For many years Corel released a “lite” or consumer version of its professional painting program Painter called Painter Essentials. Well, Painter Essentials is not more and it has been replaced with Painter Lite, and true to its name it is a “lite” version of Painter.
For those unfamiliar with the Painter line of software, Painter is Corel’s fantastic natural media paint programs. Simply put, you paint or draw with a media in the program and it acts and looks like it does in real life.
For those that have used Painter Essentials in the past you will notice two big differences. First, the interface has been changed to match that of the latest version of Painter, Painter 12. Second, the photo painting features and other activity features of Essentials are gone. Painter Lite is all about the painting and that is what it excels at.
As a natural media painting program Painter has always been fantastic and Painter Lite is no different. It may be slimmed down, but it is still packed with many different brushes to choose from. Acrylics, water color, gouache, oil paints, airbrush, pencils, and many more media tools are present in Painter Lite. Along with them comes a variety of brushes within a particular media. When compared to the full version of Painter there are a lot fewer brushes and tools, however there are plenty for anyone to create a great piece of art. In fact, I would expect many pros could get away with the tools present in Painter Lite.
If you want to get more creative you can play with blenders and palette knives, make a kaleidoscope painting, or use the mirror painting tool.
The tools themselves work great. They are smooth and act as you would expect them to act. The program is responsive and I experiences no lag when painting with the various tools. When used with a Wacom drawing tablet the experience is even better.
Along with the tools you get layers, tonal effects, surface effects, and more. I was very happy to see the layers menu. Many lite versions of paint programs will leave the layers options out and make you pay more for the full version if you want that feature. You also have ten paper textures to choose from to add to the realistic look of your art.
Another difference between the lite version and the full version are export options. Paintings can be saved in JPEG, TIFF, Photoshop, Painter Riff, and PNG formats. These are plenty of options for saving your file for use in another program or printing, etc.
These tools and effects truly make Painter Lite more of a lite version of Painter than Essentials was. Corel has truly improved on the Essentials model and made a much better program.
I am always looking for inexpensive software to recommend to my students and Painter Lite is definitely going to be on that list. Corel’s website says it is an introduction to digital painting. Depending on one’s needs this could even be used by professionals who are experienced at digital painting. It truly is a great paint program for those starting out or professional.
At $69.00 you are getting a lot more than a basic paint program.
MyMac.com rating 9 out of 10