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Copyright 20 20 Corel Corporation. All rights reserved.
Introduction to Corel® Painter® 2021 User Guide
The contents of this user guide and the associated Corel Painter software are the property of Corel Corporation and its respective licensors,
and are protected by copyright. For more complete copyright information about Corel Painter, please refer to the About Corel Painter section
in the Help menu of the software.
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specifications for all other versions (including other language versions) may vary.
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limited to, warranties of merchantable quality, satisfactory quality, merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose, or those arising by law,
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216060Contents | 1
Corel Painter 2021……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………3
What’s new in Corel Painter 2021……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….4
Workspace overview……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 11
Choosing a workspace layout……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………12
Choosing and modifying brushes……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 14
Exploring the toolbox……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 19
Exploring panels and palettes……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………23
Choosing a workflow……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 28
Additional resources……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 392 | Quick Start GuideCorel Painter 2021 | 3
Corel Painter 2021
Corel® Painter® 2021 is the ultimate digital art studio. Its inventive drawing tools, realistic brushes, cloning capabilities, and customizable
features let you expand your creative output in exciting new ways. When you use the pressure-sensitive brushes of Corel Painter, they
become fluid extensions of your hand, so the resulting brushstrokes are unrivaled in texture and precision. What’s more, features such as the
ability to build your own Natural-Media® brushes and customize how brushes interact with the canvas give you countless ways to develop
your artistic ideas. Corel Painter takes you far beyond what’s possible in a traditional art environment.
Image created with Corel Painter 2021 by using the Colored Pencil AI style preset and Thick Paint. Artwork by Deborah Kolesar4 | Quick Start Guide
What’s new in Corel Painter 2021
Enhanced! Performance optimization
Corel Painter 2021 takes advantage of the latest developments in processor (CPU), graphics processor (GPU) and memory to deliver the best
digital painting experience. With improved GPU compatibility and efficiency, you’ll experience faster brush and tool switching.
The enhanced Brush Accelerator is more intuitive and evaluates your system’s CPU, GPU, and memory to optimize application settings
for better performance. It also offers suggestions on how to upgrade system components, as well as recommendations on which brush
categories are most compatible with your computer.
The Brush Accelerator evaluates your system and generates a report that lets you view the test results.
To run the Brush Accelerator
1 On the Welcome Screen, click the Performance tab.
If the Welcome Screen isn’t open, choose Help Welcome.
2 Click Optimize Now.
To cancel the test at any time, press Esc.
You can also run the Brush Accelerator from the Performance page of the Preferences dialog box (macOS: Corel Painter 2021
menu Preferences Performance; Windows: Edit Preferences Performance) and the Performance panel (Window Brush
Control Panels Performance).
New! Apple Touch Bar support
Painter provides new support for the Touch Bar on your MacBook Pro, offering context-sensitive controls that change depending on the
selected tool. For example, when you work with brushes, the Touch Bar will display controls for selecting colors, cloning color, adjusting
brush size and opacity, and more.Corel Painter 2021 | 5
The Touch Bar content changes depending on the active brush or tool. For example, when you choose a variant
from the Artist’s Oils category (top), the Touch Bar displays commands for selecting colors, adjusting brush size
and opacity, and stroke options; when you choose a variant from the Cloners category (middle), the Touch Bar
provides access to additional controls, such as showing and hiding tracing paper. The Touch Bar also lets you
access useful document options (bottom) for switching document views, flipping the canvas, zooming, and more.
New! Apple Pencil tilt support
With new tilt support for Apple Pencil, you can now tilt the selected brush while you paint to precisely control the shape of the brushstroke,
for example while shading with a pencil, aiming an airbrush, or splaying soft bristles.
Enhanced! Apple Trackpad support
With responsive support for the multi-touch trackpad on your Mac, you can perform useful actions by swiping, and pinching or spreading
your thumb and forefinger on your trackpad. This makes panning, zooming, and rotating your artwork quick, intuitive, and efficient.
To enable or disable trackpad support (macOS)
Choose Corel Painter 2021 menu Preferences Tablet and Trackpad.
2 In the Trackpad Options area, enable or disable the Enable pan, zoom and rotate on Apple devices equipped with a Trackpad check
New! Apple Sidecar support
With Painter 2021, you can use your iPad as a secondary display that mirrors your Mac desktop. The Painter user interface will auto-adjust
based on the resolution of your iPad.
New! Clone tinting
You can now dynamically add color to mix with your clone source. While painting with clone tinting enabled, you can add the currently
selected color, or a sampled color, to any brush independent of the clone source. This highly versatile technology is supported by any brush
that responds to clone color or clone method. It also works in conjunction with multi-point cloning, giving you an abundance of creative
options while cloning. Plus, the Clone Color and Clone Source flyouts on the property bar provide quicker access to settings, options, and
panels for an improved cloning workflow.6 | Quick Start Guide
Clone tinting lets you add color to mix with your clone source. Artwork by Dana Diamond.
To apply clone tinting
1 In the Brush Selector, choose a cloner brush.
Tip: To paint with a brush from any other category, choose a brush, and click the Clone Color button in the Color panel (Window
Color Panels Color Panel (Full View)).
Click the Clone Color flyout button on the property bar, and enable the Color Tinting check box.
3 Perform a task from the following table.
To Do the following
Set the amount of tinting applied to a brushstroke Move the Amount slider.
Link tinting to a specific stylus or mouse movement Choose an option from the Expression list box.
4 Hover over the color wheel in the Color panel and choose a color.
5 Paint in the clone document.Corel Painter 2021 | 7
Enable the Precise Sampling check box to sample color from the center of the dab, which is useful for cloning images with
Enhanced! UI elements
Painter 2021 helps you work faster and more efficiently by giving you quick access to frequently used commands and options. For photo
artists, a new Photo Art command bar lets you instantly clone, access photo art panels, apply surface texture, as well as adjust colors,
brightness and contrast, and equalize. To give you more room to paint, you can move command bars anywhere on the screen.
