After working on the block through for most of the week I decided to spend part of Friday and Saturday on a little break furthering my skills in digital painting. After some prying around on the internet deciding what to do on whether or not to take the plunge into Corel Painter, I decided to give it a shot. And quite honestly it is an amazing bit of software. The layout is very similar to Photoshop, so getting used to the interface was quite easy.
Granted Photoshop may win hands down on being a powerful photo editing suite, it does kinda lack in the whole running properly area, as there does tend to be an awful lot of lag for the bigger file and its new brushes in CS5. And this is where Corel comes in, because from what little usage I have given to it, it has a lot of brush settings and types with no (encountered as of yet) lag. Anyway I'm not going to pretend I know anything at all about Painter 11, and what's there and what's new because I'll figure it out as go (and it would seem rather daft to talk about something I hardly know), so check these guys on the Corel website, they'll probably be able to say a lot more: http://www.corel.com/servlet/Satellite/gb/en/Product/1166553885783?trkid=UKSEMGglPTR#tabview=tab0 Painter 11 is half price too, so may be an excellent Christmas present.
But I must admit you need a bigger screen to get the best from it without messing around and shoving your boxes out of the way, because unlike Photoshop you can't minimize all the boxes to little icons and shove them in a corner (or maybe you can, and I've just lost the plot). In any case I would recommend using CP 11 on a nice big monitor, that way you can see your layers and an awesome interactive colour palette. Yes you can mix paints, as if they were real!
Below is the image I have produced, I have stuck to something simple and a style I know for this image in order to get to grips with how well the software works and how quick and easy it is to produce results. Had I done this kind of image in Photoshop I'd have given up because of hard it is to mix and get the right colours.
I have enjoyed working in Painter far more than I would if I was producing something like this in Photoshop, I don't know if that's because the novelty has yet to wear off, but it just has such a lovely colour and brush interaction. I can only vouch for the Painter's Oils at this point, but the way the colours are able to mix on the page just seems to give my work a little something more. I am quite pleased with how this image has turned out, yet I do think a little bit more could have been done to the trees. Having said this though, it may distract from the detail of the flowers and distant creature, so I think I've achieved the right kind of balance.
However I do still have such a long way to go in order to fully understand Painter, but after first usage I don't think I've done too badly. I will definitely put in lots of time into using this software over the next month or so in order to get the most out of it, and hopefully I'll be able to produce some pretty good work.