In this review of Corel Painter 2022, I’ll demonstrate how I use some of the top features in my workflow and I’ll share my overall opinion of the software.
This is not a sponsored review, but I did receive Corel Painter 2022 for free, and I do earn revenue from affiliate links. As always, all opinions in this review are my own.
- Captured Dabs can be changed on-the-fly
- Grayscale preview in the Navigator Panel
- Enhanced Cover Method offers improved brush performance
- Major changes to Brush Library may take getting used to
Captured Dabs Library
In my workspace, I’ve created a new “Dabs” Palette Drawer which has the new Captured Library, Apply Dab Profile property, and Hardness slider. Add to this the Dab Preview panel, and this combination of controls lets me easily edit the shape of my dabs.
The ability to change dabs on-the-fly makes it incredibly easy to randomize the shape of your brush. For example, whenever I’m painting foliage, I can simply change the dab shape to get different tree effects without having to switch between a bunch of different variants.
Or I can easily paint a custom dab and then capture it right into the Captured Library without a lot of hassle.
Managing dabs has never been easier with the new ability to sort and export Dab Libraries.
And here’s a hidden gem: You can even drag these dabs into a custom palette, if you don’t want the bulk of the entire Captured Dab library in your workspace.
I’d have to admit, the feature that I use the most in Painter 2022 is one of the simplest: Pressing “Delete” will now clear the contents of a layer. I use this all the time and I love it. It even works on multiple layers.
Corel Painter 2022 Brush Library
One of the changes that I have sort of a love/hate relationship with is the reorganizing and renaming of the brush categories and variants. While I do appreciate the logic behind the changes, it makes my life more difficult as a Painter instructor.
For example, I have loads of tutorials directing people to use the Diffuse Blur brush, but now it’s called Blur Diffuser. Might that cause confusion? Perhaps for some.
A few of the brush categories have also been renamed. You’ll find there are a lot of brush names that are identical to each other, and you’re supposed to infer the differences from the brush category.
This single change to the Brush Library is going to have the most impact on Painter artists and it’s going to take the most adjusting to.
Once you get past the unfamiliarity, hopefully you’ll find it easier to locate brushes.
I do like that there are more Brush Categories. — I think that makes it easier to find the brush you are looking for. The Filters really help to narrow down the results.
I also like the way the categories are grouped together. For example, the Oils are all next to each other, as are the Watercolors.
Grayscale Preview in Navigator
The next feature I’m using often is the Grayscale Preview in the Navigator. Because it’s buried in the Navigator Options, I’ve made a shortcut button for it in my workspace.
If you have an extra display, you may want to move the Navigator onto it so you can get a larger view. This will give you a clearer representation of the contrast in your painting.
While it’s useful to view the Navigator in grayscale, it’s also nice to have apply a grayscale preview to your canvas as well. While you cannot do this in Painter, there are ways to achieve the effect with Windows 10 Color Filters, or through your Display or Video Card Control Panels on both Windows and Mac.
Enhanced Static Bristle
Static Bristle brushes have been updated to take advantage of Rotation and Squeeze. If you are using Pen Tilt or Rotation, you can create stroke that are more dynamic. This adds a lot of randomization and character to this brush technology.
Although Static Bristle is not my favorite bristle simulation, I did stumble upon a combination of settings that produces a really nice pixel spray effect. I like this better than the default Pixel Spray brush because it doesn’t spray at an angle.
I bet with some more experimentation, more types of effects can be achieved with Static Bristle. Especially when combined with the Enhanced Cover Method.
It’s fun to see an older brush technology learn new tricks.
“Enhanced Cover” Method
Going back to teaching old brushes new tricks, the Enhanced Cover Method allows you to modernize some of the older cover brushes. In addition to faster performance and more accurate color blending, you can also add anti-aliasing to the dabs.
In my opinion, all of your Legacy Cover brushes should be converted to Enhanced Cover, unless you prefer the look of the older Method.
While we’re on the topic of performance, Painter 2022 should feel faster overall when you are using Enhanced Cover brushes, as long as your GPU is able to experience the up to 75x boost. (My Nvidia GTX 1080 is able to get 74-75x.)
When you are using Impasto on Default and Thick Paint Layers, you’ll see a slight bump in performance too.
If your computer hardware is forcing you to work on smaller canvases, check out my video about upscaling with Adobe Super Resolution. Your mind will be blown.
Another feature that I use often is Jitter Reduction. This property adds stabilization to your strokes without adding as much lag as the Stabilization property (formerly known as Damping).
To create brushes with an anti-aliased edge, I can use the new Hardness slider and modify the Dab Profile.
Isolate Layer Visibility
Next, I’ll show you a few Layers features that I like. You can now Alt or Option click on a layer’s visibility icon to isolate it from the other layers visually. Anyone who has ever struggled to find a layer in a complex composition will love this feature.
Multiple Actions on Layers
Small, repetitive actions can amount to a lot of time wasted. So I’m pleased that you can now lock, move and convert multiple layers at once.
Moving Selection Moves Pixels
The Layer Floating Object, a remnant from an ancient version of Painter, has been replaced by the enhanced Layer Adjuster behavior. You can now move a selection and the contents will move along with it. This is what you’re used to, if you work outside of Painter.
Color Dodge & Burn for Glazing
Though I didn’t think I’d find much use for it beyond image compositing, I found that Color Burn works especially well for glazing without muddying up colors. And Color Dodge gives some interesting lighting effects. These are welcome additions to the Composite Methods and Merge Modes.
The final new feature in Painter 2022 that I use in my workflow is the ability to mix watercolor with other types of media.
For example, I can paint with chalk on a Watercolor Layer and then wet it down to make it run with a watercolor brush. =’
Just a Filter to find brushes that are compatible with Watercolor.
One of the best blenders for watercolor is the Just Add Water brush. Now you can use it to blend watercolor without having to convert the layer to default.
Watercolor has always been difficult for me to work with in Painter because of all of its limitations, so I’m excited to see some of those constraints were eliminated.
Overall, I’m happy with the changes to Painter 2022. This is another version that focuses heavily on making Painter easier to use by squashing legacy bugs and making the application more modern.
There aren’t any new, revolutionary brush technologies to play with — as we saw with Thick Paint in Painter 2018 — but the enhanced Dab shaping and Enhanced Cover performance are able to unlock more of the potential of pre-existing brush technologies.
Of course, Painter 2022 is a bit faster which is nice. Assuming your computer specs are capable of leveraging the brush acceleration features.
A lot of attention has also gone into implementing feedback from the Painter Community. Many of the changes in Painter 2022 are relatively minor, but their effects really add up to create a substantial impact. Needless to say, there’s a lot of features I didn’t mention that add even more value to this version.
The cons are that many of you are going to have trouble making sense of all of the changes to the Brush Library. This also affects me because it creates some inconsistency in my past lessons.
Fortunately, I have a solution that suits both of our needs and that is my Corel Painter 2022 Training Course. This in-depth course covers all of the changes to Painter 2022 and then some. It’s one of the best ways to master Corel Painter.
Don’t have Corel Painter 2022? You can save $100 off the full version with my coupon code PTRAR at checkout on painterartist.com