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Corel Painter is a raster-based digital art application created to simulate as accurately as possible the appearance and behavior of traditional media associated with drawing, painting, and printmaking. It is intended to be used in real-time by professional digital artists as a functional creative tool.
|Original author(s)||Mark Zimmer
Corel Painter 2018 / June 27, 2017
|Operating system||macOS, Microsoft Windows|
|Type||Raster graphics editor|
The application offers a wide range of traditional artists' materials and tools. With the aid of a graphics tablet or computer mouse, the user is able to reproduce the effect of physical painting and drawing media such as watercolor, oil, chalk, charcoal and color pencil. There are also a few non-traditional items, such as the Image Hose, pattern pens, F/X, Distortion and Artist tools for allowing artists to apply less conventional elements on an image.
Painter emulates the visual characteristics of traditional media, such as oil paint, pastel sticks, air brush, charcoal, felt pens, and other traditional artists' materials on various textured surfaces. Many of these emulated media types work with the advanced features of Wacom tablets. For instance, the airbrush tool in Painter responds to pressure as well as tilt, velocity and rotation.
Painter and Photoshop have many similarities, such as layered editing. The two products have developed as contemporaries, introducing innovations that are now considered standard in bitmap image editing software. For example, "Floaters" were released with Painter 2.5, around the time that Photoshop released "composite elements". Over time, Painter's user interface has been transformed to match Photoshop's UI.
Painter was initially developed[when?] for the Macintosh system by Mark Zimmer and Tom Hedges, founders of the Fractal Design Corporation. Zimmer and Hedges had previously developed ImageStudio and ColorStudio, both image-editing applications, for Letraset. John Derry joined Zimmer and Hedges during the release cycle of Painter 1.2. Derry had gained previous paint software expertise at Time Arts, a developer of the early desktop-based paint applications Lumena and Oasis. Fractal Design later merged with RayDream, then with MetaTools to become MetaCreations. Metacreations sold off[when?] all their creative interests and Painter was acquired by Corel Corporation where it was temporarily rebranded "Procreate" Painter during its transition into the Corel Suite of graphic applications. Painter is now wholly owned and marketed by Corel.
- Fractal Design Painter Version 1.2 (1991-92)
- Fractal Design Painter Version 2.0 (1991-93)
- Fractal Design Painter Version 3.1 (1991-94)
- Fractal Design Painter Version 4.0 (1991-95)
- Fractal Design Painter Version 5.0 (1991-97)
- MetaCreations Painter 5.5 (1990-98)
- MetaCreations Painter Classic (1990-98)
- MetaCreations Painter 6.0 (1990-99)
- Corel Painter Classic (2000)
- Corel Painter 6.1 (2000)
- Corel Painter 7 (2001)
- Corel Painter 8 (2003)
- Corel Painter IX (2004)
- Corel Painter X (2006)
- Corel Painter 11 (2009)
- Corel Painter 12 (2011)
- Corel Painter X3 (2013)
- Corel Painter 2015 (2014)
- Corel Painter 2016 (2015)
- Corel Painter 2017 (2016)
- Corel Painter 2018 (2017)
The Painter SeriesEdit
At one point Painter had three companion applications: a vector-based natural media twin called Expression; a scaled-down version of Painter developed for beginners called Dabbler (later renamed Art Dabbler after the MetaCreations merger); and a grayscale-only clone called Sketcher. After the Corel acquisition, Art Dabbler 2 was reintroduced as Corel Painter Essentials, now in its fourth incarnation.
In 2007 Corel released version Painter X, which was at first available in a limited edition paint can, a nod to the packaging for early releases of the software. 
Corel Painter Essentials is a less complex version of Painter designed for casual users. Multimedia tutorials, a more intuitive workspace, additional automated tasks and emphasis on photo retouching are some of the features included to appeal to beginners. Painter and Painter Essentials share much of the same underlying code, and have many of the same tools and functions. For professional artists Essentials will offer fewer tools and variants, and considerably less control.
Painter Sketch PadEdit
Corel Painter Sketch Pad, launched in January 2009, is the newest member of the Painter product series. Sketch Pad focuses on the conception and early design phase of image creation. It has 13 drawing tools compared to Painter's almost 900 brushes, and a simple user interface that supports quick capturing of creative ideas. It is designed to work with a pen and drawing tablet.
As of 2017, Corel Painter continues to dominate its niche. In 2014, PC World called Painter "the best natural-media painting program out there." In 2015, PC Magazine called it "The best software at simulating painting and working with artistic media". In 2017, ZDNet said it "remains one of the best digital painting tools for anyone with the skill to use traditional painting techniques onscreen".
- "Corel Painter 2018 Redefines Realism in Digital Paint, Bridges the Gap Between 2D and 3D Art Creation". 2017-06-27. Retrieved 2017-06-27.
- "Corel product info".
- Corel Corporation. "Corel Painter X - Limited Edition Paint Can". Retrieved 2007-07-13.
- "Corel Painter 2015 review: Digital art studio betters its best features". PCWorld. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "Corel Painter 2016". PCMAG. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- "Corel Painter 2018, First Take: The state of the natural-media art Review". ZDNet. Retrieved 8 December 2017.
- Corel Painter Website
- Corel Website
- Corel Painter 2015 Help
- Interview with Mark Zimmer for German public radio, 1996
- Painter at the Open Directory Project
- Official Corel Painter Magazine
- Corel Painter X Master's Gallery
- Discussion of Apple's resolution-independent interface patent from Cabel Sasser of Panic Software (PDF copy of patent filing included)