Combining Painter With Photoshop

The first time I used Painter, it was still sold in a can. Back then it was owned by Fractal Design and there was nothing else like it. That is true today as well, but I must digress here to put things into perspective. I remember that period when even layers in Photoshop were thought of as an exciting new development. I was one of the many digital artists rejoicing in the glory of the new layer-based Photoshop work flow when I launched Painter for the first time.

What I found in Painter was confusion. There was a drawer-based interface and everything felt all over the place. After some experimentation I was able to get to work and really explore the power of what the program had to offer. That power, for those of you who do not know, is the nearly flawless simulation of real-world art materials. I was blown away by how natural it felt, even at that early stage.

However, there was a handicap: The interface felt cumbersome next to what was happening in the most recent versions of Photoshop at that time. For that reason I drifted away from Painter. You see, Photoshop was really hitting its stride in terms of interface organization, and that was an easy thing to get used to. So, when I would decide to use Painter, it just felt laborious next to using Photoshop, and so I abandoned it entirely for years. Now, let's fast-forward to what is happening currently with Painter.

It is now owned by Corel and has been with that company for quite a while. Under the Corel umbrella, Painter has really blossomed. The materials and natural-feeling painterly workflow have done nothing but improve.

But something else has happened during Painter's term at Corel: It has begun to play nicely with Photoshop. Right now it has an interface that will no longer confuse Photoshop users, and bouncing back and forth between applications is intuitive and comfortable. All this contributes to realizing your vision without obstacles. You no longer have to get hung up on the workflow and can instead spend your time being creative. And Painter is one hell of a creative tool.