Corel has announced Painter IX, an enhanced version of its cross-platform painting tool.

The new version offers significant speed enhancements: some brushes, "perform up to ten times faster, and most brushes work, on average, twice as fast", the company said.

The release also introduces a number of brand-new features to enhance creativity. A new oil painting system delivers oil paints that behave like traditional media they blend, mix and feel organic', boasts Coral.

Wet paint used in watercolor mode also stays wet thanks to the product's improved digital watercolour feature, so even if painters start a new session weeks after the last one ended, the paint's not dry. Real artists don't get that luxury.

Time saving features include: Brush Control palettes that are easily accessible on the desktop if users wish to change brush-settings and other variables; a Quick Clone feature that transforms a photo into a painting with one click; a Snap-to-Path Painting tool that saves time by making it possible to constrain a brush stroke along a vector path or shape; and completely customizable shortcut keys.

Animators can now test frame rates within Painter the application's new frames-per-second controls let frame rates be set and previewed in a range of 1-40 frames per second.
Painter IX also offers enhanced compatibility with Photoshop PSD files can be opened in Corel, with layer features intact. This means layer masks, alpha channels and layer sets are maintained and new layers can be added above the selected layer. It is also possible to collapse layers with different merge modes and hide or display multiple layers by clicking and dragging.

Corel Painter IX also supports the new Wacom Intuos 3 tablet range. The full edition costs £249 or registered users can upgrade for £99. An education edition is available for £59. Prices exclude VAT.