further improve performance.
In separate news, Corel has introduced Painter Mobile: a new cut-down version of Painter for Android tablets, which includes a range of standard tools and image transforms, and support for up to 20 layers.
The free version gives you 16 natural media brushes, a resolution limit of 1,024 x 1,025 pixels, and exports JPEGs. The $4.99 full version includes over 70 brushes, doubles the resolution, and exports PNGs and PSDs.
Both editions export to the desktop version of Painter, so you can refine sketches you created on the move.
Pricing and availability
Painter 2015 is available now for Windows 7 and above and Mac OS X 10.7 and above, price $429. You can download a 30-day trial, although at time of posting, there’s no trial of the new 64-bit Mac edition.