Fractal Painter 5 adds brushes, effects, Web nous

Fractal Design today launched a new version of its flagship Painter paint and edit program as it gets ready for a new life with partner MetaTools.

With the MetaTools merger about to become official next month on top of last May's acquisition of 3D specialist Ray Dream, Fractal is becoming a powerful force in graphics tools but is keeping its eye on its crown jewels with a thorough upgrade and slashed price tag.

Painter 5 (£299, £79 upgrade) includes over 100 new plug-in brushes, new effects and Kodak's CMYK Colour Management System is integrated to ease quality output. Also new are Dynamic Floaters, plug-ins which perform processing effects including liquid metal (applying blobs of a substance that looks like mercury), burning and paper tearing. Fractal anticipates third-parties will follow up with their own plug-ins.

Other new features include a cleaner user interface, tear-off tools, Bevel World module for adding depth and dimension to objects, and support for GIF animations.

The Power Macintosh version of Painter 5 will be available in June with Windows to following in July. UK distribution is thgrough Principal.