Corel Painter X is now available for pre-order from Corel UK.

The software is a leading application for natural painting and illustration on a computer, ideally used with a Wacom graphics tablet. The software supports Wacom's Cintiq21 UX interactive pen display and the Intuos3 pen tablet. This release is a Universal Binary for Intel and PowerPC Macs.
Blurring the lines between natural and digital media

The company claims its new software "blurs the line between traditional and digital art like never before". Its developers tried to extend the solution's natural feel by examining the relationship between the artist’s hand and the canvas.

“Corel Painter X is the most natural, organic and powerful version yet,” said Rick Champagne, product manager for Corel Painter.

Painter X offers better performance than any version yet of the naturalmedia software. It also offers new composition tools and the all-new RealBristle Painting System that provides an organic painting and illustration experience – right down to the individual bristles on the brush.
The RealBristle Painting System heightens the responsiveness of the brush, replicating traditional art media with individual bristles that blend and splay, as in the traditional world.
The software's new Composition Tools include the Divine Proportion composition tool which offers guidelines that follow the Divine Proportion (also known as the Golden Ratio) to enable artists to compose their images like the Masters. The new Layout Grid composition tool provides guidelines that follow photography’s Rule of Thirds, but can be customised to other desired grid patterns.
The Photo-Painting System has been improved while the Underpainting Palette now includes colour schemes based on various media styles, such as Impressionist, Classical, Modern, Watercolor, Sketchbook and Chalk Drawing.

Palettes on patrol

The Auto-Painting palette has been significantly updated with the introduction of the new Smart Stroke Painting option which applies brush strokes that follow the forms of the original photo. Smart Stroke Painting changes brush size, stroke length and pressure based on the detail and focal areas of the original image.
The Match Palette effect includes controls for colour, colour variation, brightness, brightness variation and intensity. Also new is the Universal Mixer palette which offers better control over colour blending between the Mixer palette and the canvas.
Workspace Manager lets users back up, share or switch between customised workspaces. Artists can create customised environments for such activities as sketching, photography and painting. In addition, custom brushes can now be quickly exported and shared with others in the community.
Dodge and Burn tools have been improved with the addition of two new image enhancement tools to the toolbox. The Dodge tool will lighten specific areas of an image, while the Burn tool can be used to darken areas of an image.

Colour management has also been improved to offer more accurate colour reproduction on devices and when it comes to printing an illustration. Users need only set their Colour Management preferences once and the software will retain those settings.

Photoshop familiar

Users will also find that Layers work in a very similar fashion to the way they do in Photoshop. Files saved to the Photoshop (PSD) file format open in Corel Painter, with layer masks, alpha channels and layer sets (groups) maintained. Enhancements include easier layer grouping and combining, and improved support for layer merge modes.
Painter X ships with a printed, full-colour illustrated manual, a selection of training videos (featuring artist Jeremy Sutton) and extensive references to take users to a wide selection of online resources.
Painter X is available for Mac OS X and Windows (including Vista). The software also supports many Photoshop plug-ins, the company said.
Corel is also releasing the software in a special limited edition can.

Corel Painter X (full version, upgrade version, education edition and Limited Edition Painter Can) is available for pre-order now. Boxed product ships in late February. Japanese, French, Italian and German versions will be available throughout the spring of 2007.
Suggested retail pricing (excluding VAT) for Corel Painter X is £229 for full, £119 for upgrade. The Limited Edition Painter Can is available for £259.