Unlike the standard Painter software, which has a rather steep price of £282 and is used by pro artists, Painter Essentials 5 is aimed at people who create digital art as a hobby, rather than as their day job.
This means it has a far more palatable price tag, along with some more user-friendly tools and helpful how-to guides.
Unsurprisingly, however, some of the more powerful art tools present in Painter aren’t on offer in Essentials 5.
One of the biggest hints that Essentials 5 is aimed at aspiring rather than pro artists lies in the Photo Art tool, which enables you to choose a digital photo and turn into what Corel claims to be a "beautiful work of art" in just three steps.
You can choose from a number of preset styles such as Oil Painting and Impressionist, and Painter Essentials will paint over the photo in the chosen style. The results vary, and if you think you'll get a piece of art with just one click of the mouse then you’ll be disappointed.
However, it's a good way to see how the tools in Painter Essentials 5 work. You can also tweak and refine the image manually, giving beginners a good platform to work from.
Another good feature for aspiring artists is that when you start a new painting, you'll be shown examples of artwork with templates and brush suggestions.
Creating digital art from scratch is easy, and like the more expensive version Essentials 5 enables you to choose the material of the canvas before you begin.
This subtly affects the brushes and drawing tools you use to create your art. Even though this feature is tailored towards those starting out in digital art, the attention to detail is impressive, with different brushes and paints reacting to the canvas material in different ways.
If you're keen to start creating digital art with a traditional feel, but want to keep your costs down for now then Painter Essentials 5 is well worth your time.
Painter Essentials box art by: Lawrence Mann
You can try it for yourself by downloading a 30-day trial version from the Corel website.
This article originally appeared in ImagineFX magazine issue 117.