Corel Painter

Corel Painter is a pixel- based drawing program, which allows to simulate the PC natural painting tools such as oil, acrylic, watercolor, or charcoal on different materials. Developed, Mark rooms in the early 1990s, for the time being exclusively for Macintosh computers. A Windows version was not developed until much later. As a predecessor of Painter applies the Mac software Sketcher, which is also from Mark Zimmermann. Sketcher worked exclusively in shades of gray and already offered early 1990s various Malwekzeug simulations and paper structures.

Painter comes originally founded by Mark rooms software company fractal design. In 1997, Fractal Design has been, along with other software companies, in the course of a merger part of the company MetaCreations. Two years later, Metacreations separated from the division graphics software. Painter was acquired by Corel. After Corel released version 6 of the software, the brand " ProCreate " was used for version 7, a created specially for department Painter Corel. The new brand met with little acceptance. From version 8 renamed again as Corel manufacturer.

Unlike Adobe Photoshop, which was developed for image processing, to Painter aimed mainly at artists and illustrators. The image editing tools are in place, their functionality is, however rudimentary. So Painter supports about any files in the CMYK color mode and no spot colors. The emphasis in Painter is on the paint tools that allow a possible true simulation of natural painting media. Unlike on the market "art filters" Painter offers relatively little automatic functions and assumes the user skills in painting and drawing techniques.

Input Devices

The program can only make good use of a graphics tablet. An operation with the mouse is possible, but can not nearly exhaust the potential of the software. Painter supports all the features of modern graphics tablets, including tilt and rotation of the input pin. The response characteristic of the software on the tablet inputs can be set large.

File Formats

Painter stores its files in proprietary format RIFF (Raster Image File Format), which reserves the only all processing aspects of the software. Despite the identical abbreviation RIFF format of Painter is not to be confused with the Resource Interchange File Format. Saving in other formats, both proprietary open is possible, but leads to loss of some processing functions. The Adobe Photoshop format with layers and layer masks is supported, and it often comes in Painter to misinterpretation of individual elements of the Photoshop files. Painter opens under other RGB files of the TIFF, JPEG, PNG, Photoshop. Placement of EPS vector files is supported.

Painter supports the established Adobe plug- in interface.

Video and Animation

Painter can open and edit video files in QuickTime containers and is therefore often used for rotoscoping.

A special feature of Painter is the inclusion of work processes in the form of scripts. The scripting is enabled by default and logs the work in the background. Recorded scripts can be played back at a later time to repaint about an image with other tools or in a higher resolution. In addition, can be implemented simple animations using the scripting feature of Painter.


Even before levels were standard in image editing, Painter Compatible with "floating objects " (floating objects) and again storable variable superimposition of image elements. In Painter 5 some painting tools were offered that appeared as a separate floating objects. However, the concept of the floating objects proved to be cumbersome to use and met with little acceptance among users. In version 6.0 of Painter (1999), known from other image editors levels were introduced. Certain painting tools, for example, watercolor or ink, require in Painter own, dedicated levels that are to be processed with no other tools.

When painting with watercolor brushes the color and possibly the paper remain even after saving in RIFF format and later Open " wet" with the corresponding behavior of colors. The " dry " must be aware activated by the user.

Painter makes it possible to develop ways of working that are not technically feasible in the real world. Thus, for example oil colors blur with water.

Up to and including version 5, the software was sold as standard in a bucket of paint from sheet metal. Starting with version X Painter is offered in the paint bucket packaging as a limited version.

Creating your own tools and materials is possible. Additional brushes, papers or structures are offered both free and commercial.


Mid- 1990s developed the Painter team the expression vector painting software. The software simulated, like Painter, natural painting tools, but not pixel- vector-based. This made resolution independent work possible. However, the time available hardware was not powerful enough for real-time processing of such complex graphics. The program was not developed further. In 2004 expression was acquired by Microsoft and is offered as Microsoft_Expression.


Dabbler ( Fractal Design) - simplistic, playful oriented version of Painter. The user interface use the metaphor of an artist workshop: the tools and materials were stored in faithfully depicted drawers, the canvas looked like a pad of paper. The painting was accompanied with tool-specific sounds.

Painter X ( Metacreations ) - an intermediate version of Painter with additional modules, including for floating objects. Was only briefly available and not further developed.

Painter 3D ( Metacreations ) - to paint on three-dimensional models that have been created with the appropriate third party software. Not developed further.

Art Dabbler ( Metacreations ) - Version 2 of Dabbler after Metacreations fusion.

Painter Classic ( Metacreations ) - a less expensive version of Painter with limited scope.

Painter Sketch Pad ( Corel ) - based on the Painter engine, simplified software for sketching. The program starts up fast and uses similar to the Dabbler, the workshop metaphor, but dispenses with the playful component in favor of clarity. Sketch Pad supports layers. The software is often included in a bundle with graphics tablets.