Price When Reviewed: 205 . 106
Pros: RealBristle functionality adds a new level of control. Handy new composition tools.
Cons: Autopainting tools promise more than they deliver.
Long the favourite of amateur painters, Corel Painter has nonetheless established itself as a significant tool for illustrators, and this latest edition strengthens that position.
The application’s raison d’être is, of course, to simulate the results of working with real art tools such as pens and brushes but with the advantages of a digital environment, such as better workflow control and, well, less mess.
The other hot new feature –- Divine Proportion (see the clickable image on the top-right) -- is a mathematical formula often expressed in geometry. Also known as the golden section or golden ratio, it has been found in art –- notably in the work of Leonardo Da Vinci –- as well as architecture, and page-layout canons by Jan Tschichold, the master of modernist design and typography. It even crops up in nature itself.
In short, it states that a ratio of 1:1.61603398874989 (or phi - roughly three to five) is most pleasing to the
eye when expressed visually. By drawing the ratio as a graph and superimposing it over a canvas, you can find how and where to place marks that will be more likely to appeal to a viewer - and this is exactly what Painter’s new tool does.
Divine proportion is an important compositional tool and can make for pleasing proportions. Its presence in Painter X makes an intriguing addition to the software, but how much actual use is it?
Corel’s publicity for the function skirts rather close to numerology, or at least metaphysics, but really it simply amounts to a handy method for arranging the composition of an image – a rule to be applied or broken as one sees fit – and the fact that it is not directly allied to the crop tool is surprising.