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Corel Painter IX

Natural media painting and 2D animation suite
Painter IX also offers customizable keyboard shortcuts, accessible through the program's preferences. This includes the ability to modify shortcuts for all menu commands, palette commands, tool selection and a variety of other functions (such as adding a color to the current set, playing a movie, nudging, setting opacity, etc.).

And then there are the little things that are more difficult to break out. The interface is more responsive, and overall the whole application just feels tighter, with attention to the tiny details that you'll soon be taking for granted. Other new workflow enhancements include:

Tighter Photoshop integration, with the ability to open .PSD documents while maintaining layer masks, alpha channels and layer sets;
Support for third-party Photoshop filters on Mac OS X;
Control over frames per second when working with animations;
Support for Wacom Intuos3 tablets (including the new touch strips and tilt sensitivity);
Improved color management, with support for ICC 4.0 profiles.

As for reliability, I've noticed some marked improvement in this area, though Painter's not flawless by any means. I've been using Painter IX for more than a month now, and I can say with certainty that it's less buggy than Painter 8. (I couldn't even use Painter 8 before the 8.1 update with a Wacom Cintiq tablet connected to my computer. And, no, I wasn't willing to disconnect that for anything.) But I can still get Painter to crash in certain circumstances. But the only consistent crashing I see is when I attempt to use certain Photoshop plugins, including standard and third-party filters. It's a good idea to experiment with all of the filters you have before attempting to apply them to a critical project, or you might wind up losing work. Basically expect the same level of compatibility that you experience with other programs, the difference being that Painter will allow you to attempt to use filters that are clearly not meant to be accessed by third-party programs. So be careful with what you put into Painter's Plugins folder.

I can't come down on Painter hard for this flaw though. After all, the third-party plugins I'm using haven't been developed by Corel or approved for use in Painter; they're just there. Overall, as I say, Painter is pretty stable. And the inexplicable crashes I've experienced over the last month--maybe 10 or so, not counting the crashes resulting from accessing Photoshop filters--aren't necessarily Painter's fault. I'm running this on Mac OS X 10.3.5, which is definitely the most buggy Mac OS in recent memory. Everything crashes more than it used to.

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  • Corel Painter IX by DMN Editorial at Oct. 22, 2004 3:53 pm gmt (Rec'd 8)

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