Corel Painter 2016 Launches Today…New Class, Corel Painter 2016-New Horizons

Hello Everybody,

I am so excited.  Download your free trial copy of Painter 2016.


Branch, Painter 2016, Liquid ink and watercolor particle brushes

Branch, Painter 2016, Liquid ink and watercolor particle brushes

Yes it is that time again; Corel released a new version of Painter.    I think you will want Painter 2016; it is the best version I have seen to date.  I have outlined some of the new features for you:

  1. A completely new Welcome Window.  Corel added tutorials plus a few other surprises.
  2. New color schemes for your workspace.
  3. A new shift start that protects custom content, like brushes, custom palettes, etc.
  4. Enhanced layer blending, which allows blending to transparency without the white or black issues in earlier versions.
  5. ABR import…you can import Photoshop ABR dabs into Painter.  Wow!
  6. New custom palette toolbox, which allows you to send a custom palette as a toolbox to your friends.  The box includes brushes, papers, and flow maps, which will be automatically installed on your friend’s computer.
  7. New full-screen mode allows an immersive painting experience.
  8. Rotate papers.
  9. Rotate flow maps
  10. Particle technology added to liquid inks.  Love it!
  11. Particle technology added to watercolor.  Love it!
  12. Impasto can be added to particle brushes.  Amazing!
  13. New Dynamic Speckle particles…think tamed particle technology that can be used with any other brush method.
  14. New Dynamic Speckle bristles…think particles can work like bristles.  One of my favorite new features.
  15. Audio Expression…what?  Watch your brushes explode to the beat of your favorite music…what?
  16. Painter is more stable than ever.
  17. Painter is faster than ever.

I am sure I have forgotten something, but those are the major features.  BTW, I can’t test it myself, but others have and Painter 2016 works well with Windows 10.

Weathered, Corel Painter 2016, watercolor particles, dynamic speckle bristles, and impasto particles.  So much fun.

Weathered, Corel Painter 2016, watercolor particles, dynamic speckle bristles, and impasto particles. So much fun.

As with earlier versions, I am offering a class exploring all new features in Corel Painter 2016.  Registration for Registration Corel Painter 2016, starts today, Aug 10, 2015, at the Digital Art Academy.  Class begins, Aug 15, 2015.  I cover each new feature in-depth, but I did something different with this class.  Because there is the new shift start and it is easier than ever to import workspaces from earlier versions, I started with a complete clean Painter 2016 and show you how to build or customize your Painter to use your work flow.  Join the class and develop your Painter workspace and learn all about the new features in the process.  It will be fun, I promise.

Here is a teaser video showing a little bit about Dynamic Speckle Bristle brush technology.

Download the free 30 day trial of Painter 2016.

Registration for Corel Painter 2016 – New Horizons class.  Class begins Aug 15, 2015.

Hope to see you in class!





Windows 10 is Poison – Microsoft Help is Woefully Inadequate

Yes Dear Readers,

Windows 10 is poison to computers; stay away from it.  You know me, I seldom write anything negative.  But in this case, honesty is important; the negative stuff needs saying.  Windows 10 is ridiculous and Microsoft help is woefully inadequate for the number and scale of problems arising.  Here is an outline of my experience.  I first wrote a 2400 word document which had all the names of tech support people and case numbers, but I decided no one would read it.  Please read the shortened version…or just take my word for it…Windows 10 is poison.,

Day 1: Installed Windows 10 on my Surface Pro 3; installation was smooth.  Decided it was safe to install on my Alienware desktop and ran into problems.  Contacted Microsoft who after several hours told me I needed to let the process run for at least 1 to 3 hours.  I let it run 17 hours.

Day 2: Connected with Microsoft again with a different agent.  Explained the problem.  Worked with her another 5 hours.  At the end, she decided she needed to escalate my problem to a level 2 engineer.  She set the call for between the hours of 10 and noon the next day.

Day 3:  Microsoft level 2 engineer didn’t call.  I call them around 2 PM and a level 1 tech suggested I wait and he was sure someone would call.  I could wait, I didn’t have to install Windows 10, but it looked so neat and I believed all the press.

