Corel Painter Essentials 4 is a slimmed-down version of Painter for home use, but don't let that fool you into thinking that the average home user will be disappointed. For those who like to play around with their photos, tweaking them artistically, Essentials provides a deep toolbox under its intuitive layout.
All the tool icons in the palette are large and easy to understand, there's nothing obscure or hard to remember here. Brush sizes and opacity can be adjusted at the top of the editing window using sliders, and while a few main brushes live on the main left-side toolbar, you can change those by accessing the Brush Drawer. The program features two workspaces, Drawing & Painting and Photo Painting. The first is a standard image-creation template, while the second lets you upload a photo and "paint" over it.
The Photo Painting was quite impressive. When you upload an image, you select which parts of it you want shown by using the same variety of paint tools available in the Drawing & Painting workspace. The choices are quite deep, too: you can choose to change the texture of the image by changing the paper, you can change the brush type and width, and even use different kinds of paints to change your staid photo into an Impressionist work of art.