Way back in 1991 I bought a Microsoft Bus Mouse. I had never had a machine with a mouse before that (although I had used mice on some customers machines). It seems kind of funny now to think of a time without mice, but really I had no compelling reason to buy it.
Except that it came with a Windows program called Paintbrush.
I didn't really care about Windows 3.0. I had it, but I never used it - it
was pretty slow and awful and really there was nothing I needed. But Paintbrush? Ahh, that was another story. As I've related elsewhere, most of my family has artistic talent. I mean real talent as in designing covers for the old National Geographic, doing murals in the Lincoln Memorial.. serious artists. My father and my sisters could draw quite well, his sister was the Art Teacher in our home town public schools (and has also published books of her art and illustrated other folks books). But me? Stick figures at best. No artistic talent at all.
Yet I had yearning. Some part of me wants to express myself through art. I clearly remember that first experience with Paintbrush. I said:
I relived that wonderful part of my childhood that was Finger Painting, but now my finger was a mouse and it was even better! I produced all sorts of colorful garbage that my more talented relatives would be amused by, but boy did I have fun!
Many years later I discovered The Gimp. Originally I only used it for file format conversations, but then I bought a wonderful book and was back in my childhood again with crayons and finger paints. It was wonderful.
I also did use it for more serious things: ad banners, some crude cartoons, retouching photos and a few other serious things. But mostly I just goofed around
with it for fun.
This week I had a chance to look at Corel Painter 11. Wow! I thought The Gimp was pretty powerful stuff (and it is) but this is just
The first thing I noticed was that I could select texture for the surface I'm drawing on. Corel explains:
In the traditional art world, an artist's brush or drawing tool produces different
results when applied to surfaces with different textures. Corel Painter allows
users to control the texture of the canvas to achieve the results they would
expect from conventional art media on a given surface. Brushes interact with
paper grain, just as natural tools react with the texture of the surfaces beneath
them. Textures can also be used to create special effects, such as rusted metal on
an intergalactic spaceship or bark on a tree.
When you combine that with the vast selection of brushes - anything from chalk to pens to laying on "oil" with a Palette Knife, it's easy to see that you can get very creative. Yes, I know that The Gimp can do similar things but the variety of choice and control here just astounded me.
I do wish the tutorials and help pages were better done. There's an awful lot of knowledge assumed here. If I had never worked my way through that Gimp book I'd be totally lost in Corel Painter and even with that background I've fumbled a lot. Some tasks still escape me entirely: I know they can be done, I can even find the "Help" pages that are supposed to explain them, but I'm left confused and impotent. I'm sure that I'll eventually figure it all out, but right now "Undo" is my very best friend.
This is expensive software - not something you'd probably buy just to indulge your inner child. I was fortunate enough to get a review copy so that four year old inside me got an expensive present at no cost to me. On the other hand, if you have money to burn or a real need for professional software like this, Corel Painter 11 might be just the thing.
Tony Lawrence 2009-04-28 Rating: