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Love My Painter X3 and 2015

Updated on July 9, 2015
Abstract Butterfly Painted in Corel Painter
Abstract Butterfly Painted in Corel Painter | Source

Painter X3 took over my traditional oil painting easel and palette when it came out 2 years ago. Now I have updated to Painter 2015 and I love it even more. It has all the feature of X3 but even more and is much more user friendly.

I've always painter traditionally with oils, acrylics, watercolors and pastels, but was having increasing difficulties with some of them because of asthma and allergies. PainterX3, and now Painter 2015, enables me to do all of these media, using traditional techniques, without the breathing problems.

Starting With Corel Painter

My first experience was with Painter 11 four years ago, and I started developing some skills with it, but wasn't ready to completely give up my traditional painting. Two years later I upgraded to Painter 12 and enjoyed more freedom in creating my own brushes, or adapting brushes from the instructors at Digital Art

Painter X3

Painter X3 came out with all the the same features as Painter 12, but added some very exciting new ones that make painting and navigating the program so much easier. I've come to a point where I almost always paint in Corel Painter rather than traditionally.

If you are presently using Painter 12, you will have no problem transitioning to Painter X3. If you are using an earlier version or none at all, there is a big learning curve. The Digital Art Academy was fantastic for learning all the ins and outs of Painter and the courses are very reasonably priced.

Painter 2015

When Corel came out with 2015, I upgraded to that one. One advantage of having the previous versions, whether 12 or X3, was that they gave us a greatly discounted price for the upgrade of $99. I'm not sure if that discount is still available, but be sure to look into it if you all ready have one of the earlier version. Also, if you did get the 2015 version, be sure to look for a big discount again when a new version comes out.

New Features in X3

There are many new features, but what I want to do is show you the ones that I most appreciate and use.

They include:

* Easy access to a reference photo.

* Placing a jpeg on your mixer pad

* Creating special color set libraries

* The Brush Search feature

* An advanced brush control panel, and

* Working on layers, which isn't new but I love it.

Playing with Particle Brushes in Painter 2015
Playing with Particle Brushes in Painter 2015 | Source

New Features in Painter 2015

Painter 2015 made all of these things even easier to use and they also introduced some exciting new brushes, specifically Particle Brushes, which are just so much fun and create some beautiful effects.

I've produced a few videos and pictures to show you how I use it. You can see additional great tutorials at:

  • and
  • on YouTube on my Channel and theirs.

Wacom Cintiq

When I started with Corel Painter 11, I purchased a Wacom Intuis 4 Tablet. I used it with 11, 12 and X3. I would paint on the pressure sensitive tablet and watch the visual of the painting on my computer.

When I upgraded to 2015, I decided to get the Wacom Cintiq 13HD where you actually work right on the visual screen of the Cintiq and use your computer screen for storage of some menus. I like to have the navigator on the computer screen and enlarge it so, I can also see the progress of the painting at a distance. I bought a new tower computer to attach this to.

I have X3 and 2015 on my old laptop which I have the Intuis 4 attached to. This way I have a very portable system to work on if I'm out on location.

I have X3 and 2015 on my new computer with the Cintiq attached to it. This is where I do the major portion of my painting.

Reference Image

The first new change I find very helpful is the ability to show a reference image right next to where you are painting.

You can show a reference image by going to the "Window" menu and scrolling down to "reference image," click on it, and the blank reference image will appear on your workspace.

You add reference images by clicking the little file folder in the lower left-hand corner of the image (see the red arrow) and enter the name of an image you want to display.

Adding a jpeg File to the Mixer Pad to Create a Color Set

Here is a demo of how I took a jpeg photo and placed it on my mixer pad so I could use its colors for my painting. I also show how to make a color set from the photo and then adding addition colors you want included in the set.

Brush Search

You can search for a brush in the library you have open by clicking on the search area as seen here. If you do not see this area, go to the "Windows" drop-down menu and scroll down to the "Toolbox" section and click on "Search." A blue box with a check in it should appear. This turns on the search feature.

Brush Search in Painter X3
Brush Search in Painter X3 | Source

Advanced Brush Control Panel

At the end of the Brush Properties Bar, there is an icon of a brush and gear that will turn the Advanced Brush Control Panel on and off. When it is on, the icon is blue.

You will see a panel like the one pictured here, that tells you every detail about how the brush is made.

You will notice that there are several tabs in the different sections. For example, the first one has "size'" "spacing" and "angle." Click on any of these to see the settings for those properties. Only the properties that apply to the specific brush are shown.

You can change any of these settings as you want. Try changing one and see how it changes the brush stroke when you paint with it.

You can always return the brush to its default setting by clicking on the icon at the beginning of the property bar. It is a paintbrush with a curved arrow to the left.

