Corel unveils Painter X

Corel on Tuesday unveiled Painter X, the next major version of the company's painting and illustration software. In addition to being Universal Binary, the new version of Painter adds many new features aimed at blurring the lines between traditional and digital art.

Corel said they literally traveled the world to find out what users wanted from Painter. While many of the requests found its way into the new version, the company said they learned a lot about what users thought of the application.

"It really comes down to two things: art and passion," Rick Champagne, Painter X Product Manager, told Macworld. "Painter is designed to be a full digital art studio. You don't look at a painter piece and say 'what a great painter piece,' you look at it and say 'what a great piece of art.'"

One of the new features that Corel is pleased with is called the RealBristle Painting System. Champagne said this system accurately replicates traditional art media with individual bristles that blend and splay, giving the artist the look of a traditional painting.

Corel has made their layer system work similar to Adobe's, making it easy for users to move files between the applications. Files saved to the Photoshop (PSD) file format open in Corel Painter, with layer masks, alpha channels and layer sets (groups) maintained.

Painter X also adds new Composition Tools including Divine Proportion, which provides guidelines that follow the Divine Proportion (also known as the Golden Ratio) to enable artists to compose their images like the Masters.

The Photo painting system has been enhanced and a new match palette has been added to make matching colors easier, according to Corel. A new Workspace Manager, and Dodge and Burn tools round out the feature set of Painter X.

Champagne said that Painter users will be amazed with the speed improvements of Painter X. He said the improvements will be seen by all users, especially in brush performance, opening and saving RIFF files and rendering effects. The most dramatic speed improvements, according to Champagne, will be experienced by customers running Intel-based Macs.

The English version of Painter X is available for pre-order today and will ship in late February. Corel Painter X costs $429 for the full version, $229 for upgrade and $99 for the education edition. A Limited Edition Painter Can is available for $499.

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