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The best just got better. If you were impressed with the effects you could create in Fractal Design Corp.'s Painter 1.2 for Windows, with its mimicking of oil brushes, pastels, pencil, pens, and half a dozen other natural-media tools, just wait until you see what Painter 2.0 can do.
New controls over lighting let you simulate turning spotlights on an image in various intensities and from various angles. Another important new tool is the "liquid effects" brushes, which can mimic the effect of drawing a palette knife through the oils on the canvas. In addition, Painter 2.0 introduces a text tool and an array of new image filters for even more control of your image.
At the same time, Fractal Design has made many of Painter's earlier tools easier to deal with, thanks in particular to the program's new previews, as well as its tear-off brushes and paper textures.
Finally, the program has been rounded out with a scanning interface and the capability to generate color separations.
The memory-handling problems we encountered with Version 1.2 have been rectified, and the program is noticeably quicker at performing many operations, although it can hardly be described as fast, even on our test machine, an EISA 66-MHz 486 equipped with 16MB of RAM, a 680MB SCSI hard drive, SuperMac's SuperMatch 24-bit video board, and a Wacom pressure tablet. But speed problems are understandable in light of the intensive data manipulations that Painter performs.
We used the scoring criteria from our August 10, 1992, product comparison of image editors (page 51).
Image editing tools: Painter has added some image editing tools and significantly improved its existing ones. As in Version 1.2, Painter can automatically apply "auto-clone" filters to an entire image to simulate special brush stroke effects, such as oil brush or pencil lines. You can also select the texture of the surface being painted and apply a tint to the image.
Painter 2.0 has added a range of filters and has made the filters easier to employ. Painter's new array of glass-distortion filters give the impression that you're looking at an object through various types of glass, including frosted glass and glass bricks.
Other new filters include equalization, posterize, sharpen, soften, motion blur, distort, marbling, and highpass (which enhances the difference in levels of brightness). And, as …