In addition, Thick Paint brush controls have been reorganized so that property bar flyouts and panels put the most important controls at
your fingertips. An updated Impasto flyout reduces the need to open panels, making it easier to control the interaction of depth on the
canvas. Plus, the Underpainting panel provides instant access to setting up clone documents and brush options.
Enhanced! New Image dialog box
To quickly get started, Corel Painter now lets you start your document by creating a Thick Paint, Watercolor, or Liquid Ink layer, setting canvas
visibility and orientation, and choosing a color profile directly from the New Image dialog box.
New! A.I. Style panel and transfers
The new A.I. Style panel includes presets and styles that use artificial intelligence to create a stylized painting from a photo. You can fine-
tune the settings of AI styles, and save your own custom preset. Plus, you can add style to virtually anything in Painter: a photo, a sketch, a
painting, or even a few simple brush marks. The unique look and feel of an AI style can serve either as an underpainting for your photo art
or inspiration for your next masterpiece.
The A.I. Style panel lets you apply style transfers and presets to any Painter document.8 | Quick Start Guide
In the A.I. Style panel (Window Photo Art Panels A.I. Style), do one of the following:
• Choose a style from the A.I. Style list box to apply a style.
• Choose a preset from the Preset list box to apply a preset.
3 When you are satisfied with the result, click Apply.
You can also
Vary the intensity of the effect Move the Strength slider.
Specify the level of detail in the style transfer In the Detail area, enable one of the following options:
Specify the percentage of color matching taken from the original
Move the Color Match slider.
Smooth out the colors and sharp details Move the Smooth Image slider.
Apply a style to the current document Choose Current Document from the Apply to list box.
Apply a style to a new clone document Choose New Clone Document from the Apply to list box.
Tip: Click the Settings button to adjust various clone and
brush settings, such as clearing the canvas, activating tracing paper,
and switching to a cloning brush category.
You can apply an AI style or preset only to default layers. To apply an AI style or preset to Watercolor, Thick Paint, or Liquid Ink
layers, you have to convert them to default layers.
In a multi-layer document, you can apply an AI style or preset only to the currently selected layer.
You can also apply an AI style or preset to a selection. For more information about selections, see “Getting started with
You can also access the A.I. Style panel by clicking the A.I. Style flyout button on the Photo Art command bar (Window
Command Bars Photo Art.)
New! AI style presets
You can quick start your photo art by taking advantage of new AI style presets. These meticulously curated settings are tuned to work best
for specific types of photos, such as architecture, portraits, wildlife, landscapes, and more. You can also experiment with AI styles for fast
results in a Quick Clone workflow.
To apply an AI style or preset
1 Open an image.Corel Painter 2021 | 9
Two AI style presets: Fabulous Animals (top) and Painted Landscape (bottom)
New! Apple Core ML
Painter 2021 uses the latest and greatest machine learning (ML) technology from Apple to power your AI style experience.
New! Layer compatibility
It’s now easier to identify which brushes are compatible with which layers in the enhanced Brush selector. As you hover over a brush variant,
layer compatibility icons display for Default, Liquid Ink, Thick Paint, and Watercolor layers. You can also click any layer compatibility icon to
search for all brushes compatible with that layer. Plus, you can use abbreviated search terms “d”, “tp”, “li”, and “wc” in the Search bar to find
respective Default, Thick Paint, Liquid Ink, and Watercolor brushes. In addition, the search term “gl” will instantly find all brushes that require
Gel composite method for optimal look and feel.
Enhanced! Layers panel
You can now add new Default, Thick Paint, Watercolor, and Liquid Ink layers with a single click. You can also adjust Thick Paint visible depth
in the Layers panel to dynamically control the depth of Thick Paint as you apply brushstrokes to the layer. Plus, the Layer options menu on
the panel has been reorganized for quicker access and better alignment with the commands in the Layers menu. And you can right-click
(Windows), or click with two fingers on the trackpad (macOS), the icons along the bottom of the panel to access handy contextual menus.10 | Quick Start Guide
Layers panel: The new Visible Depth slider (1) lets you dynamically control the depth of Thick Paint on a layer. The New Layer
(2), New Thick Paint Layer (3), New Watercolor Layer (4), New Liquid Ink Layer (5) buttons let you add layers with a single click.
Enhanced! Layers workflow
Painter 2021 provides other general refinements to layers workflow designed to help you focus on creativity. Watercolor layers have been
improved, making it easier to merge two or more watercolor layers, convert default layers to watercolor, and flip watercolor layers. Plus, you
can quickly unlock all layers, duplicate layer groups and canvas, retain the first layer name when merging a group, and use the Shift key to
constrain movement while adjusting layers.
Painter 2021 introduces Clone Tinting and Thick Paint-compatible brush categories, featuring new brushes developed by Painter Masters.
You can take advantage of brushes designed by a group of talented illustrators, fine artists, and photo artists who excel in their craft.
With a variety of brush types and shapes, Clone Tinting brushes pick up the currently selected color and mix it with your clone source. The
Thick Paint-compatible brushes are designed to take full advantage of the depth, lighting, and shadows of Thick Paint technology. Plus, there
are nine additional new or enhanced Thick Paint brushes.
New and enhanced! Thick Paint workflow
Painter 2021 provides an optimized Thick Paint workflow, featuring reorganized brush control panels and property bar flyouts that give you
quicker access to frequently used settings. You can instantly adjust how Thick Paint is applied to the brush, how the brush behaves, and how
the paint interacts by using the revamped Media, Shape, and Wetness flyouts, reducing the need to open their respective panels.Corel Painter 2021 | 11
What’s more, Thick Paint layer performance has been improved, making it easier to duplicate and flip layers, adjust visible depth, and
preserve transparency when blocking in color. You can also lift the canvas, such as a photo, or convert a layer, such as brush marks on
default layers, to Thick Paint, offering you a variety of powerful options to add visible depth to your artwork.
