Corel Painter vs Photoshop: Comparing two photo software

Both Adobe Photoshop and Cortel Painter stand as two of the best software tools for editing images.

With so many great features from both of them, it can be hard to tell which one is really the best.

Whether you’re a digital artist or a graphic designer, choosing the right image editing software is essential.

In this article, we’ll take a look at both and see which one you should be using.

Introducing Corel Painter & Photoshop

Corel Painter

corel painter

Released in 2018, Corel Painter is a relatively new piece of photo editing software.

It comes with a range of unique features, such as two different workspaces. These are for painting from scratch and for creating paintings from a photograph respectively.

Corel Painter software works with raster graphics. It’s great for creating digital artworks that feel like hand-made drawings or paintings. It has a variety of different pencils, paintbrushes, and other settings to achieve this.

From oil paintings to digital character design, Corel Painter has you covered.

Adobe Photoshop

adobe photoshop

Photoshop has been around for decades. It was released in 1990 and has been extremely popular ever since.

Like Corel Painter, Photoshop works with raster graphics. It is geared towards actual photo editing and manipulation. It has precise tools for achieving the best results.

Using Photoshop, you can do everything from touch-ups to graphic design. It’s a versatile piece of software that’s good for a wide range of uses.

Features of Corel Painter vs Photoshop

Both Corel Painter and Photoshop have a wide array of unique features that make them great at what they do. Let’s take a look at them to see which is better.


Both the latest version of Corel Painter and Photoshop have subscription fees.

They are similarly priced, with Photoshop coming in slightly more expensive. Photoshop will run you $20.99 a month, while Corel Painter is $19.99 a month.


Both Corel Painter and Photoshop run relatively well on most machines. Corel Painter can be a little more processor-intensive, though.

Photoshop, on the other hand, runs a bit better even on computers with old or slow processors.


Corel Painter has a massive range of brushes pre-installed in the application. It also has a variety of brush packs created by other users that are available for download. Corel painter groups the brushes based on type.

Corel Painter has everything from a watercolor brush tool to oil paint to pencil to chalk. With these brush tools, you can do anything from sketching to creating a full artwork.

Its brush tool is extremely well ranged and versatile. You can create any kind of artwork you like with the same texture and feel like a real-life painting or drawing.

On the flip side, Photoshop does not come with any pre-set or pre-installed brushes. There are a variety of brushes made by other artists available for download. The downside of this is that you have to find and download them yourself.

These available brushes can give Photoshop a similar versatility to Corel Painter, but it isn’t a feature of the software itself.

Straight Line Tools

Corel Painter’s straight-line tool is accurate and simple to use. Instead of having to use a separate line option for it, like with most illustration software, you can do it with any brush.

You can open the brush property bar and select the Straight Line Strokes option to easily draw straight lines with whatever brush you like.

Photoshop, on the other hand, has no single, best way to draw straight lines. There are lots of ways to achieve this, such as with the line tool or the Shift + Click method. It’s all up to personal preference, so you’ll have to experiment and find what works best for you.

Image Editing

While both Photoshop and Corel Painter come with tools that allow for editing images, Photoshop’s tools are far more extensive and varied.

Corel Painter has a few more limited cut, copy, paste, and transform tool options. This allows you to adjust portions of your image in a number of ways. You can move sections, or you can copy, paste, and flip them to achieve perfect symmetry.

Photoshop’s image editing capabilities are a lot more comprehensive. It has a variety of selection tools as well as other image editing options.

With Photoshop, you can touch up photographs, remove things entirely from images, add text, change the color of things, and much more. Its tools make it perfect for photo manipulation and image adjustments.

Selection Tools

The selection tools of Corel Painter and Photoshop match the general purposes of each program respectively.

Corel Painter supports pixel-based tools and path-based tools. Its Magic Wand tool is pixel-based; it chooses the selection pixel by pixel. Its path-based selection tools choose the selection based on the path or area you select. For example, it’s rectangular or oval tools.

Adobe Photoshop has a much larger range of clean tools that are all very simple to use. Most notably, it has a novice-friendly quick selection tool, which is perfect if you’re just starting out.

It also boasts many other tools such a the Magic Wand tool and a Lasso tool. The Lasso tool also comes in several different kinds, such as the Polygonal Lasso tool and the Freehand Lasso tool. These tools are perfect for selecting specific parts of an image to resize, rotate, or remove something entirely.


Both Corel Painter and Photoshop come with unique layering systems. Layers come in handy both for painting and for editing images. They allow you to change objects on one layer without affecting the rest of the image.

