Customer Review

7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Useful new features alongside performance and stability improvements, 31 Aug 2013
This review is from: Corel Painter X3 (PC/Mac) (DVD-ROM)
Before I start my review I should mention that I'm a beta tester for Painter as well as being lucky enough to be on Corel's Painter Advisory Council. I feel very privileged to be able to play some small part in making Painter better with each version. Having said all that, I take part in these activities because I love using Painter, and not the other way round, and my review is written purely from my experience as a user.

Before I start mentioning any new features, I think it's important to note that performance and stability have been given plenty of attention, building on, and improving on Painter 12. I've always had reasonable load times with the last couple of versions of Painter. Painter 12 takes about 7 seconds from double click to being at the Welcome Screen and ready to create a new document. Painter X3 is between 5 and 6 seconds. It feels more stable too. I haven't had a single crash when using the retail version, and it's been capable of handling some fairly hefty image sizes without complaint.

On to the new features now. I'm only going to cover those most important and valuable to me as an illustrator. There are improvements and new features catering for photo-painters too, but I'm not the best person to cover these.

The standout feature for me has to be the new Perspective Tool. Previous versions of Painter has a Perspective Grid that could be turned on, off and manipulated. It catered for one-point perspective only, and was of limited usefulness. To be honest, apart from trying it out once or twice I soon dismissed it. The new Perspective Tool is a different matter entirely. It allows the user to set up one-point, two-point and three-point perspectives. It allows the user to save presets, which is wonderful for those situations that need more than one set of vanishing points (a spaceship banking for example with a city in the background). The way that brushstrokes snap to the perspective guidelines is very cool, and the fact that they can be used simply as a visual guides too is useful. One tip is to hold down shift when working with perspective snapping to temporarily switch back to freehand drawing. I spent 4 years at college many moons ago, where we had to create accurate perspective drawings from scale plans, sections and elevations. I wish we had Painter back then.

The new Advanced Brush Controls is a fantastic idea, and will hopefully make tweaking Painter's brushes a little less intimidating for new users. It's a very simple idea, but a good one, and well executed. When activated it shows a small subset of brush controls, concentrating on only the most important ones for the chosen brush. Users still have access to the full set of Brush Controls though, which are needed for the clever people that love creating brushes almost from scratch.

The Brush search feature is nice. It's a great way to discover new brushes, as well as a good way to track down half-remembered ones.

Stroke previews: The stroke previews have improved so much that I find myself making test strokes on the canvas less often.

The new Reference Image panel is cool. In the past I had to open a second document to see a reference image. The new panel floats above the document window making it much more useful for me. I personally would have like the options to either open more than one reference image panel, or, have multiple tabs in one panel, but this is a good start.

Universal Jitter: This is a great feature for people like me that perhaps want to paint a bit more expressively. Being able to assign a bit of chaos and randomness to many of the brush settings is a good way to start.

There are a great number of very small tweaks and improvements too, but some of them deserve a mention as they show that Corel listen to their users. Simple little things like the default tool on the Mixer Panel being the eyedropper... no more accidentally messing up a perfectly good Mixer Pad with a big blob of black after a moments inattention. In previous versions Ctrl+B summoned up all the Brush Controls, and then Ctrl+B again only closed down the General Panel. Now a second press puts all the Brush Controls away again neatly.

I would happily recommend X3 to anyone (and I do), and for anyone undecided I'd recommend they try the demo
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 2 Sep 2013 13:47:02 BDT
Dear J Malcolm

Thanks for your considered and comprehensive review. We're really glad you are enjoying the new Painter X3 product, and are very appreciative that you have shared this experience with other users.

Thanks

Daniel Bastone
Retail Manager
Corel UK
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