Corel has been putting out annually updates to its Painter purely natural media illustration software for some decades with Painter 2021, it truly is introducing a subscription solution for the first time (£159/$199 a calendar year, £14.ninety nine/$19.ninety nine a thirty day period). Long lasting licences (£359.ninety nine/$429) are even now readily available for artists who choose that, and upgrade pricing (£179.ninety nine/$229 with a lower price for early upgraders) applies if you’ve purchased any past version — all the way back again to when the software came in an genuine paint can.

Now that Corel has a number of decades of yearly releases with options that are value upgrading for, including a subscription can make feeling. But end users who choose to adhere with perpetual licences can even now wait right up until a ‘must-have’ element comes alongside.


Painter 2021 delivers much more GPU-accelerated brushes.

Image: Corel

The 2021 version also carries on the functionality advancement get the job done started in past releases: there are much more GPU-accelerated brushes and a lot of new AMD GPUs are now supported for components acceleration. Run the functionality optimiser with any other applications you be expecting to have open when working with Painter to tune the brush accelerator to your components (and to get a score that will clearly show you process functionality).


Major: An initial Area Ebook with minimal marks even now delivers fantastic painting functionality with GPU brushes. Above: A beefy gaming laptop can make an superb Painter process.

Illustrations or photos: Mary Branscombe / ZDNet

Even with a minimal CPU score on a first-era Area Ebook, GPU-accelerated brushes ended up even now quickly and responsive with very little or no lag, and switching from brush to brush feels much a lot quicker than on past variations. You even now have to research for accelerated brushes (form in ‘GPU’, ‘AVX2’ or ‘multicore’ to come across brushes that get gain of that components). We might like to see a pre-created brush set to make it much easier to pick involving just accelerated brushes right. With macOS Catalina, you can use an iPad as a 2nd display, working with Apple’s Sidecar element, and Apple Pencil end users can tilt the stylus at an angle to manage the form of the brushstroke (catching up with the sort of wonderful manage that Wacom pens have long presented).

There are several little improvements that will make artists much more effective: you can pick the orientation of the canvas, set the form of layer you want to paint right into and disguise the canvas completely, all from the new impression display. A lot more of the controls you get the job done with usually, like Levels, which experienced lagged behind in contrast to graphics and image editing instruments, are now much much easier to get the job done with, with the instruments right on the layers panel. You can include a new layer, change-select a number of layers to group or collapse them, flip a layer vertically or horizontally, or ‘lift’ the canvas to get the job done on it. That means you can paint two watercolour layers without having a person affecting the paint on the other, and then merge them so you can include outcomes to both at as soon as.


Thick paint is supported by sixteen brushes, supplying you a good deal of media form options.

Image: Corel

Thick paint — which actually appears to be like oil, acrylic and other textured paint — is no extended restricted to a exclusive layer: you can use it on any layer, can set just how thick the thick paint is, and there are sixteen new brushes that get the job done with thick paint — so you can use chalk, pastel and other media kinds with the texture of thick paint. If you use reference pics you can change a image to thick paint to paint on, or you can set the canvas to thick paint. The texturiser allows you use texture and thickness without having applying new paint and color: when you have the color you want, that allows you get the suitable appear for your painting without having obtaining to repaint it completely.

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Select to protect transparency and you can paint over the precise brush strokes on a selected layer, which allows you target your paint outcomes incredibly specifically.

It can be also much much easier to see what brushes get the job done with precise layer kinds — and if you pick up a brush that does not get the job done on the existing layer, Painter will offer to make a new layer. You can have that transpire immediately, or get the warning each and every time so you know specifically what impact you can expect to get.


The new AI styles do not paint the photograph for you, but they do make it much more rapidly to get started.

Image: Mary Branscombe / ZDNet

Painter 2021 receives a similar ‘AI styles’ element to CorelDRAW the 12 styles give you similar machine-finding out-pushed outcomes to well known cell phone applications that convert a image into a mosaic or a van Gogh painting. That’s not an attempt to automate painting, but it does make it much a lot quicker to produce a painting from a reference image so you can then go on to much more innovative electronic artwork.

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Painters get a ton of manage over the new AI styles: you can set the level of detail, how closely to match the color and how much smoothing to use to take away the artefacts developed by applying the style. Underpaintings allows you alter the brightness and saturation of the outcomes, and when you get a combination of these configurations that delivers the appear you want, you can help you save it as a preset for future time.


Clone tinting will allow you to produce new compositions from current or AI-styled artwork. 

Image: Corel

The new clone tinting element also functions perfectly for painting by hand dependent on a image, or for including detail to an AI style-addressed image. Cloning a image resource allows you paint parts of the image into your impression clone tinting allows you tint the impression you happen to be cloning with a new color, so you can include green to brown grass and even now get the texture, or make waves a brighter blue as you paint them in.

If the AI style impact has been too dramatic in a person region, or if you’ve painted over too much of the initial impression as you get the job done, you can clone pieces of the image back again into your painting, modifying the color as you go. There’s a listing in the brush palette with 14 new brushes that get the job done perfectly with clone tinting, which include pencils, watercolours and oils. The harder you push, the much more of the clone color you get the lighter your stroke, the much more of the chosen tint color is applied, so you can get a incredibly delicate impact in a person region and ramp up the color alter in a different.

This is a fantastic combination of improvements to the over-all painting workflow: functionality and artist efficiency are enhanced with some superb new instruments that make it much easier for painters to get specifically the outcomes they want, and to experiment with outcomes they could not have tried using in advance of. And if you happen to be new to electronic painting, you can get straight to the enjoyment component without having shelling out just about as long doing the job out how to get started.

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