Corel Painter provides you with several different kinds of layers to choose from based on your needs. These include pixel-based layers, floating object layers, reference layers, vector shape layers, and many more.

Plus, you can add a variety of overlays to your pixel-based layers for a variety of different colors and lighting effects. For example, you can use luminosity to create bright, shining lights.

Photoshop’s layering system is very intuitive and simple to use. It works similarly to Corel Painter’s layering system but has a simple and tidy feel to it.

It works great for creating compositions of images for artworks. This is especially helpful if you want to edit parts of an image without accidentally affecting the rest of it. It also works if you want to combine multiple images to create one single composition.

Color Selection

Corel Painter has an extremely in-depth and useful color selection system. It comes with a color wheel to the right of the canvas, as well as additional tools for changing hue, shade, and saturation.

With it, you can create any color you want right down to the exact shade. Need multiple skin tones for different people on your artwork? No problem. Want to make that one leaf ever so slightly different from the other? Corel Painter has you covered.

Corel Painter also boasts a super-accurate color picking tool. This allows you to pick a color that you’ve already painted from anywhere on your image and use it again. It’s is very useful for those times that you forget to save a specific color you’ve chosen.

Photoshop’s color selection, on the other hand, is a little outdated in comparison.

It has a panel to show the color values of the foreground and background colors, as well as a color spectrum to choose your colors from. It’s less in-depth than Corel Painter’s color, so you might have a harder time getting the exact color you want.

File Formats

Both Corel Painter and Photoshop can export images into a number of file types, such as jpeg and png files. But, they each have a default file format when creating images.

Corel Painter works with RIFF (Resource Interchange File Format) files, which is a file format used for multimedia files such as images or videos. It saves any layering created so you can pick up right where you left off whenever you save it.

The downside to RIFF files is that not many other image-editing or image-creating software use them. You can open them in Corel Painter and Photoshop, but not much else. This means that you’re pretty much limited to using only Corel Painter and can’t branch out beyond that.

Rather than RIFF files, Photoshop uses Photoshop Documents (PSD files). They work similarly to RIFF files in that they save layering.

The advantage to PSD files is that a lot of other image editing and creation software, such as Paint Tool SAI and Procreate, support them. You can even open them in Corel Painter. This makes PSD files extra versatile.

If you’d like to use another application on the same file, you can hop on over without converting the file.


One of Corel Painter’s niftiest features is its auto-painting options. With it, you can make almost any image look like a painting with just a few clicks.

It has an Auto Painting Pallet and a Smart Auto Painting option, which allow you to add natural-looking brush strokes to any image. This makes it easier than ever to get that real, painting feel from your images and artworks.

Unfortunately, Photoshop has no such features. To get the same effect from Photoshop you’ll need to make use of filters, blur effects, and some of its other tools.

This eliminates some of the convenience of Corel Painter’s tools, though. So if you’re wanting an easy way to give your image the look and feel of a painting, then Corel Painter has the better tool.

Perspective Grid

Corel Painter comes with a pre-installed adjustable perspective grid. With this grid, you’re able to adjust both the actual gridlines and the horizon line depending on your needs and preference.

Corel Painter’s perspective grid tool is simple and doesn’t require much practice. You can use it as simple guidelines for your drawings, or you can even use it to paint 3D images, such as realistic portraits or detailed landscape art.

This is another feature that Photoshop is missing. You can make a perspective grid with the vanishing point filter. Unfortunately, though, there is no preset easy-to-use tool for this. This makes 3D paintings more difficult with Photoshop.

Overall Experience

Corel Painter’s overall experience feels more like creating an artwork. Especially with a graphics tablet, you’re really left with the impression that you’re painting or drawing something.

Photoshop, on the other hand, has features that are more precise and easier to learn. It has some more beginner-friendly options and feels like a more streamlined experience. It feels more like software designed for editing images rather than painting.


Corel Painter is, at its core, software designed for digital painting and art. All of its features add up to a really solid piece of software capable of producing incredible results.

All of this added to its seamless painting experience make it one of the best options available for creating digital art.

Photoshop, on the other hand, was created with editing and manipulating images in mind. It has a really neat and seamless interface and accurate and easy-to-use tools. These tools make for easy photo manipulation so you can achieve the best results.

So, which one is better?

We think that both are fantastic, depending on what you’re wanting to achieve with the software.

Corel Painter is better for digital painting and traditional art, but Photoshop is far better for editing images.

What do you think? Do you have a personal preference, or do you like both? Let us know in the comments.


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