On Monday, Corel launched two new products, Painter and ParticleShop (a plug -in product that enhances their PaintShop Pro product and other offerings like Photoshop). In all cases, these are products that allow us to alter the reality in what we can take with a photograph, or simply our imaginations, and create something that is photorealistic - but that never actually did, or often could, happen in real life. I think more of us could have fun with this class of product and in the context of this release let’s talk about that.
These latest products from Corel are particularly good with difficult items to deal with realistically like hair, fire, fir, smoke and magic. Yes I said magic. With Painter as a standalone product or ParticleShop as a plug-in, you can now easily draw these elements - vastly enhancing and changing what your audience sees. Want to show longer hair, you just paint it without having to individually paint each hair, want to show a haunted scene or recreate something from Harry Potter but with your kid as the lead magician, you just add the magic with simple blush strokes.
While the talented artist has been able to create these things for some time, the process is lengthy, requires a great deal of skill, and apparently wasn’t worth the effort otherwise a lot more of us would have had far more amazing Christmas pictures without having to dress our relatives or pets up in silly costumes and deal with their objections before they see the cards while we are safe in the Bahamas.
Much of the reason we can even use tools like this today is because PC performance has come so far. We can now get a Windows tablet like Surface which can run applications like this and have the stylus accuracy to make it all work and monitors with stylus and touch capability have been coming down in price as well if we want to push the envelope a bit in terms of how fast we can do things. Of course we can fall back on using a mouse or a tablet digitizer but there is really nothing quite like being able to draw on the medium that you are creating or editing.
So with the range of hardware available to us the capabilities have never been more powerful and this could lead us into getting into all kinds of trouble, or out of it.
New Ways to Create
Painter has a couple new ways to create that deserve special mention. One is that there is an audio expression feature that alters the brushes in response to sound. You can basically draw in your favorite tune as your brush changes size, angle, and color in synchronous response to what you are listening to. There are other features like Dynamic Speckles, Special Media Mixing, and Paper and Flow Map Rotation which are currently beyond my skill set but that potentially add even more realism.
In the end, this tool can result in some rather amazing pictures and while you can get going rather quickly, the more time you spend with it the better you are likely to become.
It is kind of amazing how far we have come in terms of digital tools like this in the last decade. It used to be that you needed a professional to create something that even came close to looking real and now a novice like me can do some rather impressive things with just a little bit of concerted training. I expect we can also get in quite a bit more trouble as we draw loved ones and friends into rather embarrassing situations that look real but never occurred in real life.
After playing with these tools for a while, I’d recommend starting with PaintShop ($55 on Amazon for Ultimate) and adding the plug-in for ParticleShop ($50 on Amazon) once you are comfortable with your skill set. Then, advancing to Painter ($430 on Amazon) as you exceed capabilities in the base product - otherwise you are likely to become overwhelmed. But if you’ve ever wanted to learn how to use your imagination to recreate a picture and specifically if you wanted to add a little magic to that special shot, Corel’s tools are worth checking out and most come with free trials.
Maybe a final project before the summer gives way to fall.
President and Principal Analyst, Enderle Group
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