Day 4:  The Microsoft level 2 engineer called around 10 AM.  I worked with her for 11 hours.  Most of that was downloading time.  At the end of the day, no resolution was in sight.  She couldn’t get Windows 10 to install.  She promised to call the next day.  Odd thing happened.  My Surface Pro 3, which had worked fine before Windows 10, no longer could see my audio hardware.  I no longer had sound.

Day 5: The level 2 engineer called and we continued working, but we kept getting failed attempts and various error messages.  At 4 1/2 hours, I had to stop because I had a live session with a student scheduled.  She tried one more time and this time my computer went to the screen of death or the blue screen.  It restarted again, thank goodness.  At the end of our call, the tech said that she didn’t know of anything else to do except wipe my computer and install Windows 10.  No thank you was my reply.  I mean really, she couldn’t promise that even that would work.  We ended the call.

She had asked me to uninstall Norton and disconnect all peripherals from my computer before the last installation attempt.  I set everything back up, started my computer, and immediately crashed to blue screen.  I couldn’t correct the problem.  Horrified, I called Microsoft back.  The support tech informed me that since Windows 10 never installed and I was trying to get Windows 7 Ultimate back on the machine, I would have to call another department and pay for the support.  I remained calm on the outside, but it was good that he couldn’t see my eyes, which I am sure would have shot laser beams penetrating his skull and vaporizing his brain on the spot.  I then spent another 4 hours holding on the phone waiting for a tech at a different department, who informed me that the first tech should have never sent me to him.  The other tech should have returned me to the level 2 tech I worked with.  OK, I really am getting angry.   It is 9 PM and he tells me he will contact the tech and her manager and they would call me within 2 hours.  They didn’t call.  I wonder if he contacted anyone or was just trying to placate me.

Day 6:  My computer is still crashing to blue screen on opening.  I am trying to restore to an earlier point, which also fails.  I call Microsoft.  During the 3 hour wait time, I decided to revert my Surface Pro 3 back to Windows 8.1.  A miracle happened.  The Surface was now able to see my audio hardware and play sound again.  I then found out that Microsoft was aware of the problem and needed to give new drivers to the Window 10 users.  Would have been nice if they had notified us, right?  But, I guess it is way more fun to let its loyal customers flounder about.

OK, so I get a new level 2 tech who is very apologetic and says she will help me, right?  She started by trying to restore my computer to an earlier time, which I patiently explained wouldn’t work.  She did it anyway.  It didn’t work.  Then she asked me to do something, I couldn’t make it out.  I asked her to repeat herself and she didn’t.  Then she started saying hello and trying to get my attention.  I could hear her, but she couldn’t hear me.  She said that she had to end the call.  Not ten minutes earlier I had given her my call back number and begged her to call me if we got disconnected.  She did not call me back.  I call Microsoft back once again. One hour into the wait time I get disconnected. To this point, my writing has been kind, but let me be perfectly frank.  Microsoft’s help system sucks.  I cannot write the words I am thinking…you can read between the lines.  And, their product sucks, too.  It killed one of my computers and disabled the other.

I called Alienware support and on bended knee, I asked if they could help.  It probably took 5 minutes to reset the bad stuff that the repeated installation attempts and reverting back to Windows 7 created.  I spent another 15 minutes with the tech while he ran diagnostics on my machine to see if all was OK and it is.  Compare Alienware’s performance to Microsoft’s…15 minutes versus 6 days.

Please do not try to install Windows 10.  I know it is safe for some folks, but you will not know that until you try.  Then, you must call a help system that isn’t capable of correcting the problems that are occurring.   Please share this post with others.  Everyone needs to know the dangers here…and the appalling lack of support from Microsoft.

Alienware support is my hero, Microsoft support is the spawn of the devil.