Advanced Brush Control Panel X3
Advanced Brush Control Panel X3 | Source


This isn't a new feature, but it is a feature that makes Painter what it is. Having the freedom to work on layers, allows you so much opportunity to experiment and improve your painting without the fear of ruining what you have all ready done and like.

Here's a demonstration of how I used layers in one of my paintings.

Working in Layers

Custom Palette Control Panel for Painter X3
Custom Palette Control Panel for Painter X3 | Source
Custom Palette Control Panel for Painter 2015
Custom Palette Control Panel for Painter 2015 | Source

Video Tips for X3 and 2015

I've been helping a friend learn how to use Painter X3 and made a video for her after our session to help clarify some things we went over and to give her a visual reference to go back to. I refer back to our work session and refer to her as Jill, but I think you will find some of the information useful if you re just starting out in X3.

If you are using Painter 2015, most of the information is the same except for creating a custom palette.

In X3, when you add a command and click "OK," the panel closes. If you want to add another command, you have to go back to the menu bar and click "window," "custom palette" and "add command" again to re-open up the panel.

In 2015, you open the panel the same way, but now you have to choices.

If you only want to enter one new command, click "OK." If you want to enter more than one command, click"Add." The panel will stay open and you can keep adding commands until you are done. When you are finished, then you click "OK" to close the panel.

Learning Corel Painter X3

Comments Welcome

Hope I've given you some good pictures of why I love Corel Painter. I hope you will take the time to add some comments and some things you've found for yourself when using Painter 12, X3 or 2015.

If you are ready to upgrade, Painter 2015 is available. It works very much like X3 if you are familiar with that, but has some added new features and brushes that are pretty exciting.

It is even more user friendly than X3, but there still is a big learning curve if you have never used Corel Painter before. The good news is, there is so much more training available now compared to when I got my first version, Painter 11.


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    • Judy Filarecki profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Filarecki 

      4 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      I've just updated to the 2015 version and am having fun with the new features. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    • ItayaLightbourne profile image

      Itaya Lightbourne 

      4 years ago from Topeka, KS

      I haven't used it yet, but will keep this handy if/when I do! Great article. You make it all look so easy. I know personally that it takes quite a bit of skill and practice to make a digital painting look as 'believable' as the original. :)

    • Judy Filarecki profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Filarecki 

      4 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      @flycatcherrr: I've only used the free version of ArtRage many years ago and just couldn't develop a skill with it. I'm sure there have been a lot of improvements from work I seen done on it. You should give X3 a try with their free trial offer. It sure is fun.

    • flycatcherrr profile image


      4 years ago

      I keep finding all these cool demonstrations and tutorials for Painter, and so many people like yourself who enjoy using it, that I believe I may have to try it soon & see whether it will woo me away from ArtRage. ;)

    • gottaloveit2 profile image


      5 years ago

      I had no idea programs such as these even existed!

    • Bercton1 profile image


      5 years ago

      It looks interesting. I will check it out!

    • SavioC profile image


      5 years ago

      This is really nice. I guess I am to get this for my daughter for Christmas. She loves to paint & she'll love this. Thanks.

    • Judy Filarecki profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Filarecki 

      5 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      @PriyabrataSingh: I love the fact that the digital brushes work just as the real brushes do and I can create realistic, impressionistic and abstract and anything else in between in what ever medium I choose or wish to mix.

    • SheGetsCreative profile image

      Angela F 

      5 years ago from Seattle, WA

      Sounds like a great program for artists.

    • Aladdins Cave profile image

      Aladdins Cave 

      5 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      My Mum is the artist in the family. Oil, pencil, watercolor the whole lot.

      Maybe I should do lens on her. Thanks for this lens, very interesting.

      Cheers from DOWNUNDER

    • Judy Filarecki profile imageAUTHOR

      Judy Filarecki 

      5 years ago from SW Arizona and Northern New York

      @MariaMontgomery: They have Painter Lite which you may want to try out. You can also get Painter X3 on a 30 day trial and there are lots of tutorials which I listed in the Lens.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      I have been looking for a product like this (other than Photoshop pro) and I see your lens...thanks for the review. I should check Painter X3 out !

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Realistic while working with painter X3

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      5 years ago from Colorado

      I appreciate this review and encouragement to get back into my Painter software. It's time for me to use it more.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image


      5 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      I currently use PaintShop Photo ProX3 and Painter 4. I still haven't had much success with Painter 4, but would like to learn. I'm hesitant to spend more money on this software, until I understand it better. Wish me luck. Thanks for the info.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      5 years ago from Fresno CA

      Nice. I love it. I'll have to check this out. I have Autodesk Sketchbook Pro but mostly for sketching and starting a drawing before taking it to Adobe Illustrator of Photoshop.


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