New! Thick Paint compatibility
Painter 2021 makes it easier to incorporate Thick Paint in your artwork. The improved brush compatibility offers a much greater variety of
shapes, such as captured dabs and stencils, and media types, such as oily Sargent, chalks and pencils, buildup support for inks, crayons, and
sumi-e, and so much more. In addition, the default appearance and interaction has been improved, making it quicker to make fine, non-
destructive adjustments to the visible depth of Thick Paint brushstrokes. All in all, natural-looking mixed media and photo art with Painter is
now more powerful and easier than ever.
The workspace is organized by using a series of menus, selectors, panels, and interactive palettes.
Circled numbers correspond to the numbers in the following table,
which describes the main components of the application window.12 | Quick Start Guide
1. Menu bar Lets you access tools and features using pull-down menu options
2. Brush Selector bar Lets you open the Brush library panel to choose a brush category
and variant. It also allows you to open and manage brush libraries.
3. Brush Selector flyout Lets you choose a brush library, select a brush from a brush
category, and browse additional brush packs that can complement
your creative set of brushes. It also lets you instantly identify which
brush variants are compatible with the Default, Liquid Ink, Thick
Paint, and Watercolor layers. When you hover over a brush variant,
eligible layer compatibility icons appear beside the brush name at
the bottom of the Brush Selector.
4. Command bars The command bars — File/Edit, Canvas, Photo Art — contain
buttons and controls that are shortcuts to many commonly used
5. Property bar Displays commands that relate to the active tool or object. For
example, when the Fill tool is active, the fill property bar displays
commands for filling selected areas. Controls on the property bar
are organized logically for ease of use. Group labels help you find,
understand, and use commands quickly and efficiently.
6. Color panel Lets you select a color and view information about the selected
7. Harmonies panel Lets you use harmony rules to create color harmonies
8. Layers panel Lets you manage the hierarchy of layers and includes controls for
creating, selecting, hiding, locking, deleting, naming, and grouping
9. Canvas The canvas is the rectangular work area inside the document
window whose size determines the size of the image you create.
The canvas acts as the image background and, unlike a layer, it is
10. Toolbox Lets you access tools for creating, filling, and modifying an image
Choosing a workspace layout
A workspace layout (also known as “palette arrangement”) displays, hides, and positions workspace elements such as palettes and panels to
suit a specific workflow. Corel Painter 2021 offers the following workspace layouts:
Corel Painter 2021 | 13
Workspace layout Description
New to Painter Displays the most essential controls together with the Hints panel
to help you get started quickly with Corel Painter
Classic Ideal for users who have experience with previous versions of
Corel Painter and are looking for a seamless transition to a familiar
Default The default workspace layout that works well for most computers.
For more information, see “Workspace overview” on page 11.
Simple Displays minimal user interface that includes the toolbox, the menu
bar, and the extended property bar
Concept Art Provides quick access to brushes, gradients, and texture painting
controls. Brush and media palettes are logically grouped in palette
drawers to save screen space.
Illustration Displays the Reference Image panel, brushes, papers, gradients
Fine Art Provides quick access to traditional media brushes and composition
Photo Art Displays palettes commonly used by photo artists, providing
optimal setup for cloning photos, textures, and paintings
Manga Art Provides quick access to brushes, papers, and gradients, as well as
brush size and opacity controls
The Quick Switch feature lets you choose two workspace layouts and quickly switch between them to suit the current task or the display
mode of your device. This feature is especially useful on multi- or dual-mode devices. For example, you can select Default as Layout 1 and
Simple as Layout 2. When you flip the display panel from Notebook to Tablet mode, the Simple workspace layout is automatically displayed,
which lets you work in an uncluttered, minimalistic user interface.
To choose a workspace layout
Choose Window Layout, and choose a layout.
You can also choose a layout from the Welcome screen by clicking Setup and selecting a layout.
To switch between workspace layouts
Choose Window Layout Quick Switch Layout 1, and choose a layout.
Choose Window Layout Quick Switch Layout 2, and choose a layout.
3 To switch between Layout 1 and Layout 2, do one of the following:
• Reposition the display panel of your dual- or multi-mode device (for example, from Notebook mode to Tablet mode).14 | Quick Start Guide
Choose Window Layout Quick Switch Toggle Layout.
You can switch between factory workspace layouts or custom workspace layouts that you created. For information about creating
and saving custom workspace layouts, see “Rearranging panels and palettes.”
Choosing and modifying brushes
Corel Painter 2021 brushes consist of a wide range of preset painting and drawing tools called brush variants. Brush variants are organized
into a wide variety of categories, such as Airbrushes, Artists’ Oils, Calligraphy, Pens and Pencils, and Watercolor. Some brush categories
are designed with real media in mind, so you can select a tool with an expectation of how it will behave. Other brush categories have no
real-media equivalent, such as the ground-breaking Particle brushes, and give digital artists the ability to express themselves in ways never
The Brush Selector lets you choose a brush library, select a brush from a brush category, and browse additional brush packs that can
complement your creative set of brushes. It also allows you to view the most recently used brushes and organize and display brushes in
various ways. For example, you can hide the recently used brushes to save screen space or hide brush categories and variants to expose the
brushes that you use most.
The Brush Selector also lets you instantly identify which brush variants are compatible with the Default, Liquid Ink, Thick Paint, and
Watercolor layers. When you hover over a brush variant, eligible layer compatibility icons appear beside the brush name at the bottom of the
Brush Selector. Clicking a layer compatibility icon lets you find all brush variants that paint on this layer.Corel Painter 2021 | 15
Circled numbers correspond to the numbers in the following table, which describes the main components of the Brush Selector.
