openCanvas3 & 3
Georgiou, March 2004, send
Products Corp., go
to the web site
MHz Pentium or better (500 MHz Pentium2, AMD K7 or better
recommended), 32MB RAM, Windows 98, Me, NT 4.0, 2000,
XP or XP Pro, video card at 800x600 or higher
(openCanvas3) , ¥7,800/US$75.00 (openCanvas3 Plus)
after reviewing Dogwaffle in February 2004 I received an
e-mail from my editor asking me to look at another digital
paint application. I had no idea what to expect, and openCanvas3
Plus had some way to go to impress me after Dogwaffle,
but impress it did. openCanvas3 Plus is another really
nice drawing tool which takes some of its functional cues
from drawing applications like Painter and Dogwaffle. Its
interface is much more like Paint Shop Pro than Painter
however, and in this it appears a little more irksome.
However that being said I thoroughly enjoyed playing with
this program and watching the events recorded by other
artists. Yes that's right - openCanvas3 supports playback
of all the steps an artist has taken to create a project.
Plus is quite powerful and supports features such as layers
and layer masks, several types of pens and brushes, gradients,
filters, magic wand and selection tools. The support for
drawing tablets is a true boon to the artist, however the
help file indicates that only Wacom tablets are supported
at the moment. The drawing tools produce very clean, smooth
lines and brush effects. There is even an opaque watercolor
brush which nicely reflects background tonal densities.
version adds the following features: Tones (ziptone style
patterns), extended zoom capabilities, anti-alias display
and PSD file format support. openCanvas3 Plus follows many
of the same user interface and tool conventions found in
other paint programs such as Photoshop and Paint Shop Pro.
As a result it has a fairly short learning curve for anyone
familiar with those conventions.
The support for Photoshop-style layers (22 layers) is
very nice and this support extends through to the PSD file
format, allowing you to edit and make changes to native
Photoshop files. The implementation of filters is very
nice too but here compatibility with Photoshop ends because
openCanvas3 Plus only supports its own internal filters
with no support for Photoshop format plug-ins. The addition
of greater Photoshop feature compatibility and more photo
style editing tools and capabilities can only enhance this
great program's already nice feature set.
event playback feature is one of my favorite parts of
this great little
program, acting as an excellent tutor
which allows you to see how other artists create their
works. I spent hours watching the events from several of
the artists in the openCanvas online community. I was a
little disappointed by the predominantly Japanese animé style
of most of the art, but given that the program originates
from Japan it's understandable.
of the program's dialog function labels and help files
need to be correctly translated but System
Products Corp have by & large done a good job of localization.
The help file is fairly extensive and any moderately experienced
user of other imaging programs should have no problem using
the more common features in openCanvas3 Plus. The help
files covering paint and drawing tools could be enhanced
by the addition of some tutorial videos to explain the
various key features.
Cons: Web site needs a little expansion in its support
features. No support for Adobe style plug-ins. No clone
Pros: PSD support in Plus version, tablet support, event
playback, support community with image library and associated
Earlier in this review I mentioned Painter and its better
interface. Having revisited the subject further I found
that even though openCanvas 3 Plus is different from Painter,
many people who use both programs have openly stated their
preference for openCanvas's simplicity and I can't fault
them. openCanvas 3 Plus is a pleasure to use and with its
support for graphics tablets, layers and Photoshop PSD
files it is a wonderful tool for the budding or professional
artist. Its event recording and playback feature acts as
a great demonstration tool allowing you to see how others
create their works. I highly recommend openCanvas3 Plus
- it is worth every penny.
Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org