Impressive New Wacom Driver Makes Custom Palettes

Hello Everyone,

What a difference a day makes.  Yesterday, I wondered if I had done the right thing installing the new Wacom driver; today, I am glad I did.  OMGosh, the new driver can make custom palettes…actually they are like the radial menu, but I believe that the users will embrace the new way to create radial menus more than they did previously. But, first…let’s talk about other stuff I discovered today.

First thing I did was uninstall the driver I had installed yesterday.  Then I downloaded the driver directly from Wacom.  BTW, the legacy drivers have not been updated…just the Cintiqs, Cintiq Companion products, Intuos Pro and Intuos.  You can download the driver from Wacom Drivers.  I didn’t have the trouble with the installation, so, if you plan on updating, I would suggest uninstalling your current driver, disconnect your tablet from your computer, install the new driver, and finishing, then reconnect your tablet.

Unfortunately, some of the issues I saw yesterday were still there this morning.  I talked with my mate, Tim Shelbourne in England, and we met via G2M and had a great deal of fun sorting it all out.  This first video talks about some of the stuff we discovered and what I needed to do to correct any problems that occurred yesterday.  If you are not interested in that, but want to find out about the Custom Palettes, skip to the next video.

In the next video I talk about a really neat function available with the new driver.  You can now display the radial menu in single column, double column, single row, or double row.  It seems more familiar than the radial method and reminds me a great deal of the way Painter handles custom palettes.  I think Painter users will love it.  In the video I wasn’t so sure, but I have changed my mind.  And, I think Photoshop users are going to really love it the most because this will be the first time they can make custom palettes.  Remember, it is the same as the radial menu, but that configuration never caught the public’s eye.  I think the new method will.  Here is the video…enjoy.

Give the new driver a try and let me know if you like the new way of doing the Radial Menu.  Don’t forget, you can go back a few posts and get my custom shortcut keys for Painter and for the Wacom.



Wacom Released New Drivers Yesterday 7-14-2015. You May Want to Wait on This One!

Hello Folks,

A friend sent me an email telling me that there were new Wacom Drivers available.  Surprisingly, my Wacom Desktop Center hadn’t told me about it this morning, but when I opened the Center again, there was the message new drivers were available.  I decided to use the Wacom Desktop Center to install the drivers.  I did that the last time without issue.  That wasn’t the case this time.  The installation appeared to go as planned, but when I rebooted, I came back to black screens.  I was able to get everything back without much hassle, but it was such a surprise to have something like this happen.

Next I loaded my preferences and then took a look at my Wacom Tablet Preferences window.  Yikes, it look similar, but on closer inspection, I found many changes.  I’m not even sure how it works.  I did go to the Wacom site, but I couldn’t find any information about the changes.  That doesn’t mean that it isn’t there…I just couldn’t find it.

I suspect that I am going to roll back to the previous driver until I can figure out what is going on.  I’m not worried; Wacom products are fine.  I just need to learn a bit about the new look and feel of the Wacom Tablet Preferences.  I’ll let you know when I do.

In the meantime, look at the video below.  It will tell you in more detail about what I found when updating to the latest driver.

That’s all; have fun…


How to Recover Your Custom Data After a Painter Crash

Hello Everyone,

OK, Painter crashed and no matter what I did, I could not open it again.  To start Painter I had to either use a Shift-Start or uninstall and re-install, which meant I would lose all of my custom brushes, papers, flow maps, etc.  Sound familiar; I hope not.  But, I know that some of my readers have experienced this same horror.  Well, all is not lost.  Follow along as I show you how I recovered my custom files.

The first thing to do after a crash is to try to open Painter again.  If that doesn’t work, then try rebooting your computer and then open Painter.  If that doesn’t work, then try uninstalling Painter, but when you start the process you will get the option to either repair or remove Painter.  Do not remove it, but do try a repair.  Hopefully, one of the above steps will allow you to open Painter again, but if it doesn’t, then follow what I did.

For a PC first copy and save your workspace information to your documents.  In a PC, go to Desktop > User System Folder (usually your name) > AppData > Roaming > Corel > Painter 2015 (or X3, or 12.2) > Your Workspace name…or default if you haven’t made a workspace.  Once you get to your workspace, copy the information and paste it to a new folder in your documents or somewhere you can find it again.  Do not copy it in the Painter user area.

