Corel Painter 2015 offers more options for working the way you want, including tablet support, custom workspaces, and new brushes. Corel has listened to its community in introducing yearly releases instead of two-year cycles, promising faster, more reliable updates. With Painter 2015, Corel brings the digital art suite to the tablet, with Real Time Stylus support alongside WinTab, three new Particle Brushes, Jitter Smoothing, workspace customization, and a boatload of enhancements perfect for portable digital artists.
Paint anywhere: Painter 2015 introduces a brand-new mode for your Windows 8 tablet PC. On a Surface Pro 2, Painter's tablet mode with Real Time Stylus support performed admirably. The drawing experience is a slight improvement over most mobile apps, thanks to the Surface's heavy-duty hardware. Overall Painter's tablet mode is convenient enough for you to make quick sketches on the bus or train.
Work how you want: Choose from multiple workspaces optimized for various creative types: photo artists, illustrators, traditional artists, or students. With a plethora of tools and endless options, Painter can be overwhelming. Corel eases the process with presets, laying out only the tools you need for the projects you're working on. Of course, you can also create custom workspaces.
More natural brushes: Painter introduces three new types of Particle Brush: Gravity, Spring, and Flow. Photo artists will appreciate the Gravity brush, which adds a sense of weight that's helpful in colorization projects. Spring is an airy brush that can help replicate wispy effects like fog or smoke. The Flow brush creates weaves that make creating hairs, beards, and fur effects effortless. The brand-new Jitter Smoothing features bring a much more natural feel to the brushes, softening each stroke.
Improved stability: Corel has always been conscious of its followers' hardware. By keeping requirements low (Pentium 4), Corel has ensured that Painter can deliver to a wider audience. The expansion of 64-bit support for Windows in the previous release -- and now for Mac -- demonstrates this. That said, our preview build of Painter operated without a major hitch when we tested it on a regular Core i5 laptop with integrated graphics, the Surface Pro 2 (also i5), and a custom i7 with a discrete video card.
Steep learning curve: Painter is geared toward professionals, so newcomers will have some difficulty setting up. But Corel does offer a YouTube channel to guide first-time users.
May not be enough reason to upgrade: A few particle brushes, a tablet mode, and more customizability mean that Painter is even more flexible than ever before, but is it enough to justify a full upgrade? While traditional artists taking a stab at digital media will find Painter 2015 a steal, veteran Painters with an older version will have to decide if the new brushes and tablet mode are worth it. If you're used to the two-year release cycle, waiting for the 2016 update might make more sense.
Painter 2015 gives digital artists the flexibility they need to create amazing work whenever inspiration strikes. Designed for artists and photographers, Painter 2015 is the closest you can get to working with traditional media on a computer or a tablet. Beginners may be overwhelmed with the many options available to them, but there's ample support to help get going.