1. Last Used Brush Lets you access the previously used brush variant
2. Brush Selector Bar Lets you access the Brush Selector flyout
3. Brush Library Selector Lets you choose a brush library
4. Recent Brushes Displays the recently used brushes. The list includes only brushes
from the currently selected brush library. Switching to a different
brush library clears the most recently used brushes list.
5. Brush Pack Promotions bar Lets you access the Brush Pack Selector and purchase brush packs16 | Quick Start Guide
6. Brush Pack Promotions list Lets you browse the available brush packs
7. Brush library options button Lets you access commands that help you organize and display
brushes in various ways
8. Brush categories Lets you browse all categories in a brush library. Brush categories
are groups of similar brushes and media.
9. Brush library panel Lets you browse the brush categories and variants in the currently
10. Brush variants Lets you browse the brush variants in a category. Brush variants are
specific brushes and brush settings within a brush category.
11. Layer compatibility icons Lets you identify and search for brush variants that are compatible
with the Default, Liquid Ink, Thick Paint, or Watercolor layers
In the Brush library panel, brushes are organized into categories, which are groups of similar brushes and media. Brush variants are specific
brushes within a brush category. The Brush Selector is also available as a floating panel that you can keep open to access brushes quickly and
easily while you are painting. The Brush Selector panel has two viewing modes: compact and full view. In full view, both the brush categories
and variants are displayed. In compact view, only the brush variants are displayed, which lets you see more brushes at a glance without the
need to scroll.
In full view, the Brush library panel lets you choose a brush category (left) and a brush variant (right).Corel Painter 2021 | 17
To show or hide Do the following
The Brush Selector bar
Choose Window Brush Selector Bar.
The Brush Selector panel in full view
Choose Window Brush Selector Panel (Full View).
The Brush Selector panel in compact view
Choose Window Brush Selector Panel (Compact).
To select a brush category and variant
In the toolbox, click the Brush tool .
2 Click the Brush Selector on the Brush Selector bar.
3 In the Brush library panel, click a brush category, and click a brush variant.
You can quickly search the content of the currently selected brush library to find brushes that match a specific description. You can perform a
search by entering one attribute, or a combination of brush attributes. For example, typing the search terms “pencil real” generates a list of
all “Real Pencil” brush variants. Plus, you can use abbreviated search terms “d”, “tp”, “li”, and “wc” in the Search bar to find respective Default,
Thick Paint, Liquid Ink, and Watercolor brushes. In addition, the search term “gl” will instantly find all brushes that require Gel composite
method for optimal look and feel.
To search for brush variants
1 In the Search bar, type one attribute or a combination of brush attributes in the Search text box.
2 Hover over a brush variant in the list to display a preview of the brushstroke at the bottom of the flyout.
3 Choose a brush variant from the list.
The Search bar is displayed by default only in the Classic layout and is located to the right of the property bar, in the upper-right
corner of the document window. To display the Search bar in all other layouts, click Window Search.
Click a Layer compatibility icon in the Brush Selector to find all brush variants that paint on this layer.
You can search for new or updated brushes in Corel Painter 2021 by typing 2021 in the Search box.
You can use GPU, AVX2, and Multi-core (or “Multicore”) as search terms to find brushes that leverage those technologies.
If you previously hid the Search bar, you can show it by clicking Window Search.
When the Brush tool is selected, you can quickly modify a brush variant on the property bar. Some basic attributes, such as size and opacity,
are common to all brushes, and other attributes are specific to the brush category that you’ve chosen.
To show or hide the Brush Selector
• Perform a task from the following table.18 | Quick Start Guide
Controls on the property bar are organized logically for ease of use. Group labels help you find,
understand, and use commands quickly and efficiently. (1) The Reset button lets you restore the default
settings of a selected brush; (2,3,4) Controls common to all brushes; (5, 6, 7) Brush-specific controls;
(8) The Advanced Brush Controls button lets you access the panels related to the active brush variant.
Depending on the brush category and variant you select, the property bar contains flyouts that provide access to the most commonly used
functions that are relevant to the active brush or tool.
The property bar for a Real Watercolor brush variant: (1) the Stroke flyout; (2) the Flow map flyout; (3) the Real Watercolor
flyout button; (4) the Dab Options flyout; (5) the Static Bristle flyout button; The background shape of icons indicates
their use. A square background (4) signifies that the control gives access to settings that let you modify the media
properties of a brush. Icons with a round background (4, 5) give access to settings that control the shaping of a brush.
To set basic brush attributes
In the toolbox, click the Brush tool .
2 Click the Brush Selector on the Brush Selector bar.
3 In the Brush library panel, click a brush category, and click a brush variant.
4 On the property bar, do any of the following:
To set brush size, move the Size slider , or type a value in the Size box.
To set brushstroke opacity, move the Opacity slider , or type a percentage in the Opacity box.Corel Painter 2021 | 19
You can also increase brush size incrementally by pressing the right square bracket ( ] ) key or decrease brush size by pressing the
left square bracket ( [ ) key.
When the Brush tool is active, you can set opacity by pressing a number key. Each number key is mapped to a fixed percentage. For
example, 1 equals 10% opacity, 5 equals 50% opacity, and 0 equals 100% opacity.
Exploring brush categories
Corel Painter 2021 has a wide selection of brush categories, each with a variety of preset brush variants. For a list of brush categories, see
“Exploring brush categories” in the product Help.
Creating custom brushes
You can choose a ready-to-use default brush variant from the impressive Corel Painter brush library, or you can modify a brush variant in the
General brush control panel. It contains the following settings:
• Dab Type — determines the method for applying media to the canvas
• Stroke Type — determines how a brushstroke applies media
• Method and Subcategory — method defines the most basic level of brush behavior and is the foundation on which all other brush
variables are built. The method and method subcategory represent attributes of the stroke’s appearance.
