Have Computer, Will Paint

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The Gadget Geezer by Les Goldberg

More and more seniors are discovering the rewards of finding a new hobby or rediscovering a pleasurable craft from their past. As the “Boomer Bunch” population builds, so does its ability to use computers and other digital devices for a variety of tasks – including crafts.

As you will see here, there are several computer software programs available to meet the growing demand for people who love painting. Yes, digital painting is all the rage for those who want to get the most fun out of their PC. And, no, we’re not talking about “painting by the numbers”.

The latest digital painting software allows you to unleash your creativity without dealing with messy paint, lack of tools or permanent errors. The technology gives you the freedom to be innovative, experimental and unique in your artistic approach. You can choose the type of paint you wish to approximate, such as watercolor, oil, acrylic, airbrush and others. You can choose the kind of brushes you want to use, and customize them to fit the look and style of the paintings you create.

Here’s the top five-selling digital painting software programs:

Corel Painter X3

Corel Painter X3, by far the most expensive at $429.00, is a full-featured program that provides the artist with everything needed to create paintings with as much detail as desired. Brush customization, canvas rotation and layering capabilities are among the features offered. What those all mean is that you can paint anything you want and do it like a pro. Everything you need is just a click away on your keyboard or touchscreen.

PostworkShop 3

PostworkShop 3 lacks some of the features offered by its competitors, but it provides all the tools needed to create freehand drawings, import photos and conduct auto-painting to give your images a unique and customized look with colors, textures and layering. The program, which retails for about $120, also is known best for its customer service and file compatibility.

TwistedBrush Pro Studio 19 from Pixarra

TwistedBrush has more than 5,000 brushes available, along with all the features that artists love to use: layers, realistic media, photo cloning, tracing, masks, particles, filters, script recording, scripts to video, drawing tablet support, brush shapes, patterns and textures. It also offers Adobe-compatible plug-in and integrated scanner support, image brushes, drawing guides, reference image views, dirty brushes, scratch layer, dynamic palettes and more for $99.

ArtRage 4

The people who have used ArtRage rave about it simplicity. They say you can start painting without having to learn complex digital tools (although my experience has shown that the tools are not that difficult to learn). Among the cool features: The “Oil Brush” and “Paint Roller” place strokes of paint which can be blended with other colors under the brush, the “Paint Tube” lays down blobs of paint that can spread with “Palette Knife”, the “Watercolor Brush” makes it easy to work with a wet canvas, and the “Airbrush” sprays a fine mist of paint to create subtle tints without affecting the texture of your brush strokes. Price: $59.00.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro 6

Also priced at $59, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro Version 6 is designed for more advanced digital painters who work on the Apple Macintosh operating system, preferable using a pen-based input device for best results. The interface has been upgraded to appeal to users of all skill levels and it especially appealing to those who are just starting out in the digital art world. However, if you are not producing paintings for commercial sale or worrying about deadlines, this program might be too sophisticated for your liking.


Les Goldberg, APR is an award-winning, experienced journalist and public relations practitioner. His firm, Les Goldberg Public Relations, is one of Southern California’s pioneer public relations agencies specializing in high technology and consumer electronics.

Today, in addition to his agency and teaching responsibilities, Les is a columnist for senior publications, including his popular “The Gadget Geezer” column which appears in Senior Reporter, Not Born Yesterday, Life After 50, Examiner.com and OCActiveSeniors.com. As a full-time journalist, he was a staff writer for the Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Glendale News-Press, Culver City Star-News, Stars & Stripes Europe, OC Metro, OC Home & Outdoors and Digital Photographer.

Visit Les’s site at www.LesGoldberg.com.


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