Carve thick paint or blend watercolors in Corel’s new Painter 2018

Digital painting is getting even closer to the real thing. On Tuesday, Corel announced Painter 2018, an update to the popular graphics program that introduces more ways to re-create the look of traditional mediums digitally. The update includes “Thick Paint” as well as several new features designed to re-create a specific texture.

The new thick paint tool allows users to pile paint onto the digital canvas much like painting with thicker physical materials — Corel says users can pile up, push around, carve into, scrape and blend their digital paint. Using bristle brushes and palette knives on a touch-enabled device allows users to apply pressure, tilt, and rotation while using the tool.

Texture gets a brush of its own with 2.5D texture brushes inside Painter 2018. The tool allows users to import a 2D rendering of a 3D model and use that as a reference source to paint texture onto an image like scales or pores, Corel suggests. The tool also allows users to adjust how the light appears to hit the textured surface.

Images that already have a bit of texture are now easier to expand — texture synthesis is a new tool that allows users to recreate texture by sampling a small area of the image. Corel says that unlike just cloning the sample, the texture’s properties are randomized, creating a more seamless, natural look.

For adding texture without an existing source, Corel is also adding a brush library full of tools inspired by physical art tools. The new tools mimic traditional media while adding texture to digital art. That randomization was also added to the grain brushes, while more texture is also accessible in a new texture fill option.

Real brushes, however, drip — and Corel is factoring that in, too. New drip and liquid features allow users to blend brushes more naturally, including creating a digital watercolor piece.

The tools designed to mimic traditional methods are also joined by new selection brushes, which gives users more control over the selection with add and subtract options, and new cloning tools.

The update appears to continue Corel’s mix of traditional art and the latest digital tech. The company launched LiveSketch inside CorelDraw Graphics Suite 2017 while adding depth-aware effects to the PaintShop Pro X9 photo editor in 2016.

Painter 2018 retails for $429, with upgrades available for owners of previous versions for $229.

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