• Source — determines the media that is applied by the brush variant
For more information about using the General brush control panel, see “General Controls” in the product Help.
To display the General Brush Controls panel
Choose Window Brush Control Panels General.
Exploring the toolbox
You can use the tools in the toolbox to paint, draw lines and shapes, fill shapes with color, view and navigate documents, and make
The following table provides descriptions of the tools in the Corel Painter toolbox.
The Brush tool lets you paint and draw on the canvas or a layer.
The property bar displays the most commonly used functions
that are relevant to the active brush. For more information, see
“Selecting, managing, and creating brushes.”
The Dropper tool lets you pick up a color from an existing image.
The property bar shows the values of the color. When you select a
color with the Dropper tool, that color becomes the current color
in the Color panel. For more information, see “Sampling colors
from images.”20 | Quick Start Guide
The Paint Bucket tool lets you fill an area with media, such as a
color, gradient, pattern, weave, or clone. The property bar shows
options for the areas that you can fill and the media that you can
use. For more information, see “Working with color fills.”
The Interactive Gradient tool lets you apply a gradient to an image
by filling an area, such as the canvas, a selection, layer, or channel.
For more information, see “Applying gradients.”
The Eraser tool lets you remove unwanted areas from an image.
For more information, see “Erasing image areas.”
The Layer Adjuster tool is used to select, move, and manipulate
layers. For more information, see “Displaying the Layers panel.”
The Transform tool lets you modify selected areas of an image by
using different transformation modes. For more information, see
“Preparing selections for transformations.
The Rectangular Selection tool lets you create rectangular
selections.For more information, see “Getting started with
The Oval Selection tool lets you create oval selections.For more
information, see “Getting started with selections.”
The Lasso tool lets you draw a freehand selection. For more
information, see “Getting started with selections.”
The Polygonal Selection tool lets you select an area by clicking
different points on the image to anchor straight line segments. For
more information, see “Creating path-based selections.”
The Magic Wand tool lets you select an area of similar color
by clicking or dragging in an image. For more information, see
“Creating pixel-based selections.”
The Selection Brush tool lets you create a freehand selection by
painting. For more information, see “Selecting areas by painting.”
The Selection Adjuster tool lets you select, move, and manipulate
selections created with the Rectangular, Oval, and Lasso selectionCorel Painter 2021 | 21
tools and selections converted from shapes. For more information,
see “Preparing selections for transformations.”
The Crop tool lets you remove unwanted edges from an image.For
more information, see “Cropping images.”
The Pen tool lets you create straight lines and curves in objects. For
more information, see “Drawing lines and curves.”
The Quick Curve tool lets you create shape paths by drawing
freehand curves. For more information, see “Adjusting curvature.”
The Rectangular Shape tool lets you create rectangles and squares.
For more information, see “Drawing shapes.”
The Oval Shape tool lets you create circles and ovals. For more
information, see “Drawing shapes.”
The Text tool creates text shapes. Use the Text panel to set the font,
point size, and tracking. For more information, see “Adding text.”
The Shape Selection tool is for editing Bézier curves. You use
the Shape Selection tool to select and move anchor points and
adjust their control handles. For more information, see “Selecting a
The Scissors tool lets you cut an open or closed segment. If the
segment is closed, after you click on a line or point, the shape path
becomes open. For more information, see “Cutting and joining
The Add Point tool lets you create a new anchor point on a shape
path. For more information, see “Adding, deleting, and moving
The Remove Point tool lets you remove an anchor point from a
shape path. For more information, see “Adding, deleting, and
moving anchor points.”
The Convert Point tool is used to convert between smooth and
corner anchor points. For more information, see “Adjusting
curvature.”22 | Quick Start Guide
The Cloner tool gives you quick access to the last Cloner brush
variant you used. For more information, see “Painting in the clone.”
The Rubber Stamp tool gives you quick access to the Straight
Cloner brush variant and lets you sample areas within an image
or between images. For more information, see “Performing offset
The Dodge tool lets you lighten the highlights, midtones, and
shadows in an image. For more information, see “Dodging and
The Burn tool lets you darken the highlights, midtones, and
shadows in an image. For more information, see “Dodging and
The Mirror Painting mode lets you create a perfectly symmetrical
painting. For more information, see “Using the Mirror Painting
The Kaleidoscope mode lets you transform basic brushstrokes
into colorful and symmetrical kaleidoscope images. For more
information, see “Using the Kaleidoscope Painting mode.”
The Divine Proportion tool lets you plan compositions by using
guides based on a classical composition method. For more
information, see “Using the Divine Proportion tool.”
The Layout Grid tool lets you divide your canvas so that you can
plan your composition. For example, you can divide your canvas
into thirds vertically and horizontally to use the compositional rule
of thirds. For more information, see “Using the Layout Grid.”
The Perspective Guides tool lets you display guides using one-,
two-, or three-point perspective. For more information, see “Using
Perspective Guides.”Corel Painter 2021 | 23
The Grabber tool lets you scroll through an image quickly. For more
information, see “Repositioning images.”
The Magnifier tool lets you magnify areas of an image when you
are performing detailed work, or reduce areas to get an overall
view of an image. For more information, see “Zooming images.”
The Rotate Page tool lets you rotate an image window to
accommodate the way you naturally draw. For more information,
see “Rotating images and the canvas.”
The View selector allows you to switch between document
views and viewing modes. For more information, see “Switching
The toolbox is open by default, but you can close it by clicking the close button on the toolbox header bar. To reopen the toolbox,
choose Window Toolbox.
Exploring panels and palettes
The interactive panels in Corel Painter are single tabbed containers that let you access content libraries, commands, controls, and settings.
Panels are stored in palettes. You can turn a palette into a palette drawer, so you can quickly collapse it to save screen space.