If you are on a Mac, then go to your Finder Menu and select Go > Go To Folder and in the box that opens type: ~/Library and hit Go.  Now in the finder select Application Support > Corel > Painter 2015 > Your Workspace name…or default if you haven’t made a workspace.  Once you get to your workspace, copy the information and paste it to a new folder in your documents or somewhere you can find it again.  Do not copy it in the Painter user area.

Watch the following video about saving your workspace.

Now that I saved the workspace, I can open Painter using a Shift – Start or uninstalling and re-installing.  What is a Shift – Start.  It is a very neat way to open painter with a corrupted workspace or something that blocks Painter from opening.  Hold down the shift key and start Painter normally, but don’t let up on the shift key.  A window will open that asks if you want to set Painter back to factory defaults.  At this point, release your shift key and select all workspaces and hit the enter key.  At this point, Painter deletes all custom files.  That is why it is important to copy your workspace files before a Shift – Start.  The same is true if you uninstall and re-install Painter.

Once Painter is operating again, I want to import my saved workspace into Painter, but I have to prepare it for import.  I do this by selecting the contents of the saved workspace folder and zipping them.  Then I change the name to the name I want to use for my workspace, and this is very important, I changed the extension .zip to .pws.  Changing the extension prompts the OS to give me a warning that changing the extension can corrupt the file.  I ignore the warning and proceed with the changes.  Now the file is ready for import.

I opened Painter and went to Window > Workspace > Import Workspace > and navigated to my zipped file, selected it, and hit open.  If my workspace isn’t corrupted, it will open in Painter.  My experience is about 50/50; meaning that about 50% of the time this will work, but 50% of the time my workspace still crashes Painter.

The following video shows you how to prepare your workspace for import:

All is still not lost.  I can import my custom files individually from my saved workspace to Painter.  I started with brushes.  In my saved workspace folder, there are a series of folders and some files.  The first folder is Brushes.  I opened that folder and found another series of folders.  Each one of these folders represent a Painter brush library.  Three of them are the default brush libraries that came with Painter, Painter Brushes, Painter 13 brushes, and Painter 14 brushes.  Don’t let the name Painter 14 brushes confuse you; that is the name of the Painter 2015 brush library.  It is possible, if you have never created a Painter brush library, these three libraries will be all that you have.  You do not want to import these libraries again.  More on that later.

If you do have more than the three default libraries, you do want to import each library into Painter.  To do that, I opened the brush library folder and selected the contents of the folder and zipped it.  Again, I changed the name to the name I want to use for the library.  This time I changed .zip to .brushlibrary.  To import into Painter, I go to Brushes > Import > Brush Library and select my newly created file for import.  I do this for each library.

But, I also have some custom categories in my default brush library.  Most of you will, too.  It is not a good idea to import the default libraries into Painter, but you can import each category.  To import a category, I open the Brush library folder.  In the folder, there are another group of folders plus .jpgs with the same name.  I want to select one of the custom folders and select its companion .jpg.  I zip those two items and change the name to the name of the brush category and the .zip to .brushcategory.  Before import, I make sure I am in the library I want the category placed.  Then I go to Brushes > Import > Category and select my newly made brush category for import.

The video version for import follows:

But what about my custom papers, flow maps, patterns, etc. I can hear you saying.  Don’t worry, that is what I do next.  Back in the corrupted workspace, notice the folders called papers, flow maps, patterns, looks, gradients, weaves and so forth.  Those contain your media libraries.  To prepare them for import, I followed the same method used for preparing brush libraries.  For papers, I opened the paper folder and each folder therein represents a paper library.    I opened one of the paper library folders and selected the entire contents, zipped it, and then changed its name to reflect the name of the paper library.  I also changed .zip to .paperlibrary.  I did this for each paper library folder contained in the paper folder.  Next, I opened Painter and opened my Paper Library Panel and selected the fly out menu in the upper right corner and picked import paper library.  I navigated to my newly made paper library files and selected one to import.  I did this for each paper library.

