corel painter freestyle beta

Corel ends test of Painter that supports Kinect-style control

Corel has pulled a beta version of Corel Painter that gives you the chance to paint artworks by making strokes in the air using your fingers or a "brush."

Corel Painter Freestyle is based on the Leap Motion Controller device—which is like a Microsoft Kinect for your laptop or desktop—and has been available as a free beta since May 13 2013, the same day as the $150 controller shipped in the U.S.

Vague about plans

In an email, Corel said:

”The Corel Painter team would like to thank you for taking the time to take the Painter Freestyle Beta Powered by Leap Motion for a test run over the past six months. It was an exciting pilot project for us and a we learned a lot from the experience. The Painter Freestyle Beta has now expired and is no longer accessible for use on your PC or available for download on the Airspace Store. If you attempt to launch the app, it will no longer work.”

The company isn’t saying if it will continue development of the beta—which we found to be interesting but quite clearly early in its development—beyond saying that it is “currently evaluating your feedback in consideration of possible future 3D painting developments, including future products with Leap Motion.”

Painter Freestyle lets you paint with your fingers and control basic tasks such as selecting brushes, media and key commands through gestures. The beta version offers only a subset of the features of the full version of Corel Painter—with brushes including graffiti, airbrush, sargent, oil, chalk, ink, or fractal. Artists can work with multiple paper textures including wood grain, pebble board or fine dots.

Gestural controls include creating multiple strokes using up to ten fingers, controlling brush and color selection and brush resizing with motion gestures. Artists can also use nonreflective objects such as chopsticks to mimic brushes for finer control.

Technology may appear elsewhere

From comments by Corel staff, it appears Painter Freestyle is more of a tech demo than a usable product for creating artworks, but the company plans to see how it is taken up and used before developing it further.

”We’re eager to see how this new technology will evolve the digital and performance art world,” said Andy Church, senior product manager for Corel Painter. “By introducing a beta version of Painter Freestyle, we’re able to listen to hobbyists, professionals and new artists, which will help us create an optimal user experience for our full line of art software.”

Leap Motion's Controller allows you to use hand motions to control a PC or laptop user interface or some other device. The company’s technology is very open-ended and extensible, making it most useful for further customization by software makers. Leap Motion recently announced a big deal with Asus to integrate the technology—and got $30 million in new venture financing.

Corel Painter Freestyle follows other interesting recent technologies that aim to use gestures to help creativity—including systems from Canon and using Sony’s PS4 that let you view and manipulate 3D models using your hands. Corel itself added a more limited—but possibly more practical—form of gestural control to Painter with support for Wacom’s multi-touch Cintiq 24HD Touch tablet in Corel Painter 12.2.

Painter Freestyle will be shown first during the South by Southwest (SXSW) show in Austin, Texas from March 9 through 11.

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