It was over a year ago that Corel first introduced their revolutionary, physics-inspired, particle brushes in Corel Painter 2015. And, somewhere along the way, the folks at Corel came up with an ingenius idea to introduce the power and creative look of Painter's particle brushes to users of other image editing applications. This idea became the recently released ParticleShop, a plugin for Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom, and Corel's own PaintShop Pro and PHOTO-PAINT. For this review, I am using ParticleShop via Photoshop CS6.
ParticleShop is a really unique plug-in that allows you to add dramatic effects to your images. With ParticleShop, you can easily paint incredible and realistic-looking effects like fire, smoke, hair, fur, fabric, and more. ParticleShop is affordable, too, and comes with a great starter pack of 11 unique brushes. There are 11 additional brush packs available to purchase, with each additional brush pack featuring 15 unique brushes.
ParticleShop's Welcome Screen lists brush packs on the left, with corresponding examples on the right
ParticleShop has a simple and straight-forward user interface that looks really slick. The main tools are on the left-hand side are: the paintbrush, eraser, blender, eyedropper, and color wheel. When you click the color wheel icon, the color wheel pops onto the screen and you are able to pin it anywhere you'd like to keep it open and available. There is also a check box for Glow, which basically builds up particles gradually to white.
The top bar features undo/redo arrows, along with a reset button to restore the image to the previous saved state. There are also sliders for brush size and brush opacity, which are available for every brush, along with the option to change these properties via pen pressure (if you are using a pressure-sensitive tablet).
Some brushes have further controllable properties associated with them. For example, some allow use of paper textures, some use color/hue variability, and some allow adjusting of particle count.
Each brush responds very well to pressure, tilt and rotation. You can get by using a mouse, but you'll ultimately get the most out of ParticleShop if you are using a pressure-sensitive pen tablet. ParticleShop loaded up fairly quick for me, and depending on the brush type and size, speed is really good for the most part.
The Hair brush pack I found to be my favorite and very realistic. Of the other brush packs available, I found the Light It Up, Dust and Debris, and Spaced Out to also be high on my list. It really depends, of course, on what kind of work you want to use this for. There are so many different and unique things that you can accomplish with ParticleShop, and even the 11 starter brushes will have you doing some amazing work.
Example play with several brushes from the 'Spaced Out' Brush Pack and a couple others.
As a plug-in, I really like ParticleShop. It's unique, affordable, and really fun. The effects you can add to your work in just a few brush strokes is amazing. The 11 starter brushes that come with it are great, but you'll most likely be looking to add in some other brush packs to really get the most out of ParticleShop.
ParticleShop is available for Mac and PC for the following host applications:
Adobe Photoshop CS5, CS6, or CC
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom® CS5, CS6, or CC
Adobe Photoshop Elements 13
Corel® PHOTO-PAINT™ X7
Corel® PaintShop® Pro X7+
Pricing and Availability
- ParticleShop $49.99 (USD)
- Additional Brush Packs $29.99 each