Corel Painter 12 Review in Progress by Digital Watercolourist Joan A Hamilton


Update:  Nov. 27, 2011
Since this post still gets a lot of hits, I feel compelled to say that although Corel Painter 12 crashes a lot for me, I am still totally blown away at the power and the true amazingness of it! I think I may have identified a pattern and maybe the Corel guy who has offered a conference call to help me out will be getting a call soon.
Meanwhile make sure you upload any patches to the program (only one so far) and do your Wacom driver updates.
I thought we were going to have to wait a little longer for Painter 12 to be released, and perhaps they should have hung onto it and worked a few more bugs out. It crashed four times on me today on my first day. I wasn't doing anything especially tasking or weird. After 10 days it is still crashing freqently ( 3- 4 times a day). Maybe a bit less each day! Seems to not crash as often when you save frequently too, which is nice because you lose other stuff in your workspace from that session besides your document. Save your Custom Palettes (these are still called Palettes) when you add to them! Maybe there is another way, but I name mine and when I adda new brush I go into Window - Custom Palette - Organizer, chose the palette and Rename it with the same name to ensure the new brush is added. 
Rather a disappointing beginning, especially in view of the fact that I really like the new Real Watercolour Brushes. The controls are so amazing! The Fractal brushes are wonderful and I can see how how I will be able to use them to paint a lot more convincing 'watercolours.'  
It's now a week since I downloaded my trial version and I have been putting it through the paces daily. The way the Real Watercolour Brushes work is nothing short of amazing! These are the brushes I wanted when I first started painting with Corel Painter 9. The only way I could get brushes that made similar marks were custom made.
Ten days in my trial: in Painter 12. I have completed a study of a traditionally painted watercolour using the new Real Watercolours. A painting with a number of different watercolour painting techniques and brushstrokes required was chosen deliberately to test how 'realistically' I could paint watercolours digitally.  I am waiting to hear from the original artist about whether I can post her painting and my study.
Update: The study mentioned above can be found here Out of the Blue Study
I can say that I was fairly pleased with my results and know with more practice and experience my digital watercolours can contain the signature look of watercolour with all the attendant 'visual language' of watercolour we love so well. 
Brushstrokes, glazes and washes  etc. are just a small part of learning to paint watercolours traditionally or digitally. The Real Watercolours and the wonderful Custom brush sets by Painter Masters like Skip Allen, Karen Bonaker, and  John Derry to name a few, really open up a whole new world of watercolour painting digitally. The sophisticated controls of the Real Watercolour Brushes will allow us to have so much more control over our watercolour mark making and more than introduce the exciting randomness and sheer juicy expressiveness of wet watercolours marks to our watercolour paintings! I have never used brushes that behaved this way before and it will take a lot more experimentation before I really could say I have control of them.
The way they work makes me think that if you already know a thing or two about painting watercolours traditionally that you are ahead of the game.
If you are a traditional artist who has been waiting to see how painting software can improve to a point where you might want to try it, I would say this is a good point to jump in. Painter 12 is a very powerful painting program, the interface has been  designed with a logical workflow in mind, and the tools have been refined to a perfect balance between form and function. Fine Artists will be astounded at the expressive qualities of this program. There is something for everyone in it, from beginner to professional.
I noticed on the Painter Talk  Forum the other day that Skip Allen will be teaching a class on Painter 12 soon. (June 18, 2011) He has had his hands on it as a beta tester for awhile, and his course is sure to worthwhile because Skip takes the time to really understand how the software works and does an excellent job of getting the information across to his students. (He also has a heart of gold and the patience of a saint. I can attest to that after all the help he gave me straightening out my brush libraries and loading brushes.)
  • Painter 12-A New Beginning with Painter Master, Skip Allen at Digital Art Academy and is excellent. I highly recommend it if you have upgraded to 12.
If you are new to Painter altogether, then Elaina Moore_Kelly's course's would be great for you.
  • Introduction to ®Corel Painter 12 Part-I- with Elaina Moore-Kelly
Skip is already hard at work making some new and amazing  watercolour brushes in Painter 12. Can't wait to try them out.
 Some Experimentation Results with Corel Painter 12:
 Copy right Joan A Hamilton
The above painting is called Catastrophe. It was partly  made with an Image Warp effect to get the earthlike layers in a roundish shape. Actually I had sort of planned this, but not exactly. I was thinking of a smaller scale than global, but it looked  so symboloic of the earth and all the natural disasters that have been occurring all over the world in recent years. My husband maintains we just hear about them more, but I believe there has definitely been an increase in the number and the severity of natural disasters. (I should check that out some time... hmm.) 

More coming soon on painting watercolours digitally using Painter 11 and 12! 

My Related Posts: 

Corel Painter Won't Open - Has this Happened to YOU?



add a comment

Please type the number exactly as it appears