by Dunc Petrie
Several years ago, Fractal Design (since
absorbed by MetaCreations, of Kai Power Tools fame)
introduced a paint program that provided not only novel
creative capabilities but also distinctive packaging - a
gallon paint can. Painter has evolved (currently, it is
version 5.5) and remains a unique, high-end program with
creative options that are unmatched by any other products.
While there are many paint programs (or pixel editor -
don't confuse these with a vector, or "draw"
program like CorelDraw), few offer the range of artistic
options-media textures (for example, canvas and paper:
the latter with definable grain and grain-direction),
media (for example, pencils, chalk, watercolours, oil,
gouache, and more), an unlimited array of brushes (also
user-definable), artistic rendering (for example, Van
Gogh, impressionist) - that are included in Painter.
Until recently, Painter's Image Hose was unique; however,
equivalents are now available as Corel's Photo-Paint
Image Sprayer or Paint Shop Pro's Picture Tubes.
For those who desire programs that support their
artistic endeavours but don't want to spend the "big
bucks" that are usually demanded, here is an
appealing alternative. Yes, there are shareware paint
programs; however, most have feature-sets that are
deficient compared to Painter 3. Assuming that you
register (that is, pay), any of these products-regardless
of the breadth and depth of their feature sets-will be
more expensive. The leading contender, Paint Shop Pro,
version 5, previously the leading shareware product in
this category, has become a commercial product. While
there is a free, trial version on their web-site, I
believe that it will time-expire.
Instead, for the sum of 18-20 dollars (Canadian!),
purchase a copy of the British magazine PC Format.
Included on the CD-ROM is a full version of Painter 3
that will not time- expire and has the full feature set;
nothing is disabled! In its prime, this program cost
about $500 Canadian. You even get a 125 page user's guide
(an Adobe Acrobat, PDF document, in colour) and several
As an aside, third-party texts are available as
residuals. I found Painter 3 Complete, by Karen Sperling
(ISBN 1-55828- 459-1), for $4.99 at a local retailer - my
local Shoppers Drug Mart.
Included (CD-ROM) with purchase of PC Format magazine ($20)
Originally published: November, 1999
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The opinions expressed in these reviews
do not necessarily represent the views of the
Ottawa PC Users' Group or its members.