Until now, I have been using Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, or traditional artist media to create all of my illustrations. But for commercial work, I much prefer to work digital…for the Control Z function if nothing else. That one key stroke has revolutionized the world of art!
Photoshop and Illustrator, however, as great as they are, don’t quite “get it” for the watercolor artist, and so I ordered my copy of Painter 12 with its all new “real watercolor” world, and I have been chomping at the bit to get started–but I was a little concerned. I had previously ordered Painter X and had tried using it, but I had so many crashes and freezes with both the Macintosh and IBM versions that I gave up on it in extreme frustration. I never touched it again. When deadlines loom, working with something reliable is paramount.
With the release of Painter 12, I assumed whatever the problem had been before had surely been fixed by now. I was wrong.
The software held up fairly well throughout the low resolution tutorials that I worked on, although it did still freeze up a couple of times. But the real problems started when I tried to work in high resolution, on real-world art.
All I can say is “what a drag!”
Freezing up. Crashing. Hanging up. Locking up. All those nice things.
I could barely proceed in any direction with any brush on the canvas without a crash. Again, I became so frustrated that I was tempted to give it up forever. But I couldn’t justify throwing in the towel after having spent so much money–twice.
I scanned internet forums and articles and found some possible fixes. Here’s what I tried…and what failed (I thought):
- Go to Edit > Preferences > Performance > Multicore Usage, and lower the number of cores to match your system, you may even need to set it a little lower.
- Adjust the brush tips. Make sure the “Enhanced brush ghost” is NOT selected. That can cause performance lags in some brushes.
- Under Edit > Preferences > General, CHECK the “Disable feature scaling when resizing brush.”
I tried all these fixes, but to no avail. I shot Corel a rather curt email about my issues.
I admit that I initially received two pretty quick responses. They instructed me to run several reports about my system and forward those to them, which I did. That was two days ago, and I haven’t heard back.
THE FIX (sort of)
In the mean time, my impatience got the better of me, and I experimented a little more. I found that after I set the preferences that I mentioned above, they weren’t applying to any new documents that I opened, and I was still using the default settings without realizing it. I should have remembered that in order to make global preference changes that affect all future documents, you need to adjust the settings before you open any document. Otherwise the adjustments just apply to that document. Once I figured that out and made the aforementioned adjustments with no documents opened, things got better, but they aren’t perfect by a long shot.
MY TAKE (so far, until I hear back from Corel)
The real watercolor brushes are laggy, to say the least. They look good, but they try my patience to use. Certainly not like using Photoshop. They don’t act exactly like real watercolors either, but with some tweaking they can look like the real thing, and that’s what counts. So I’m pretty pleased with that.
I still experience lock-ups and crashes fairly regularly, but I can at least make some progress with my paintings before that happens. So save often and save early!
I like how the painting is turning out. I enjoy the feel of the brushes and feel they are more intuitive than Photoshop brushes. I’m working a little slowly since I’m still on this learning curve, but I’m learning quicker ways to get the same look accomplished, and I’m sure that that will only improve with time and practice.
I hope this helps anyone having the same kind of hang-ups in Painter 12. I’ll be posting my first digital watercolor painting in the next couple of days.