Corel Painter 2021, hands on: Performance and productivity improvements, plus a subscription model Review

Corel has been putting out annually updates to its Painter normal media illustration application for some years with Painter 2021, it really is introducing a membership choice for the 1st time (£159/$199 a yr, £14.ninety nine/$19.ninety nine a thirty day period). Everlasting licences (£359.ninety nine/$429) are even now obtainable for […]

Corel has been putting out annually updates to its Painter normal media illustration application for some years with Painter 2021, it really is introducing a membership choice for the 1st time (£159/$199 a yr, £14.ninety nine/$19.ninety nine a thirty day period). Everlasting licences (£359.ninety nine/$429) are even now obtainable for artists who like that, and enhance pricing (£179.ninety nine/$229 with a low cost for early upgraders) applies if you’ve got acquired any past model — all the way back to when the application came in an true paint can.

Now that Corel has a number of years of yearly releases with options that are really worth upgrading for, introducing a membership will make feeling. But end users who like to adhere with perpetual licences can even now wait around until eventually a ‘must-have’ element comes along.


Painter 2021 delivers extra GPU-accelerated brushes.

Impression: Corel

The 2021 model also continues the performance advancement work started in past releases: there are extra GPU-accelerated brushes and many new AMD GPUs are now supported for components acceleration. Run the performance optimiser with any other purposes you expect to have open when employing Painter to tune the brush accelerator to your components (and to get a rating that will exhibit you process performance).


Leading: An primary Surface Book with very low marks even now delivers good portray performance with GPU brushes. Earlier mentioned: A beefy gaming notebook will make an excellent Painter process.

Pictures: Mary Branscombe / ZDNet

Even with a very low CPU rating on a 1st-era Surface Book, GPU-accelerated brushes had been even now fast and responsive with minor or no lag, and switching from brush to brush feels a lot more quickly than on past versions. You even now have to lookup for accelerated brushes (variety in ‘GPU’, ‘AVX2’ or ‘multicore’ to come across brushes that take advantage of that components). We might like to see a pre-crafted brush set to make it simpler to choose between just accelerated brushes directly. With macOS Catalina, you can use an iPad as a next display, employing Apple’s Sidecar element, and Apple Pencil end users can tilt the stylus at an angle to control the shape of the brushstroke (catching up with the type of fine control that Wacom pens have very long supplied).

There are several modest improvements that will make artists extra effective: you can pick the orientation of the canvas, set the variety of layer you want to paint directly into and cover the canvas fully, all from the new image display. A lot more of the controls you work with commonly, like Layers, which experienced lagged at the rear of in comparison to graphics and image editing tools, are now a lot simpler to work with, with the tools directly on the levels panel. You can increase a new layer, change-find a number of levels to team or collapse them, flip a layer vertically or horizontally, or ‘lift’ the canvas to work on it. That usually means you can paint two watercolour levels without the need of one affecting the paint on the other, and then merge them so you can increase outcomes to each at when.


Thick paint is supported by sixteen brushes, supplying you a good deal of media variety alternatives.

Impression: Corel

Thick paint — which definitely seems to be like oil, acrylic and other textured paint — is no longer restricted to a exclusive layer: you can use it on any layer, can set just how thick the thick paint is, and there are sixteen new brushes that work with thick paint — so you can use chalk, pastel and other media sorts with the texture of thick paint. If you use reference photographs you can change a image to thick paint to paint on, or you can set the canvas to thick paint. The texturiser lets you use texture and thickness without the need of applying new paint and color: when you have the color you want, that lets you get the proper glimpse for your portray without the need of possessing to repaint it fully.

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Pick out to preserve transparency and you can paint in excess of the precise brush strokes on a preferred layer, which lets you goal your paint outcomes incredibly exactly.

It’s also a lot simpler to see what brushes work with precise layer sorts — and if you pick up a brush that won’t work on the existing layer, Painter will give to make a new layer. You can have that transpire instantly, or get the warning each individual time so you know precisely what impact you may get.


The new AI designs do not paint the photo for you, but they do make it a lot faster to get started.

Impression: Mary Branscombe / ZDNet

Painter 2021 receives a related ‘AI styles’ element to CorelDRAW the twelve designs give you related machine-mastering-driven outcomes to common mobile phone apps that flip a image into a mosaic or a van Gogh portray. That is not an attempt to automate portray, but it does make it a lot more quickly to build a portray from a reference image so you can then go on to extra artistic electronic artwork.

SEE: Managing AI and ML in the business 2020: Tech leaders increase task improvement and implementation (TechRepublic High quality)

Painters get a great deal of control in excess of the new AI designs: you can set the amount of element, how carefully to match the color and how a lot smoothing to use to eliminate the artefacts created by applying the design. Underpaintings lets you alter the brightness and saturation of the outcomes, and when you get a blend of these configurations that delivers the glimpse you want, you can help you save it as a preset for next time.


Clone tinting allows you to build new compositions from existing or AI-styled artwork. 

Impression: Corel

The new clone tinting element also works effectively for portray by hand based mostly on a image, or for introducing element to an AI design-addressed image. Cloning a image resource lets you paint places of the image into your image clone tinting lets you tint the image you happen to be cloning with a new color, so you can increase environmentally friendly to brown grass and even now get the texture, or make waves a brighter blue as you paint them in.

If the AI design impact has been much too spectacular in one space, or if you’ve got painted in excess of much too a lot of the primary image as you work, you can clone parts of the image back into your portray, adjusting the color as you go. There’s a record in the brush palette with 14 new brushes that work effectively with clone tinting, such as pencils, watercolours and oils. The more durable you press, the extra of the clone color you get the lighter your stroke, the extra of the selected tint color is utilized, so you can get a incredibly delicate impact in one space and ramp up the color alter in an additional.

This is a good blend of improvements to the overall portray workflow: performance and artist efficiency are improved with some excellent new tools that make it simpler for painters to get precisely the outcomes they want, and to experiment with outcomes they may possibly not have tried out before. And if you happen to be new to electronic portray, you can get straight to the exciting component without the need of spending almost as very long functioning out how to get started.

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