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The 10 best plugins for Corel Painter

We bring together 10 of the best Painter-friendly plugins to enrich your creative process and help you to create amazing artwork.

With Painter X3 still being fresh on the market, the search for plugins to complement its core functions and latest innovations rests on looking at some of the popular tools that Painter users already find useful.

We're confident that with brand new features like Jitter brushes and perspective tools, along with improvements to organisation and work flow, plugin support for Painter X3 will expand dramatically beyond the launch period. For now at least, here are 10 of our favourite Painter-friendly plugins that will be well worth checking out.

As with all plugins, it's always wise to test out a demo to ensure your set up is fully compatible, especially when 32- and 64-bit variants are available.

01. Nik Collection

The collection offers all six Nik Software plugins in one suite for a relatively small price
  • Publisher: Google
  • Price: $149 (free trial available)

Earlier this year, the entire collection of Nik Software plugins was made available to purchase as one single suite rather than forking out a small fortune for individual tools.

Don't be put off by the price tag- you're certainly getting more than your money's worth here. Painter users should definitely check out Viveza for its ability to adjust colour tones without the need for masks, while Color Efex Pro offers an impressive range of customisable filters for colour effects and enhancements.

02. Filter Forge

A fully customisable experience with the added benefits of an active user community
  • Publisher: Filter Forge Inc.
  • Price: From $59 (free trial available)

If your filters aren't quite achieving the kind of effect you're looking for, the option to create one to suit your needs may be a better option. That's exactly what you get with Filter Forge - all of the tools you need to achieve your desired filter effect and function.

Key features include a node-based editing system, high resolution render support and smooth tiling for rounded surfaces. Filters can be shared amongst users too, with an ever-increasing gallery packed with custom creations for the picking.

03. Eye Candy

Eye Candy helps achieve realistic textures that would be tricky to recreate from scratch
  • Publisher: Alien Skin
  • Price: $249 (free trial available)

So you've plotted out that jungle scene, laid out your block colours and begun rendering happily away until you get to your animals- how on earth are you going to get those skin textures looking realistic?

Eye Candy helps create texture effects that would be hard to create in conventional design software, such as fur, smoke and fire. Final results can be refined and tweaked further by customisation, so don't be fooled by initial preview results.

04. Glitterato

Glitterato can be extremely useful with creating dispersed light effects
  • Publisher: Flaming Pear
  • Price: $20 (free trial available)

Although its primary purpose is to create glittery nebula effects fit for any sci-fi piece, many digital artists use Glitterato to create dispersed light effects to add extra texture and atmospheric detail, such as dust flecks or surface freckles.

The tool can be valuable when used to construct a concentrated light source such as a spotlight or sunrise, as your desired lighting effect can be customised to match your purpose. So whether it's stars you're after or microscopic debris, Glitterato is well worth a look.

05. Akvis SmartMask

Using clever masks could work nicely with Painter's dynamic digital paint
  • Publisher: Akvis
  • Price: $90 (free trial available)

One of the best features about Painter X3 is its enhanced recreation of traditional mediums and the way that digital paint interacts with what else is around it.

With room for so much experimentation, the need for additional masking support may be of interest to those looking to create paint effects of varying consistency. SmartMask can make even the most stubborn selection paths a simple action, leaving you to apply your paints in whatever consistency you feel like.

06. Topaz Simplify

If you're keen to create digital art from photos, Simplify could be useful
  • Publisher: Topaz Labs
  • Price: $39.99 (free trial available)

Painting directly from reference sources can be a bit of a contested area amongst digital artists, but for many (especially newcomers), painting over photos can be a useful step in learning the ropes of the digital painting process.

Although the purpose of Topaz Simplify is to create artwork directly from photos, the ability to create outlines from a reference source may be of use to those looking to add a painterly feel to artwork based on still life.

07. Texture Anarchy

Combining Texture Anarchy with Painter's rich paint dynamics could be a great partnership
  • Publisher: Digital Anarchy
  • Price: $129 (free trial available)

One of Painter's finest qualities is the ability to digitally reproduce the organic textures created with paint, especially when experimenting with oils or acrylics. When combined with a tool like Texture Anarchy, the potential for images packed with depth is amplified even further.

Texture Anarchy enables users to generate rich textures that can be seamlessly integrated into artwork, with additional scope for lighting, colour gradients and even layer configurations to further influence the quality of your textures.

08. Fractalius

It may be niche, but the plugin could hold potential for further visual effects when edited
  • Publisher: RedField
  • Price: $39.90

Many Painter users find the sketchy results created in Fractalius as a useful addition to their creative process, thanks to the additional imagery generated by reading the fractal patterns within the source image. When paired against a detailed sketch, the results could present an interesting additional element to line work or object definition, especially with further editing.

Along with sketch effects, fractal imagery can also take the form of glowing light paths, which can create some pretty fun results when paired up with distinctive textures.

09. Wire Worm

Wire Worm makes the process of taking out unwanted wires from your photos much simpler
  • Publisher: MV's Plugins
  • Price: Free

If you're working from reference photos or using them within a mixed-media piece, wires and other unwanted objects can be pretty fiddly to take out without disrupting the rest of the image.

With Wire Worm, the process becomes a whole lot simpler, with a targeting system designed to detect all things long and pointy. The tool also matches up colours so that you're not left with patches or bleeding colours, which can be fine-tuned further after you've removed your unwanted objects.  

10. Copic Color Set for Painter 12

Use this Copic-inspired swatch library to add an authentic look to your work
  • Publisher: Kayleefuzzyhat
  • Price: Free

One of the many benefits of online art communities like deviantART is that every now and then, generous individuals create plugins that can really make a difference to artists with similar needs. 

Member Kayleefuzzyhat created this really useful swatch library that replicates the qualities and hues achieved with Copic marker pens, which are extremely popular with manga artists. Although created for Painter 12, the plugin should work smoothly with X3 - definitely check it out if you want to get that authentic manga look.

Words: Nicola Henderson

Now read this! Painter X3: Perspective Tools

Over on our sister site, ImagineFX, Peter Stapleton gives a quick rundown on the new Perspective Guides tool in Corel Painter X3. It's a must-read for all digital art enthusiasts!

 

Have we missed your favourite Corel plugin off our list? Let us know in the comments below!

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