Painter is the name of a bitmap graphics software package used to create natural-looking artistic images using a computer. Originally available on the Macintosh, it is now also available for Windows. Using a graphics tablet, the user is able to create remarkably realistic images freehand, with the package simulating a wide range of classical effects such as watercolor and oil paints, as well as a wide range of unique effects and filters. Resulting imagery can be printed on any printable media including paper or canvas.
Painter was originally developed for the Macintosh system by Mark Zimmer and John Derry, founders of the Fractal Design Corporation. Fractal Design later merged with RayDream, then with MetaTools to become MetaCreations. Metacreations sold off all their creative interests and ultimately became ViewPoint; makers of the ViewPoint Media Player frequently packaged and silently installed within adware packages (it plays the videos at the top of your AIM buddy list). Painter was temporarily rebranded Procreate Painter during its transition into the Corel Suite of applications, and is now wholly owned and marketed by the Corel Corporation.
As of 2006 Painter is currently at version Painter IX.5.
It is highly recommended to use a Wacom Intuos or Cintiq tablet to make use of the full power of this program. Also check out the Painter WOW! series of books if you'd like to learn technique, and search the web for well-known painter gurus and creators Mark Zimmer and John Derry to find out more about Painter's history.
Painter once came packaged inside an actual paint can.
Painter's vector-based twin was called Expression, which after the breakup of Fractal Design Corporation was bounced around company to company in much the same way, eventually finding itself in the hands of Microsoft under the code name Acrylic. Microsoft Expression beta is currently (2006) available on Microsoft's website as a free download.