Corel Painter 2018 has been released, adding new tools with a focus on adding more texture to artworks created using the digital painting software for Mac and PC.

Corel is currently offering 50% off the full or upgrade price - £359.99/US$429, or £179.99/$229 for an upgrade - which you can get by going here and using the code 18FLLC

The new Thick Paint brushes (below) mimic the behaviour of real world tools such as bristle brushes palette knives when used with thickly layered paint. Corel notes that the paint acts as if has real volume and elasticity, allowing you to pull, push or scrape it around – blending colours realistically. That volume also means it casts shadows on areas with thinner paint, based on a light source whose strength and direction you control. 

When working with Think Paint brushes, your cursor displays how much paint is left on your brush – and you can reload it at any time by holding down a key and dragging.

As you'd expect there are presets to get you started, plus new Thick Paint panels for endless tinkering with settings.

Tom Bagshaw, who's currently reviewing Painter 2018 for us, notes that Thick Paint is a welcome addition to Painter – as previously he would need to take work over ArtRage to get that specific effect. We'll be publishing Tom's full review soon.

Alongside Thick Paint is 2.5D Thick Texture brushes, which are aimed at those creating textures for use on 3D models (below).

Painter's overall technology for accurately representing paint as a liquid has been improved – including how it drips down a canvas – to bring through the underlying colour (essentially adding a level of transparency to paint, as seen below). Corel has highlighted how this affects the Sargent Brush when used on an empty layer for an oil-like effect.

For new users coming from real-world painting, there's a new library of brushes that collects tools they're familiar with. The Natural-Media brush library includes pencils, pastels, oils, acrylics and more.

For more realistic depiction of grain in the surface you're painting on, you can now slightly rotate the paper grain with every stroke you make using a setting called Random Grain Rotation. You can see the effect below.

The new Selection Brush tool lets you use brushstrokes to select areas that you want to paint inside (or outside) of. You can use an stamp-based brush for this – or use one from the new Selection category of brushes. To make telling what you've selected from what you haven't, Painter can put a coloured overlay over the selected area. And there are fine-tuning controls too.

Finally there are lots of improvements to Painter's cloning workflow, for artists working with photos (such as below).

Corel Painter 2018 costs £359.99 including VAT/US$429. Current users can upgrade for £179.99/$229. You can buy it, upgrade and find more info on the Corel Painter website.