So, Corel Painter IX, or Photoshop CS?
I’ve been an avid Photoshop user for many, many years. In fact, I’ve used the program ever since I first started out painting on the computer. I have to admit, right now, that I am a little biased towards it – for all that Photoshop has crashed many a time and devoured a whole lot of hours’ worth of work in doing soâ€¦ it has been a loyal companion ever since I first learned its interface. The interface, the functions, the details of the program – these things don’t get in the way of my workflow.
What made me stick to Photoshop even after I had been introduced to other programs was its simplicity. Yes, it’s a huge program – there are tons of filters and massive amounts of effectsâ€¦ but the actual painting toolsâ€¦ you only use that one pencil, and you simply switch between different brushes – some of your own making and some that came with the program. A brush switch is two clicks away. I go from tiny little sharp brush to huge texture brush in a split second, using my wacom pen’s buttons to access the menus – it just can’t get a whole lot simpler than that. I flip the pen over, and whoah, the eraser is on the other side. The tools work the same way at all times, I have absolute control over every brush stroke, every setting, and it’s all so simple. I’ve built up a routine over the years, a way to get down and dirty with the details: I’m a perfectionist, and I adore how I have complete control down to every last pixel if I choose it. It’s a very, very precise tool.
And, like I said – simple.
That’s what made me cling to the program. I love it.
Nowâ€¦ Painterâ€¦ let’s just say it’s everything but simple.
I have admittedly tried to pick it up over the course of many years, but always ended up baffled by the multitudes of brushes, pens, pencils, watercolours, erasers (there’s not just one eraser, folks!), and all possible, neat, awesome functions they could think of cramming into this one program. Painter isn’t just complicated – it’s overwhelming. For someone who is used to switching brushes with two clicks of her pen, Painter with all its menus and all its settings seemed really, really intimidating.
The truth is, it gets easier after a while. The tools are wonderful – they’re stunningly clever and well thought out. You can achieve effects in Painter within a matter of moments that takes a Photoshop artists hours to figure out. I still couldn’t believe it the first time I used the watercolours and the paint actually ran in front of my eyes. It slowly dripped down towards the bottom of the screen, thinning out as it expanded. It was awesome. Any artistic media you can imagine can be found here (well, almost anyway). Everything from crayons to oils, and these tools work convincingly. It looks like you’re using real paints.
So. Photoshop – simple. Painter – glamorous. That’s how I see it anyway. It all depends on what you’re looking for. For me, actually painting in Painter is a hassle. There are too many options. My workflow in the program is uneven and I end up flipping between different tools, fiddling with the settings and the options. I want a magic brush like the Photoshop one that I can change with two clicks into becoming anything I want it to be. When I lay down the foundations for an image, I want to be able to work fast.
What I love to do in Painter, is perfect. Add texture, add life, stir the kettle a little – what I create in Photoshop tends to beâ€¦ a little too precise and perfect. Brushing over my smooth surfaces with a rough pencil in Painter might just be the best way to bring back some energy into a painting.
My honest opinion is – use both programs. If you can only afford one, give much thought to what you want out of itâ€¦ they offer very valuable, but different, options. I’m tired of people claiming one is better than the other – that’s not true. They’re equally awesome programs.
However, they’re good for different things. That, I can’t dispute.