by: Pixarra, go
to the web site
capable of running Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP
MSRP: US,$49.95 £31.47
is Pixarra Sketchbook? It is quite simply a paint and drawing
program which is aimed at the home user and enthusiast.
I was faced with a bit of a quandary when I first looked
at this product, as I felt that it was at best a first
generation paint program. Pixarra however makes no pretensions
about trying to compete with products like Corel Painter
8, Creature House Expression or any of the other professional
solutions. The nice thing about Pixarra is that it reminds
me of the early days of paint programs on many of the platforms
I've worked on - paint programs which were clearly made
by folks who wanted to have fun with their tools.
Sketchbook allows you to draw, paint and play. It would
be an ideal tool for the classroom and with its rudimentary
support for graphics tablets, is great for the amateur.
Though the application at first glance appears to be simplistic,
this appearance belies a great deal of complexity and functional
flexibility in the existing tools.
of brushes supported in this drawing program is quite extensive
and there are plenty of controls to fine tune them. Defined
brushes included are: acrylics, artists, air brush, chalk,
charcoal, crayons, markers, oil paint, oil pastels, pencils,
pens, strange, stampers and watercolors. The artist brush
attempts to emulate the style of a given period or artist.
This feature however doesn't apply the effect to an existing
image but instead attempts to lay down the paint and color
in an emulative style. It doesn't quite achieve the expected
effect but with styles such as Impressionist, Seurat and
sketch, but the results are certainly interesting.
There are a couple of notable things missing from the
program. It needs to provide support for textured papers
and surfaces. There is also a lack of support for Photoshop
style plug-ins which would further enhance the application's
feature set. Pixarra does allow the import and export of
predefined libraries of brush effects and presets, some
of which are quite cool and lend themselves to the creation
of some very interesting artistic effects and textures.
Back to basics - that's Pixarra. I visited the forum on
the developers' web site and subsequently found their responsiveness
to user inquiries to be timely and effective. The developer
is quick to react to user requests and inquiries with changes
and additions to the application. This responsiveness leads
me to expect even more from this application in the future.
Cons: No controls or settings for creation of custom brush
styles and shapes. There is no color picker or palette
(mixing or otherwise) as such. Brushes are not totally
natural and some could do with redefinition.
Pros: The relatively quick response from the developer
to new feature requests. Existing range of brushes is very
nice. Good refinement controls for all brushes.
Although it is clearly not a professional illustration
program, Pixarra does fill the niche it is aimed at quite
nicely. I recommended Pixarra for the home user with children,
and for the beginner paint and drawing enthusiast. It's
definitely a creative tool.
Letters to the Editor are welcome and occasionally abused in public. Send e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org