And for good reason. Photoshop is the de facto standard image editor for professionals and Adobe knows it, hence the gargantuan price tag and pricey near-annual updates. I’d like to say that there’s a new kid in town, but one of Photoshop’s oldest competitors is more likely to evoke a “They still make that?” response.
It’s Alive! It’s Alive!
Down through the years I’ve tried every Photoshop wannabe app, every Illustrator me-to app, and collected my fair share and then some of apps that purport to complement Adobe’s expensive beasts.
Here’s one Mac app that I honestly thought died many years ago. Seriously. “They still make that?”
You can’t see it, but I’m shaking my head over Corel Painter 12 for Mac and Windows. Yes, dear heart, “It’s Alive! It’s Alive.” In fact, Corel is so alive that I was pleasantly surprised to see an array of great drawing apps on their site.
There’s PaintShopPro X4 Ultimate (rolls off the tongue, no?), VideoStudio Pro X5, CoreDRAW Graphics Suite X6, WordPerfect Office X6 (there’s a blast from the past). What is it with all those X’s?
Taking a cue from Adobe and totally forgetting how to be creative when presenting a product to a newcomer (my last version of Corel Painter was somewhere between 6 and 8; it’s been that long), Corel makes you look for the list of features and functions but manages a few YouTube videos to help you see what you can do without Photoshop.
Suffice it to say that Painter 12 has much of what Photoshop has, including new found speed. They call it Enhanced Speed. Up to five times faster. Elsewhere among the list of me-to features, and exclusive-to-us functions, I like the custom workspaces, designed to appeal to– drum roll, please– Photoshop users.
The Kaleidoscope painting effects are attractive and deliver vibrate mirrors on up to 12 planes instantly, while you watch. That matches the Mirror Painting tool which simply copies every stroke on one side of your canvas to the other side.
I’ve always like Painter’s options for true drawing and painting, but the newer version has tools for watercolor and wet oil looks. Let’s talk about temporal functionality. The color palette pops up on the screen when you need it, disappears when you don’t (opposite of my former in-laws).
So, just like it was about four or five years, ago, I’m trying out Corel Painter. Again. It’s familiar, but intriguing. It’s less expensive than Photoshop, but still an order of magnitude more than Pixelmator.
Is Painter worth it? Thankfully, it’s try before you buy, but you’ll need time to evaluate both the differences and similarities to Photoshop.