Corel Painter 12 review

Price when reviewed

Painter also improves the various Brush Control panels, adding dedicated panels for managing the new brushes and the ability to calibrate each brush variant’s pressure and velocity responsiveness individually.

It also adds two important general parameters to control blend-mode merging and enable multicore CPU support. The latter promises better performance, but processing all these brush variables is hugely demanding, so even with a fast, modern system Painter 12 doesn’t exactly feel snappy.

It isn’t just advanced features that have been spruced up, though. Core settings such as brush size, opacity, angle and shape are now easier than ever to apply. There’s also a new colour wheel you can call up, on-canvas, to define your paint colour where you plan to apply it.

Corel Painter 12 - mirror mode

Painter also lets you automatically pick up colours from a source image in a process known as “cloning”, and makes it easier to use multiple source images, imported and selected using the new Clone Source panel. These sources are also now embedded with the image, making file management and refinement simple.

The big new feature in this release, however, is the Mirror Painting Mode (see screenshot above). This lets you create striking symmetrical and kaleidoscopic artworks by repeating your strokes around vertical, horizontal or radial axes.

This might not sound all that impressive – after all, there are plenty of simple filters for adding such effects – but Painter 12’s capability is very different as the effect is live, interactive and seamless with each stroke independently interacting with the paint below. The results can be truly creative and beautiful – in fact, it’s rare for them not to be. It’s also a lot of fun.

Mirror painting is undoubtedly a superb addition, but again it’s an occasionally useful one rather than a game changer. Ultimately, Painter 12 stands or falls by its existing strengths, and for the widest range of control over the widest range of artistic tools, it still leads the pack.


Software subcategoryGraphics/design software

Operating system support

Operating system Windows Vista supported?yes
Operating system Windows XP supported?yes
Operating system Linux supported?no
Operating system Mac OS X supported?yes

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