I used the same technique for flow maps, patterns, and the rest of the media libraries, but each extension is different for each type of library.  To find the extension needed, I went to each type of library, for example, I opened the flow map library.  I clicked on the fly out menu or option button in the upper right corner.  From the list, I pick import library.  A window opens and in the lower left corner above Open and Cancel is a drop down menu.  If I hover my cursor over this menu, I will see the extension necessary to import the file.  In this case I would change .zip to .flowmaplibrary.  Come on…it isn’t that complex.  Watch the next video to see how to do it.

Import Custom Media files in this video:

So, what’s left?  Color sets, mixer pads, arranged palettes, and even custom palettes can be recovered.  Actually, these are easier to do, but there are a couple of tricks.  It is easier to explain in the following video.

Importing Color set, etc.:

That’s it.  Yes, I know it is a lot of stuff, but is way easier than rebuilding all your custom files from scratch.  In my case, if I lose a brush that hasn’t been exported, it is next to impossible to recreate that brush from memory.  However, if you are just using a custom brush set made by me or someone else, it is easier to just import the set again.

But even easier that importing the set again, it is best if you export the workspace monthly, weekly or even daily.  Let’s talk prevention.  A workspace has all the custom information…everything.  Painter offers the ability to export workspaces.  There is one warning.  It is static, meaning that the information is current to the date of export.  If you add more custom stuff, unless you export your workspace again, that new stuff will be lost.  I try to export my workspace weekly and if I am making a bunch of stuff, I will do it daily.  Then if Painter crashes, I can just import my exported workspace and be back in business quickly.  It is always good to export custom stuff individually, too.  You can export custom palettes, brush categories, brush libraries, brushes, paper libraries, etc.  But, for me, I find exporting my workspace routinely works well, and I don’t export custom files individually.

The next video tells you how to export a workspace:

That’s all folks.  I hope you never have a Painter crash and lose your custom stuff, but if you do, these procedures work well for me.  One last warning.  Every computer is different and your results may not be the same as mine.  I cannot guarantee everything will work the same for you.  Proceed with caution.



New Brush Packs from Corel Painter

Hey Y’all,

Here is something really new.  I just noticed that Corel Painter has a new product available, Brush Packs.  There are nine different brush packs created by professionals in specific fields.  All look very interesting.

Don’t have Painter 2015, no problem, six of the sets are compatible with Painter X3 and 12.  Three of the sets are particle brushes and those, of course, are not compatible with versions earlier than 2015.

I haven’t downloaded and played with any of the brushes, but I will.  I’m reviewing them now to decide what I want to buy.  There is a watercolor set; I must have those. :)  I am very curious about the Particle sets, so I am sure I will try one of those.

OK…go check the New Brush Packs out.  As soon as I download one and give it a try, I’ll let you know what I think.

New Brush Packs for Corel Painter

New Brush Packs for Corel Painter



Working with a Very Wet Watercolor Variant in Corel Painter 2015

Hello Everyone,

I am still tweaking my new watercolor variants, but I decided that I would share a few brushes with you and even a couple of watercolor papers.  One of the brushes, Skip’s Real Water, actually flows almost like traditional watercolor, but unfortunately, it does require a lot of computer power to render in a timely fashion.  I will explain more later in the Tutorials at the end of the post.

As you know Corel Painter Master Elite, Karen Bonaker‘s class about Contemporary Japanese Ink Painting is underway at the Digital Art Academy.  I have followed the class and have enjoyed seeing everyone’s work and creating a few pieces myself.  I used my new brushes to create these pieces.

In the first example from the class, I made the chops in the upper right corner.  I downloaded the calligraphy from one of the sites that will translate your name.  I hope it is my name; I really don’t know.  The square chop has my name placed in the four corners, but you cannot read it…sigh.  Karen gives us a few pointers in the class and I made better chops later.

Lonely Pine, Corel Painter 2015 Watercolor, Skip Allen

Lonely Pine, Corel Painter 2015 Watercolor, Skip Allen

My second image continued with the same theme.