This palette drawer includes two related panels: Gradients and
Gradient Node. You can access a panel’s content by clicking its tab.
Navigation tools24 | Quick Start Guide
Most panels in Corel Painter contain option menus from which you can access a series of related commands. For example, you can use the
options menu in the Layers controls panel to lock, duplicate, and group layers.
A typical palette features a header bar (1), a Palette Drawer button that lets you turn a palette into a palette
drawer (2), panel tabs (3), and a Panel options button that allows you to access a series of related commands (4).
The following table contains descriptions of the most frequently used panels. For more information about other panels, see “Exploring
panels” in the product Help.
Brush Control panels
The brush control panels are included in the Brush Controls palette.
The brush controls are divided into multiple brush control panels
that allow you to adjust a brush variant while you work, or alter an
existing variant to create a new variant.
Allow you to customize brush variants. For more information, see
“Adjusting brushes with brush controls.”
Advanced Brush Controls panel Generates a grouping of brush control panels that are relevant to
the currently selected brush. You can access brush shape and brush
media panels quickly by using the Shape and Media shortcuts
in the Edit panel. For more information, see “Exploring Brush
Color Panel (Full View)
Color Panel (Compact)
Let you choose main and additional colors and create color
harmonies. For more information, see “Choosing colors from the
Mixer Lets you mix and blend colors as you would on an artist’s palette.
For more information, see “Exploring the Mixer panel and mixing
Color Set Libraries Displays the colors in the current color set so you can organize
groups of colors. For more information, see “Working with color
sets.”Corel Painter 2021 | 25
Harmonies Lets you use harmony rules to create color harmonies. For more
information, see “Working with color harmonies.”
Layers and Channels panels
Layers Lets you preview and arrange all layers. You can use Dynamic Plug-
ins, add new layers (including Default, Thick Paint, Watercolor, and
Liquid Ink layers), create layer masks, and delete layers. In addition,
you can set the composite method and depth, adjust the opacity,
and lock and unlock layers. For more information, see “Layers.”
Channels Lets you preview thumbnails of all the channels in a Corel Painter
document, including RGB composite channels, layer masks, and
alpha channels. From the panel, you can also load, save, and invert
existing channels, and create new channels. For more information,
see “Alpha Channels.”
Working with panels and palettes
When you launch Corel Painter 2021, the Color panel is open automatically and is grouped in a palette drawer with the Mixer, Harmonies,
Color Set Libraries, Layers, and Channels panels. The Color panel has two viewing modes: compact and full view. In full view, both the
color wheel and sliders are displayed. In compact view, only the sliders are displayed. By default, the Color panel in full view displays the
color wheel, and information for a selected color, but you can hide these elements.
The Color panel in full view26 | Quick Start Guide
2 Perform a task from the following table.
To Do the following
Hide the color wheel
Click the Color options button , and choose Color Wheel.
Hide color information
Click the Color options button , and choose Color Sliders.
You can easily display a panel when you need it, and you can quickly close a panel when you’re done.
To hide or show a panel or palette
Choose Window [Panel name].
You can restore a previously hidden palette by choosing Window and choosing the name of a panel that is contained in the
You can save the arrangement of palettes as a custom workspace layout for later use, and you can delete this custom workspace layout
when you no longer need it.
You can rearrange the display of panels to better match your workflow. For example, you can group task-related panels together in one
palette. At any time, you can further customize these palettes by adding or removing a panel, repositioning a panel, or moving a panel to
To group panels into palettes
• Perform a task from the following table.
Palettes and panels float in the workspace. Docking attaches panels or palettes to the vertical edge of the application window. Undocking
detaches them from the workspace, so you can move them.
To dock or undock a palette or a panel
• Perform a task from the following table.
To Do the following
Dock a palette Drag the palette header bar to the vertical edge of the application
window. The palette snaps into place when it lines up with the
Undock a palette Drag the blank area to the right of the panel tabs away from the
edge of the application window.
Dock a panel Drag the panel tab to the vertical edge of the application window.
The panel snaps into place when it lines up with the edge.
Undock a panel Drag the panel tab away from the application window.
To hide information on the Color panel
Choose Window Color Panels Color Panel (Full View).Corel Painter 2021 | 27
You can turn a palette into a palette drawer, so you can quickly collapse it to save screen space. At any time, you can turn a palette drawer
back into a regular palette. You can resize and reposition a palette drawer like any other palette group.
To use a palette drawer
• Perform a task from the following table.
To Do the following
Create a palette drawer
Click the Palette Drawer toggle button on the palette header
bar, and click Palette Drawer.
To turn a drawer into a regular palette, repeat the preceding steps.
Expand or collapse a palette drawer Double-click the header bar of the palette drawer.
Hide a palette drawer
Click the Close button on the header bar.
Show a palette drawer
Choose Window Palette Drawers [Palette drawer name].
Creating custom palettes
Corel Painter lets you create custom palettes that contain only the features that you want so you can quickly access them. For example, you
can place items from the Brush library panel or any of the Media library panels in a custom palette. You can also add commands from the
main menus or panel options to custom palettes. For more information, see “Creating and modifying custom palettes” in the product Help.
You can change how items on a custom palette are displayed. For example, you can display them as text, icons, or wide icons.
To quickly create a custom palette
• Press Shift, and do any of the following:
• Drag a brush variant from the Brush Selector panel to the document window.
Drag a paper, flow map, or media library thumbnail from the Paper libraries (Window Media Panels Papers), Flow Map libraries
(Window Media Panels Flow Maps), or the other Media panels (Window Media Panels [Textures, Patterns, Gradients,
Nozzles, Looks, Weaves Library Panel]) to the document window.
To add menu commands, controls, or tools to a custom palette
Choose Window Custom Palette Add Command.
