Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 Posted by Jim Thacker

Check out intriguing $19 paint app Paintstorm Studio

Russia’s Paintstorm Studio Developers Team – as far as we can tell, essentially a one-person outfit – has released Paintstorm Studio: an intriguing $19 paint package with a range of really novel brush features.

A dream hybrid of paint packages?
In the demo video above, the software comes across as an unusual hybrid of Corel Painter and Manga Studio – with perhaps a dash of tools like Flame Painter thrown in.

From the former, it takes the standard conventions of a natural media paint package: a fully customisable UI with a brush library, bristle brushes, layers, colour picker and a rather nice-looking paint mixer.

From the latter, it takes the ability to paint texture and pattern elements along a stroke.

But it’s in the customisability of the brushes that Paintstorm Studio really catches the eye.

All brush parameters are fully customisable by means of ‘graphs’ (not node graphs: they’re more like falloff curves), leading to some highly unusual stroke forms and effects, as shown in the video above.

You can control the way pattern and texture elements are distributed along a stroke in the same way.

On top of that, there are some intriguing features like ‘dirty mode’ (above), which enables a brush to pick up colours from the last area of the canvas it came in contact with, just like physical oil paint.

There’s also a ‘mask brush’, which applies a mask effect on top of a brush stroke, both of them varying dynamically as you paint, which looks like it generates some very complex forms.

Less off the wall, but potentially very useful, the close gaps feature automatically ignores small gaps in line art when filling it with a solid colour.

Similarly, there’s a nice-looking one-point perspective painting system which scales brush strokes and pattern elements automatically according to their proximity to the vanishing point of an image.

The software makes use of the GPU, so image and stroke scaling should be smooth; and as you might expect, it supports Wacom tablets, and imports PSD files.

A two-year labour of love
In a post on DeviantArt, team member Hangmoon describes Paintstorm Studio as an attempt to collect favourite features from a range of software that snowballed into a labour of love spanning two years of spare-time work.

Although Hangmoon admits the software “may be missing some tools and filters for image processing … [it’s] all about brush drawing … and has several unique features you won’t find anywhere else.”

The UI won’t be to everyone’s taste, and this thread on Polycount is worth reading for potential issues you may experience when trialling Paintstorm Studio – but at under $20, it’s hard not to want to take it for a spin.

Pricing and availability
Paintstorm Studio is available for Windows Vista and above, price $19. A Mac OS X version is in development. You can also trial the software for free for 15 days – although again, check out the Polycount thread first.

Read more about Paintstorm Studio on the product website