Life, Watercolor in Corel Painter 2015, Skip Allen

Life, Watercolor in Corel Painter 2015, Skip Allen

The chops were my two again, but I added some chops provided by Karen that mean Yin Yang, Hope, and Learn from Nature.

Next, I tried my hand at creating a new chop.  I do not believe I created one that is intensely personal or spiritual; I need to try again.  Here are my two attempts.

Watercolor in Sumi-e style with my chop, Corel Painter 2015, Skip Allen

Watercolor in Sumi-e style with my chop, Corel Painter 2015, Skip Allen

I like the soft feel of this painting, and the linear quality is very important to me.  I made pots for nearly 3 decades and my surface decorations were always linear.  The chop is also linear.  I do have my name in English running up the right side.  The S is at the bottom and the P is at the top.  It is kind of strange, right?  The second chop is identical, but I used my name in calligraphy.

Strong Bamboo, Watercolor in Corel Painter 2015 with my chop, Skip Allen

Strong Bamboo, Watercolor in Corel Painter 2015 with my chop, Skip Allen


OK, would you like to see how I did the above images?  I hope so.  In this first video, I mainly talk about the brushes used and paper and flow maps play an important part.  Actually, the brushes are useless without proper manipulations of the paper and flow maps.  The Expressions settings are also very important.  For instance, I may use Pressure or Velocity as an Expression.  If I do, then you need to have your brush tracking or brush calibration set properly for your hand.  Otherwise, you will not get the same look and feel that I get.  Also, I use a Wacom Art Pen almost exclusively.  The Art Pen allows barrel rotation, meaning you can rotate the pen in your fingers and get the same look and feel of a traditional flat brush.  If you are using a Grip Pen, then the brush will remain rigid…it will not twirl as you see mine do.  For more information go to Art Pens.

Video 1: Tips and Tricks, Corel Painter 2015, Wet Watercolor

After the first video, I decided to paint a piece similar to the ones done in class and capture the experience for you.  It wasn’t that easy.  Some tutorials are easy, and then others are full of challenges.  I actually made two complete sets of tutorials.  I had so much difficulty with the first set that I remade the videos.  There is a lot of stuff in the first set that might be useful, so I may post it anyway.  I haven’t decided, yet.

OK…here is the painting that I created in the tutorials.

Isolation, Watercolor in Corel Painter 2015, Skip Allen

Isolation, Watercolor in Corel Painter 2015, Skip Allen

Before I actually start painting, I usually create a paper layer.  I like seeing the paper texture; it makes me think I am actually painting on paper.  Check out how I do it in this video.

After I created the paper texture, I started the painting.  Using three layers, I painted the sky and mountains.

In the next video, I added another mountain and the isolated tree.  Establishing the focal point was crucial.  I did this as someone from the West.  The Asian focal point is very different, I believe.

In the last video, I place a texture over the image.  The texture came from Media Militia.  This is an incredible free resource of textures.  On their website they state: “All of our resources are free for personal and commercial use. We put a lot of time and energy into creating them. If you found something useful, help us out by making a donation. Even a donation of a buck helps pay for the crazy bandwidth costs. Thank you!”  If you do go to their site and download materials, do donate.  The service offered is well worth a donation and it is so helpful to get them.  I seldom get donations, but when I do, it’s delightful.  It is so rewarding and inspires me to produce more.  Plus, it helps with expenses.  When you donate to Media Militia, think about donating here, too.

That was the last video.  I give the brushes, papers, and flow maps used, except those from Tim Shelbourne, in the following link.

PLEASE NOTE: I made the tools (brushes, flow maps, and papers) in Corel Painter 2015, and they are not compatible with other versions.  Do not install in earlier versions.  If I get many requests for an earlier version set , I’ll produce and post it.

Get the tools here:

I have decided not to post the other videos.  I may change my mind later, but the image was pretty awful.  In a week or two, I’ll check them again and see if the information is valid and would be helpful to you.  If so, I’ll post them