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May 6, 2015

Corel Painter 2015 on Surface Pro 3 – A perspective from Skip Allen

Undoubtedly there are a lot of options, today, for digital artists looking for creative apps. One of the programs I have been using this past week is Corel Painter 2015.  The newest version hasn’t been out too long, but Painter definitely is one of the more established programs available.  It has quite a bit of history and community behind it – so I was curious to check out the latest version from the team at Corel on my Surface.  I alluded to this last week, but there are very few apps that do an exceptional job at emulating paint and brush behavior in the digital format.  Painter 2015 is probably one of the best at this.

In order to get the perspective from a true expert, however, we turned to Skip Allen.  Skip lives in Winston, Georgia and studied Fine Arts in Crafts with an Emphasis in Pottery at the Memphis College of Art. He was a studio potter for almost three decades is an award-winning artist, published in Ceramics Monthly and The Crafts Reports, and has been included in articles from House Beautiful, Mississippi Magazine and Studio Potter.

Turns out Skip bought a Surface Pro 3 for his partner, but at first didn’t think to try it for digital art.  Eventually he gave it a try and I am excited to share some thoughts & tips from Skip with you today:

“Microsoft Surface Pro 3 and Corel Painter 2015 are a magic combination.  I bought the SP3 for my partner and never thought I would use it, but decided to give it a try.  Guess what, I fell in love with the Surface Pro 3, especially when using it with Corel Painter 2015.”

Skip uses a Surface Pro 3 with 256GB of storage and 8GB of memory:

“I was glad to see that speed wasn’t an issue.  The Surface Pen is calibratable using Corel Painter’s Brush Tracking or Brush Calibration features.  Painter 2015 can be set to accept Real Time Stylus (RTS) devices, which the SP3 uses.  To configure my Surface Pen, I went to Painter’s Preferences -> Tablet and selected RTS-compatible devices and enable multi-touch and Windows Multi-Touch.

Skip's Brush Tracking for Surface and Painter
Skip’s Brush Tracking for Surface and Painter
Corel Painter 2015 Tablet Options
Corel Painter 2015 Tablet Options

Skip, like many other digital artists I speak with is frequently on the move and switches between working in his home studio and on-the-go:

“I was sure I was going to miss my large screens.  I am using two 30” monitors and one 24” with my desktop. It is actually impossible to compare my large monitors with the Surface.  Why? Because I can’t take my desktop and big screens outside and sketch.  What I can do with the SP3 when painting en plein is simply not possible with my desktop computer and monitors.  That and Corel Painter 2015 has an ingenious new feature: Arrange Palettes, which helps when working on a smaller screen.

There are five new arranged palettes that are standard with Corel Painter 2015.  The Simple Arrangement uses the new Simple Toolbox and Command Bar.  Several frequently used commands are easily accessible and do not need to use keyboard shortcuts.  I have gotten so used to using the simple arrangement and the simple toolbox and command bar, that I now use them on my desktop computer, too.  My work flow has definitely changed because of using the Surface.”

What is Skip’s verdict?

“For my money, the combination of Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 and Corel Painter 2015 is a magic combination.”

Until next time!


Skip Allen Orchid