2 From the Select Custom Palette list box, choose New to create a new palette or select an existing custom palette.
3 With the Create Palette/Add Command dialog box open, perform a task from the following table:
To add Do the following
A menu item Choose a menu item from a default Corel Painter menu.
Additional controls Choose a menu item from the Other menu.28 | Quick Start Guide
To add Do the following
A panel, or any item included in a panel’s options flyout menu Choose a menu item from the
Panel Menus menu.
A toolbox tool Choose a menu item from the
An item from an open palette Click the item.
4 In the Create Palette/Add Command dialog box, click Add, and then click OK.
Choosing a workflow
Corel Painter includes a wide array of tools and features that allow you to create original artwork and use the workflow that best suits your
Using Corel Painter’s powerful cloning tools, you can quickly transform a digital photo into a painting. You can also use a photo as a starting
point for a painting with the tracing paper feature, which displays a faded-out version of the source image beneath the clone document and
allows you to precisely apply clone colors to the canvas.
If you prefer to start with a sketch created with traditional art tools, you can scan it and finish the painting digitally in Corel Painter. You can
also start a project from scratch in Corel Painter by choosing a paper texture and a brush, and applying color to the canvas.
Photo art: Photo painting
A great way to become acquainted with Corel Painter is to create photo art by painting on a photo. All you need is a photo to use as a
source image. The Photo Art workspace layout displays only the palettes and tools that are relevant to photo painting.
You can use various preset styles to turn your photo into a painting.
Corel Painter includes powerful image cloning tools to help you transform an existing image, such as a photograph, into a work of art. You
can use the Quick Clone feature to automatically set up everything you need to clone an image, or you can start from a blank document
and add one or more clone sources. A clone source is a reference — a guide — for brush colors. You clone (copy) color from a clone source
and apply it to a destination canvas (clone document). A clone source may or may not be embedded. Embedding a clone source allows you
to keep it with your document and switch quickly between clone sources as you paint. You can use images, textures, and patterns as cloneCorel Painter 2021 | 29
sources. If you plan to use a clone source only once — for example, if you want to turn a photo into a painting — you can embed it as an
image. If you plan to reuse a content asset as a clone source in multiple projects, you can store it as a texture or a pattern in the Texture or
Pattern library, respectively. Corel Painter supports PNG and RIFF clone sources with transparency and lets you easily transform textures in the
context of your composition to make them suit your artistic vision. For more information about cloning, see “Image cloning and sampling”
in the product help.
In this guide, we describe one of many possible photo-painting workflows for creating a composite image. We use a painting by Karen
Bonaker as a guide to show how you can use an embedded image and a texture as clone sources. Feel free to experiment with the tools and
settings shown to create your own digital art from scratch.
Corel Painter also has auto-painting tools that streamline the process of creating a painting that is based on a digital image or scanned
photo. Previous experience with digital art is not required to use these tools. For more information, see “Auto-painting photos” in the
To display the Photo Art workspace layout
Choose Window Layout Photo Art.
To clone an image using Quick Clone
1 Open the image that you want to clone.
Choose File Quick Clone.
3 Apply brushstrokes to the canvas by using a cloner brush.
You can also choose a brush from any other brush category and set it to clone color by clicking the Clone Color button on the
To add clone sources to a document
1 Open or create a document.
Corel Painter supports PNG and RIFF clone sources with transparency. In this example, Karen Bonaker used a transparent PNG.30 | Quick Start Guide
In the Clone Source panel (Window Clone Source), choose Embedded Image from the Source list box. In the Embed Source Image
dialog box, enable the Current Document option, and choose the document that you want to clone from the list of open documents.
Tip: To embed an additional image, click the Embed Source Image button , and click Browse. Locate the folder that contains the image
that you want to use, and click Open.
3 To add a texture as a clone source, in the Clone Source panel, choose Texture from the Source list box. Click a texture thumbnail in the
list. Enable the Show Texture check box to see the texture in the document window.
Create your content assets, import them into the Texture library, and use them as clone sources in your painting or photo collage.
Tip: Before you clone a texture, you can modify its appearance to suit your composition and concept. Learn more about modifying
textures in the Help.
In the Brush Selector Panel (Window Brush Selector Panel (Full View)), choose a brush from the Cloners category.
5 Paint in the clone document to clone the texture.
In this example, Karen Bonaker used a custom texture.
Tip: To embed a texture into a clone document so that it`s saved with the document for future use, in the Clone Source panel, right-click
a texture thumbnail (Windows) or hold down Control and click a texture thumbnail (macOS), and click Embed Texture as Clone Source
6 To switch to the embedded source image, in the Clone Source panel, choose Embedded Image from the Source list box.Corel Painter 2021 | 31
7 Paint in the clone document to clone the image. As you paint, you can turn the tracing paper on and off by enabling or disabling the
Toggle Tracing Paper check box in the Clone Source panel.
In this painting, Karen Bonaker used an embedded image and a texture as clone sources.
Experiment with other variants from the Cloners brush category.
Examples of brush variants from the Cloners category. Find more examples of brushstrokes in the Help.
You can transform any brush into a cloner brush by clicking the Clone Color button in the Color panel.
Photo art: Tracing
In addition to painting on a photo, you can use tracing paper to outline a photo or other artwork. You can then use the outline as a starting
point for a painting. Or you can trace a photo to create a sketch, such as a charcoal or chalk drawing.32 | Quick Start Guide
Tracing a photo to create a sketch
To trace a photo
1 Open the photo or other artwork that you want to trace.
Choose File Quick Clone.
In the Clone Source panel (Window Clone Source), make sure the Toggle Tracing Paper check box is enabled, and in the Clone Color
panel (Window Brush Controls Panels Brush Media Clone Color), disable the Clone Color option.
Now you can see a visual reference of the original photo as you paint, but you can choose the color that you paint with.
