I recently reviewed Corel's Painter 2015 for Macworld magazine and, I must say, using the software has been the most fun I've had in ages. What a nice change from daily image-editing tasks! I literally feel more creative and energized. This version is stable, speedy, and an absolute joy to use. Using the new physics-based Particle Brushes, you can create realistic fire, hair, fur, smoke, water, fabric, and more, which is a serious challenge to do in Photoshop (and I doubt it'd ever look as good as what you can create in Painter).
If you're a digital artist, or if you want to create realistic paintings from photos, it's time to take the leap and purchase Painter 2015. If you're a photographer who wants to add special effects to your shots, this software can make it so. Since Painter sports layers and layer masking ability, you don't even have to worry about harming your original image! At the very least, download the free, 30-day trial version of Painter 2015 and then check out the myriad YouTube video tutorials. You'll have a lot of fun, and most importantly, you'll be incredibly inspired!
I'm now challenging myself to create at least one photo painting a week...using a wonderful Wacom tablet of course. Wish me luck :)