If you like playing around with brushes, lines and doodles I think you’ll really enjoy using Livebrush. It’s a drawing app that lets you create some very interesting graphics simply by drawing a few lines. Livebrush is an AIR application available either for free as Livebrush Lite or for a very recession-friendly price of $10 for the full version.
The app works by letting you choose from a fairly large selection of brush styles. With each brush style you can set preferences which dictate how the brush will behave. When you start drawing you’ll find that how you move your mouse (or ideally a pen and graphics tablet) greatly affects how the line appears. Drawing slowly produces thin lines, but start to make sweeping gestures with the mouse and you’ll find the lines are bolder, thicker and in some cases have patterns.
You can draw with more than one brush style at a time and also with more than one color at a time. If you hit upon a style you like by experimentation you can save it as a brush style and if you create a doodle or line that you like, you can save it as a reusable graphic called a decoration. You can share the decoration with the Livebrush community, export it as an image or attach it to other lines that you draw.
To get the best out of this program would definitely take a bit of time and effort. The user interface is not unlike other graphics programs in that it consists of a drawing area and has a number of palettes, including Layers and a small toolbar, but there are a huge amount of settings available for each brush type and the best way to figure out how they work is trial and error. You can draw with pixels or with vectors and I found it very easy to manipulate the vector shapes and anchor points after they had been drawn.
As well as starting an image from scratch, you can import in your own photographs and drawings and paint on top of them. The main difference between the free and paid version is the paid version of Livebrush has the following features:
- Vector Export
- Canvas Sizes
- Over 100 Styles & Decorations
Here’s a video of the brushes in action.
I think this is a terrific tool for designers and is really a lot of fun to play with.
Have you used Livebrush before? What did you think of it?