If you are old enough, you have been disappointed before by great software that has been mismanaged and flung over the corporate abyss. As a user of Painter since Fractal Painter, the last 2 years of releases does not bode well for me remaining a part of the Painter customer base. I'm not a pro, but a hobbyist of photography, computers, and the modern means towards achieving my now retired bliss.
3 things: 1) last year's conundrum with the upgrade pricing. I did receive a refund from $229 to $99 then, but it sure made me think about the marketing by the product manager. 2) this year, 2016 upgrade pricing involves the identical consumer misrepresentation as last year. How can a company make the same mistake in such a short time? I made sure I paid $99 this time, but I see that many have paid more. A bad business move, for sure. 3) installed upgrade fine on laptop, but unable to install cleanly on desktop (after using tab-enter) and bugs galore. I haven't heard of something even close since the Netscape and Explorer wars of the 1990's. (Bet you that R&D didn't use an AMD machine with Radeon graphics in testing). That is just plain silly and extraordinarily amateurish by a company like Corel whose main competition is Adobe.
I have received my customer support file number and was moderately chagrined that they were additionally trying to sell me faster support services. Like paying for support will solve a carte blanche install bug, though they could sure keep me busy trying to work around what I cannot fix.
Have read the community's forums as to Painter 2016, additional bugs present and past. Bugs are inherent in software to the extent that the product developers are given the ability and resources to care and nurture their product and their customer base. Which should maybe match up with corporate goals and operations management guidelines. Which made me look up current Corel financials and their public company health.
Anyone can look this up, but it appears as if part of the product management disarray resembles recent corporate decision-making.
(from Wikipedia): Having suffered layoffs in 2003, 2008 and 2012, Corel went through another re-structuring in December 2013 by letting go the entire engineering and quality assurance team in its Taipei office. The Taipei office had been the core development centre of PaintShop Pro and VideoStudio, one of Corel's most well-known photo- and video-editing bundles. The 2013 re-structuring led to a complete handover of the product development to outsourced companies, and cut off support of pre- and post-purchase customer service.
I have never been patient with "things" that don't work. But experience has codified my once ongoing quest for personal embarrassment; I have met my limitations, and agree that I am not necessarily bug-free, either.
But for something that I care about, like Painter, I am compelled to understand the "why". Obviously the business plan is not what we think it is, because it is not normal and rational. I can only tell Corel what I think and express my concerns for our future together. And I don't plan on getting much closer to the abyss.
Yes, the double pricing is just silly, be honest with your consumers, people complained about it on the last version, and yet they just do it again. Why? What benefit do you get out of this as a company? What possible benefit do you think you get out of annoying your consumers? I couldn't use 2016, it's too bugged. And it is entirely a self-perpetuating problem. Each time they add complexity to Painter, they add new brushes, new windows, new code, and they don't fix or improve on the core program enough. The scale of this program is so large, the functionality all over the place, and no consumer base large enough to properly finance decent upgrades that actually fix things. The reason I was so annoyed they add things like audio brushes, is because that is exactly what they shouldn't do, add useless stuff, increasing the chance for bugs, making the program even more complex, more bloated, and more scary for newcomers. Just remove it from the program, stop making it bloated.
It's pretty simply what I want from Painter to justify using it.
-a robust program that doesn't crash that I can depend on
-a program that is relatively bug free, with patches that fix things
-someone who listens to the suggestions and talks to the user base, because whoever you're listening to now, is clueless, people make good suggestions here, and you just ignore them and add pointless stuff instead. Before you add things (like pointless audio brushes), ask the community what they think, so you get feedback from a large enough group of people so we don't end up with a bloated and bugged program full of useless functionality.
-a program that has a UI that is friendly and easy to use (the current UI with windows all over the place, is a complete mess),. A UI newbees understand, a UI that leans close enough to Photoshop so those users have an easy time picking it up. A nice, usable UI that is not messy but intuitive. Something closer to Photoshop Elements than the UI of a Boeing 747. You can have a powerful program and still have an easy to use UI, they're not mutually exclusive things.
-a program that isn't bloated with useless features
-tools that work and are intuitive (proper gradients, vectors, curves, text tool), make the core tools we have actually work and make them work well, tons of threads in the suggestion forum about it
-people who are happy using it and don't feel like they are being ripped off
Just to add, it's not like Corel can't do it. Look at Corel Draw. Corel Draw is streamlined, it has a good UI with intuitive tools, it has powerful functionality, it is relatively bug free, it is relatively crash free, it does not use shady pricing, it gets useful updates, I can depend on this program being stable enough and consistent enough. Why can't Painter be like that.
And we're not a demanding bunch, simply fixing some stuff and improving the core of the program would have been enough to make me happy. But instead 2016 is more bugged and has an even more cluttered UI.
Keith123 said: Rearranging the brush categories and removing variants and then charging $29 for 15 brushes is insulting. The brushes should be included. There's been little changes to the brushes, papers, or other media.
I don't really mind that there were brushes removed from the base 2016 experience, because I was becoming a little numb to the bloated number of brushes, myself. I largely just use my own custom captured dab ones anyways. Having the number pared down in 2016 actually made me want to try out what's new in earnest, I really like the dynamic particles . Except, of course, for the audio-based brushes. Those will remain untouched. I've no interest in performance painting.
Upgrade pricing aside the $29 price point for brushes kind of says a couple things to me. First, that Corel's management has latched onto the same unfortunate monetization model that is present in the video game industry. The name of the game is creating content that should go into the launch release and instead carving it up and putting it behind a small pay wall, or in this case, an absurdly large one.
Second, I always believed that I was a part of the "primary" userbase of Painter, i.e. the hardcore users that actually use the software to paint with a lot of frequency, become very invested in and familiar with the tools. I'm beginning to think I've been duped and that's not the case. I can't imagine that Corel would consistently ignore the complaints and bug reports here in the forums and instead continue to add flashy gimmicks to the package unless serving the hardcore users wasn't the priority. I'm pretty much left to assume that Corel makes more money off the casual user that want to dabble in digital painting, and be fooled into paying $29 for brushes that they could make themselves if they took the time. I really hate when I can feel in the experience of the product I'm using that it is designed to make money.
I think as users we are probably a little more laser-focused in our grievances than the dev team, and having worked in software development in the past, I understand that some problems take more than a flick of the wrist to solve on a programmers part. Whether the problems voiced here in the forums are deeply rooted or simple fixes is not the issue, it's that as users we don't hear from Corel about what they doing.
I would be a lot more forgiving as a user if I felt that the developer were to be more transparent about what they're fixing, what they're not, and why. It's a little maddening sitting in the dark, hoping that the next release will be the answer to at least a few of the bugs on my wishlist.