Corel Painter 7.0

With a filter or two, any photo-editing program can make a picture look like an oil painting, watercolour or pencil scribble. If you want to create original artwork that looks like artwork, rather than something quite obviously done on a computer, your only serious option is Painter.

Now under the Corel banner, Painter 7.0 improves the realism of certain real-media effects, fixes some fiddly interface issues and adds important new tools and features. Painter isn't like other so-called paint packages; instead, it uses detailed fractal techniques to give rough edges, non-uniform colour and even surface effects and underlying canvas texture to brush strokes. Oils look sticky, crayons crumble, felt-tips blotch and blacken when scribbled, and so on. It's the fine artist's choice of graphics software, and the use of a pressure-sensitive graphics tablet with Painter 7.0 is not just highly recommended - it's pretty much mandatory.

The biggest new feature in the version 7.0 upgrade is a much-improved watercolour action. Now subsequent brush strokes clash with each other realistically rather than just overlap. This is controlled from a new Water section in the Brush Controls palette, where you can adjust the wetness of the stroke, and how much it re-wets and picks up other strokes underneath. You also have sliders for controlling how the paint spreads and soaks into the paper, and then get to determine how this takes place over time by adjusting evaporation and dry rate sliders. You can even set what Painter calls a 'wind direction' angle for the soaking, by default pointing downwards to impersonate normal gravitational dribbling.

Another key upgrade feature is Liquid Ink - a new medium that acts like viscous paint. The best analogy would be DIY emulsion or gloss paint, applied with thick, overloaded brushes or slapped on with a palette knife. If you make several splodges adjacent to each other, they may blob together; or you can apply a smoothing swipe to run them into each other after you have already laid down the initial paint. In a clever twist, Liquid Ink can be erased, too.

Other upgrade features include a helpful diagram-based colour management dialogue window, and a couple of mono and spot colour filter effects. There is now a zoom slider at the bottom of the screen for real-time magnification, and you can capture colours from one image to use as an ink palette for creating a new image. As before, Painter can save to and re-open Photoshop files, but now it also supports type and other special layers (although not clipping paths or impasto effects).

The only problem with Painter 7.0 is that very little has been done to simplify the palette-heavy and often idiosyncratic interface.

Price: $999; $549 (upgrade)

Phone: 1800 658 850


Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Alistair Dabbs

PC World
Show Comments



Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >



Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?