A new crop of painting applications: Photoshop CS2, Deep Paint, Corel Painter IX and Microsoft Code Named Acrylic. Deep Paint is a gratis download nowadays, after having been discontinued by its company. Visit download.com to get it. Acrylic is Microsoft’s Adobe killing bargain basket purchase from Hong Kong. Corel Painter IX, finally, is much, much, much better than the previous garbage. Oh, and I found a screenshot of the old Procreate Painter I got with my Wacom pad.
It’s ridiculous, of course, to add an application like Photoshop in this list. First of all, it’s not a paint app, but an image editor. Second, it’s so big that not even the 30 days of the trial version will enable you to get an idea of what it can do. And finally, it’s the standard along which all other applications are measured. That said, I still like version 5.5 a little better, and I definitely prefer the OS9 version. Somehow the way the windows version manages its palettes is very nasty. Oh, and CS2 doesn’t run under wine.
Deep Paint 2D
Vlatko Juric-Kokic was kind enough to draw my attention to the fact that this previously hideously expensive application is now a free download. It’s a funny application: not really pretty to look at, what with those non-standard tabs, and the brush dialog is quite complicated. But the effects are very convincing. It uses opengl for lighting and perhaps for more; just like Artrage. Fun to use, but, well, who’d want to spend a lot of time learning a binary-only end-of-lifer…
Microsoft codenamed Acrylic
A combination of a vector and pixel app, this one should sing to the heart of J.R. Tyrer, but it doesn’t appeal to me. The pixel features are, as Microsoft honorably warns us, unfinished and may perform a little badly. They do… Given that this app was bought in Hong Kong, it’s no surprise that
the default brush does a credible simulation of a Chinese ink brush. That’s the best I can say — for the rest it’s ugly, uses non-standard widgets, performs badly and feels cheap and nasty.
Corel Painter IX
Compared to the previous version, Painter IX is quite good. It performs well, it has a good selection of tools, including a mixing palette, it doesn’t crash as often, and performs a little better. The natural media simulation still feels like painting with color instead of paint, though.
I got this with my Wacom pad: it’s a fun app and quite well designed. Much more stable than Corel Painter that is the big brother of this application (or so I have heard).