Corel Painter IX

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Corel Painter IX
  • Corel Painter IX
  • Corel Painter IX
  • Corel Painter IX
  • Expert Rating

    4.50 / 5

Bottom Line

If you're a serious artist, this ingenious package is a rewarding investment in your creativity.

Would you buy this?

For 13 years now, Corel's Painter has been proving that digital art doesn't have to look, well, digital. And Painter IX shows that a venerable package can still learn new tricks. We tested a shipping version of this worthy upgrade.

As always, Painter's natural-media art implements, from watercolor brushes to felt-tip pens, produce uncannily realistic results--and the new Artists' Oils are the program's most sophisticated tools yet. You can load up a brush with oil paints that you've mixed yourself and then lay down a brushstroke that slowly dries.

Other refinements in this version include watercolors that stay "wet" even when you save a painting and come back to it later. Corel also has enhanced performance by up to 1000 percent, so that working with the virtual art supplies feels even more lifelike. Mastering Painter still takes time, but Corel made a few smart tweaks. For instance, cloning, which lets you paint over a photograph, now takes one step instead of five.

At $429, Painter isn't cheap,and the complete package costs $130 more than version 8 did. You also need a pen tablet such as Wacom's Intuos 3 to fully explore its potential. If you're a serious artist, this ingenious package is a rewarding investment in your creativity.

Struggling for Christmas presents this year? Check out our Christmas Gift Guide for some top tech suggestions and more.

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