Draw and Paint with Brushes iPhone App - dummies

Draw and Paint with Brushes iPhone App

By Bob LeVitus

Brushes is a drawing and painting app designed exclusively for the iPhone. With a simple, elegant user interface, Brushes offers a powerful toolset for creative expression. If you’re artistically inclined (and you’re willing to plop down $4.99), there’s no limit to the things you can create with Brushes.

Thoughtful touches abound in Brushes. Tap once anywhere on the screen to show or hide the toolbar. Zoom in as much as 1,600% or out to 70% with the iPhone pinch and unpinch gestures. Pick a color with a single press of your fingertip.

The app is called Brushes, so the obvious place to start exploring is with the brush styles. The app has three types — smooth, fine bristle, and rough bristle — which are available in any size from 1 to 64 pixels and offer complete control over the opacity of your strokes.

To change the hue and saturation of the color you want to use for painting, drag the knob (a little white circle) around on the color wheel. Below the color wheel are two sliders. The top slider determines the brightness of the selected color and the bottom slider determines the color’s opacity.

Many desktop graphics programs have an eyedropper tool to “pick up” any color in your image and paint with it. There’s an eyedropper in the Brushes toolbar, too, but the shortcut of pressing your finger in one spot for half a second causes the eyedropper tool to pop up directly under your fingertip.

Another cool feature of Brushes is its support for up to four layers. Each layer can be painted independently without affecting the layers above or below. You drag and drop to change the stacking order of the layers, which is both elegant and intuitive. You have full control over layer opacity, so you can use a semitransparent layer to tint all or part of the layer(s) below. And you can merge any of the layers with any other(s) at anytime.

Don’t worry if you make a mistake — Brushes has at least ten levels of undo and redo, so you can undo or redo your last ten (or more) actions.

When you’re finished with your masterpiece, you can save it in the Brushes gallery so you can easily work on it some more or show it to your friends with the Brushes built-in slideshow. You can export finished pictures to your iPhone’s Camera Roll or use the Brushes built-in Web server to view or download your creations over Wi-Fi with any Web browser on any computer.

If you’re a Mac OS X user, there’s a cool free Brushes Viewer that lets you view or export your paintings on your Mac. Another interesting feature is that the Brushes Viewer can display a stroke-by-stroke animated replay of the making of your painting, which you can export as a QuickTime movie. Plus, the Brushes Viewer can export paintings at up to six times their iPhone resolution (1,920 x 2,880 pixels).