Soft­ware

Mi­cro-man­ager A dream for artists who want to cus­tomise brushes, but are there too many op­tions?

ImagineFX: Sci-fi & Fantasy Art magazine - - Contents -

Price £19 Com­pany Paintstorm Stu­dio Web www.paintstormstudio.com

Paintstorm’s key sell­ing point is the huge amount of con­trol it gives you over its brushes. There are so many, that upon launch­ing the pro­gram for the first time your screen will be over­whelmed with pan­els of op­tions, ob­scur­ing the ma­jor­ity of your can­vas! For­tu­nately the pan­els are cus­tomis­able, so you can scale down the in­ter­face and make them less opaque, and more tol­er­a­ble.

Once you’ve got the UI un­der con­trol, you’ll find the sur­feit of cus­tomis­able op­tions avail­able to you in Paintstorm is a bless­ing and a curse. It’s an un­usual ex­pe­ri­ence to have to or­gan­ise a workspace in a paint­ing pro­gram be­fore you can start paint­ing. It also feels odd that de­spite the ap­pear­ance of the tabs, you can’t nest them be­hind each other as you would in Photoshop. The lack of in­tu­itive con­trols is prob­lem­atic when you’re of­fered as many op­tions as you are here. The ab­sence of tool tips is an­other small frus­tra­tion.

On the other side of the coin, the ways you can cus­tomise your brushes is stag­ger­ing. Paintstorm gives you con­sid­er­ably more op­tions to al­ter your brush be­hav­iours than Photoshop, and of­ten a cat­e­gory will have nu­mer­ous sub­cat­e­gories within it, which you can also edit, giv­ing you com­plete con­trol over the brush en­gine. With this in mind, we strongly rec­om­mend that you view the tu­to­ri­als from within the pro­gram, so that you can make the most of the plethora of tools avail­able.

If you’re the kind of artist who loves tin­ker­ing with cus­tom brushes to see what fun re­sults you can achieve, then Paintstorm is def­i­nitely worth try­ing out. How­ever, if you pre­fer open­ing a pro­gram and just start paint­ing, this one prob­a­bly isn’t for you.

You can al­ter the look, opac­ity and scale of the UI so

that it doesn’t ob­scure your view while paint­ing.

This screen­shot doesn’t scratch the sur­face of the num­ber of cus­tomis­able op­tions at your dis­posal.

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