4 Draw on the canvas to outline the image by using the underlying image as reference.
By varying the pressure of the stylus, you can apply darker or lighter tones. The shading doesn’t have to be exact.
You can change the opacity of tracing paper by moving the Opacity slider in the Clone Source panel, or turn off the tracing paper
by disabling the Toggle Tracing Paper check box.
Starting from a scanned illustration
With Corel Painter, you can easily cross over to the digital world from pencil and paper. Many graphics professionals still prefer to start with a
hand-drawn illustration, scan it, and then import the scan into Corel Painter.
First, you scan a sketch done in any medium on white paper to the JPEG or TIFF file format.
To place a scanned illustration
Choose File New to create the document into which you’ll place the scanned image.
2 In the New Image dialog box, specify the document width and height by using roughly the same dimensions as your scan.
Choose File Place, browse to the scan, select it, and click Open.
An outline of the scan appears, which you can use to position the sketch.
4 Click the document when the outline is in position, or click OK in the Place dialog box.
The scanned sketch becomes a new layer.Corel Painter 2021 | 33
Artwork by Dwayne Vance
When you scan or photograph a sketch, there might be smudging picked up by color scanners or lighting imperfections in a photo. You
can quickly correct these issues by hiding the canvas and changing its composite method, which lets you determine how a layer blends with
an underlying image. For example, change the layer’s composite method to Gel to see the sketch on a transparent background. With this
method, anything that is white is made transparent.
To make the sketch background transparent
In the Layers panel, click the eye icon next to the canvas.
2 Select the sketch layer, and choose Gel from the Composite Method list box.
You can also work in Gel mode when the canvas is visible by first filling the canvas with a color other than white. This allows you to
paint on the canvas, so you can paint underneath the sketch. This method is used by many graphics professionals because it allows
them to paint large parts of the sketch quickly and then clean it up with the Eraser tool .34 | Quick Start Guide
Artwork by Dwayne Vance
You can also open a scanned file directly in Corel Painter, rather than place the scanned sketch in a new document. There is no guesswork in
trying to size your document. Keep in mind that when you open a scanned file, it’s mounted to the canvas, so lifting it off the canvas onto
its own layer offers you greater flexibility.
To open a scanned illustration
Choose File Open, browse to the scanned file, select it, and click Open.
To lift the canvas to a layer
1 In the Layers panel, right-click the canvas, and choose Lift Canvas to Watercolor Layer.
The default composite method for Watercolor layers is Gel.
2 Double-click the Watercolor layer, and type Sketch in the text box.
3 If you want to use a variant from a brush category other than Watercolor, right-click the layer, and choose Convert to Default Layer.
You can use shapes and selections to add line work over the sketch for reference. Alternatively, you can copy the line work to its own layer
and incorporate it into the painting. Another technique that design professionals use when they start with a scanned sketch is to create
shapes that mirror parts of the sketch. You can then snap a brushstroke to the shape or fill it with color.
To use shapes to recreate the sketch
1 Click any of the following tools in the toolbox to create shapes that replicate portions of the sketch:
Pen tool to create straight lines and curves in objects
Quick Curve tool to create shape paths by drawing freehand curves, which are ideal for tracing areas of the sketch
Rectangular Shape tool to create rectangles and squares
• Oval Shape tool to create circles and ovalsCorel Painter 2021 | 35
2 Click any of the following tools in the toolbox to fine-tune a shape so that it better mirrors an area of the sketch:
Shape Selection tool to select and move anchor points and adjust their control handles
Add Point tool to create a new anchor point on a shape path
Remove Point tool to remove an anchor point from a shape path
You can’t paint on a Shape layer, so when you’re satisfied with the look of a shape, select its layer, and click the New Layer button
in the Layers panel to create a layer above the shape layer.
In the toolbox, click the Brush tool .
4 Click the Brush Selector on the Brush Selector bar, and choose a brush category and variant.
On the property bar, click the Stroke Options flyout button , and click Align to Path .
Brushstrokes within the tolerance area of a path or shape are automatically aligned.
6 In the Layers panel, select the layer you added above the shape layer, and paint.
If you use closed shapes, you can convert them to selections that can be filled with the Paint Bucket tool . First, select the
shape, and then choose Shapes Convert to Selection.
Drawing and painting from scratch
When you draw or paint from scratch, you start by setting up the canvas size, resolution, and orientation. When setting the canvas size and
resolution, keep in mind that a larger image size preserves more image detail and makes it easier to maintain image quality when you need
to produce a smaller version of the image. For more information, see “Understanding resolution” and “Resizing images and the canvas.”
In this guide, we use a painting created by renowned Corel Painter Master Mike Thompson as a guide. Feel free to experiment with the tools
and settings shown to create your own digital art from scratch.
To set up your painting
Choose File New, and choose any options to set up your canvas.
2 Type a value in the Resolution box.
In the sample image, the resolution is set to 200 dpi.
3 Choose a unit of measurement from the Units list box, and set the image width and height.36 | Quick Start Guide
In the sample image, the unit of measurement used is inches. The width is set to 10 inches, and the height is set to 12 inches.
4 Click the Canvas Color selector, and choose a color from the color picker.
In the sample image, white is used.
5 Click the Paper selector, and choose a paper texture from the Papers panel.
In the sample image, Basic Paper is used.
To quickly get started, Corel Painter lets you start your document by creating a Thick Paint, Watercolor, or Liquid Ink layer, setting
canvas visibility and orientation, and choosing a color profile directly from the New Image dialog box.
The maximum canvas size is 16 382 x 16 382 pixels. To prevent performance issues, start with a canvas that is smaller than 16 382
x 16 382 because layers expand when paint and effects are applied close to their edges.
If you’re basing your painting on a photo, design, or another piece of digital art, the Reference Image panel makes it easy to keep a visual
source of inspiration within sight while you create. It’s the perfect way to capture su