Artists of every stripe—fine art, comic art, photo art—rely on Corel Painter to create original works, as its natural media methodology uses tech to mimic paint on canvas.

As with many mature products, it’s hard to fathom improvements in historical software that’s already so deep and complete. But each year Corel tries, and with Painter 2018 ($429, available on Amazon; $229 upgrade, available on Amazon; $99 Education Edition available on Amazon), it has managed to add significant enhancements and new features to the roster—Thick Paint, enhanced Cloning, and 2.5D texture brushes. Improved drip and liquid brush technologies let you paint on an empty layer and then blend with underlying brushstrokes.

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