Corel has used the launch of Painter 7.0 – the industry’s most popular natural-media painting tool – to form a new brand under which to sell some of its creative arts tools. Dubbed Procreate, it will form an umbrella brand for Painter 7, with Corel saying that new versions of KPT and Knockout will follow this year. Painter 7, which is scheduled to ship this month, adds a swathe of enhancements, including new brush technology, colour management tools, interface changes, and text changes. Painter 7, which hasn’t seen a major update in 18 months, is a digital painting program that simulates the realistic features of an artist’s palette through natural-media technology. This gives inks, paints, chalks, pastels, and pencils a photorealistic appearance. Headlining the update is the addition of complex watercolour technology – which Procreate says sets a new standard for natural-media simulation.Painter 7 attempts to recreate real-world watercolours by adding controls for the wetness and evaporation rate of the paper. New wetness controls alter the dilution and spread of the dye, so as the wetness increases, the stroke expands across a larger surface area. Procreate has added a technology it dubs Liquid Ink, which it says mimics the viscosity and surface tension of a thick, gluey medium such as ink. The result is that when Liquid Ink strokes are applied in close proximity to each other, they congeal and blend together as they would in the real world. Procreate has lifted the extensive colour management system from CorelDraw and dropped it, feature-complete, into Painter 7. Sporting a simple-to-use interface that lets you design your colour workflow using graphical flowcharts and pop-up menus, it also features the ability to embed ICC colour profiles into images. Procreate has loaded the release with colour reduction effects – with a distress and serigraphy effect joining the woodcut effect. Also new is the addition of perspective grids, which are non-printing lines that converge at a single vanishing point. The Painter interface has been tweaked, according to Procreate, and the update works on Mac OS X, with the Carbonized application adopting the Aqua look-&-feel. Palettes can now be customized, creating palette sets that are suitable to specific workflows. A continuous and variable zoom has also been added using a slider. Export features now include JPEG and GIF previews – previous versions couldn’t save in these two formats. The preview feature lets users adjust settings such as image quality, HTML mapping options, numbers of colours, and object transparency. A live update of the image is shown, so users can see the end result of any changes to these attributes. Painter 7 is scheduled to ship in August, although UK pricing is TBA.