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3.3 out of 5 stars27
3.3 out of 5 stars
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on 21 November 2007
I am not an artist, not computer savvy and used this product with a mouse. And even with all those disclaimers I can tell you it was not easy to use until I read the booklet and watched the tutorial. So I suggest you watch the tutorial videos that come with it first. After a little practice I was able to produce "paintings" from photos as it promised. This lets you upload a photo and basically paint over it. And expect to be able to improve as I learn more about all that the software has to offer and of course 'Practice'. I cannot imagine how easy and useful this product would be with a tablet.

As you may be able to tell from this review, I mainly wanted this so that I could enhance my photographs. The Photo Painting was quite nice. When you upload an image all you do is select which parts of it you want shown by using the same variety of paint tools available in the Drawing & Painting workspace. And there are a lot of choices; many that I am not using at the moment, but will with time. You are even able to change the texture of the image by changing the paper; you can change the brush type and width, and even use different kinds of paints. It will take more time to learn all that this software is capable of.

For me this is a big upgrade. I have only used PC Paint before and always found myself frustrated by not having a brush size I wanted to use. Painter Essentials 4 gives you many more options and has greatly reduced this level of frustration I use to feel. Another big plus in my opinion is the undo or unedited, whichever term you are use too, works for many levels. I had gone forward and noticed something I did not like. I was able to remove the last 18 modifications I had made to the painting and it looked as if I could have kept removing them.

My sister visited me and is great a sketching. She loved the charcoal brushes range from pencils to hard or soft charcoal sticks. She mentioned that it was not as easy as drawing with the actual stick, but the sketch looked great. And I am sure with a pen attached and practice it would be just as easy.

I remember when a friend bought the first Corel product and was happy with it. I could never figure out how to use it and it was over three times the cost of this. This is worth the price, has many features and gives you an intro to the basics with its tutorial material that is included.

So considering I could use it for my photos and my sister thought it was a wonderful tool for creating art (in her case sketches), I have to give this two thumbs up as a product for the home.
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on 21 December 2009
This is a chopped down version of Coral PainterX,don't be put off,this is a lot of fun.I'm a retired designer/illustrator and I get an enormous amount of pleasure using this has all the tools you'll need.I use an iMAC 27"and a Wacom tablet [ESSENTIAL...Can't draw with a mouse!]if you're running Windows 7 or Mac Snow Leopard you'll need to download a patch to get all the tools up and running,this is very easy to do.The only TOOL I miss,is the Tracing tool,which i had with CLASSIC PAINTER.I would recommend a big monitor...22'' plus.JUMP IN...ENJOY!
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on 19 August 2008
If you would like to produce some exciting painted effects to your digital images, quickly and easily you will love the options from this software. Almost all traditional media types are available as a preset one click! They are also costomisable to extend the range plus all presets from PE 3 are included if you had any favourites there.
Once you click on a style, off it goes, mimicking real brushstrokes flowing with the subject matter to make a realistic look. It starts with big strokes getting smaller and more detailed. The good thing is you can stop the "painting" at any stage. This allows a loose abstract look all the way to fine details or anywhere inbetween. There is also a clone tool to bring back details selectively and boost details from the digital original.This side of the software requires only a mouse.

If you are artistic and would like to paint from scratch the natural media tools are wonderful, once you get a feel of there instinctive use.
The tutorials are vidio based and well made. You will soon be itching to get started and play with all the options. I do think a graphics tablet is required for working from scratch to give the "FEEL" and flow control of the paint especially using palette knives. It has so many of the tools from it's big brother Painter X, that unless you are a true pro, it is everything you could dream of in a package of this price.
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on 14 November 2009
This software is seriously underpriced compared to the excellent results that are produced. It couldn't be simpler: open the photograph of your choice, choose the style of illustration required, and hit the play button. The result is an enhancement of your original photograph as either a watercolour, oil painting, pencil drawing, coloured sketch, pen and ink or chalk drawing (and more). Or, you can play around with the controls for better variability.

Provision is available within the program to purchase the results from your artistic endeavours online as, for example, a canvas painting.

Add a tablet from Wacom for even better results.

Highly recommended!
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on 2 December 2011
Purchased primarily for my 10 year old daughter and used with a graphics tablet on a Windows 7 laptop. It is fantastic value for the money and does all the enthusastic amateur could want from a starter package without spending too much - so far we have done tracing, inking, creating from scratch and adding/converting photos into artworks with a wide range of styles. The built in tutorials and images are easily followed and in no time you'll be creating great work, even for complete beginners like us and images can be saved as jpegs as well as proprietary formats. Even if you are more experienced I'm sure there is more than enough to keep you going for ages. We would say its a great addition alongside packages like photoshop elements and a great way to try out digital art. Also, if you read other reviews there are lots of complaints this won't work or it freezes on Windows 7. Wrong - dont let this put you off buying it - it does work thanks to this simple workaround I found published on a forum. Firstly: install as normal then navigate to wherever you placed it eg c:\xxx, find the resources folder and in here add in a new blank folder call "Color Profiles". If you run antvirus such as Norton 360 - add painter essentials to its list of exclusions and it will start up and work fully without any problems. Go on, take the plunge and enjoy painting and drawing without the mess!
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on 4 October 2009
I have really enjoyed working with this software, I live by a Mill Pond and have many times taken pictures of Swans and Ducks. Using the Painter Essentials I have turned some of my pictures into works of art. I highly recommend experimenting as there are many ways to achieve better colour and light, using the help menue was fantastic as it truly gave me food for thought. I have been using the impressionist style on some of the pictures and they have come out fantastic. I highly recommend this wonderful software to anyone that would love to creat art pictures at a touch of a button.
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on 28 July 2010
This is a good piece of software for the price
and the Tutorials were very comprehensive and
easy to follow, which is not always the case for
this type of programme.
I have not had much time yet to try out the software,
but with the variety of brushes on offer to represent natural
media tools I think most people will find this programme quite useful
and fun to use.
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on 9 February 2012
Did a trial download of this product today, but brush drawer wouldn't work as it was empty. Corel Chat support told me this was just the trial version, and that online reported problems with Mac OS Lion had been fixed.
Downloaded and paid £39 from Corel site. Enormous frustration as brush drawer still not working. Support said uninstall and gave a link to reinstall.
AN hour later, and guess what? Brush drawer still not working!
Chat support now unavailable, and no reply to email address given by them.

Overall a disaster and terrible time waster. Would have been worse if I'd been waiting for CD .
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on 31 May 2011
The Painter Essentials 4 is a really great way to create art and have fun with the computer. There are so many styles of art one can reproduce with this software. Watercolours, Oils or drawing with a pencil, pastels or Pen and Ink, to name but a few. Even the Chinese style of painting can be reproduced. You can creat a portrate from a photo in any of the styles of painting or drawing. This software I would recomend to anyone who wants to be creative with their computer. Also a much cleaner way to paint, no dirty brushes to wash afterwards.
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on 4 August 2010
Product was easy to install and whilst there is,for me, a steep learning curve,I was up and running very quickly.
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