Adobe’s newest drawing app mimics the way that paint flows on your screen

Adobe’s most realistic drawing and painting app yet finally has an official name: Adobe Fresco.

Formerly known as codename Project Gemini, Adobe chose the label Fresco to reflect what is so special about the app itself.

Fresco is a centuries-old painting technique often associated with Italian Renaissance art. The technique involves spreading a layer of plaster on a surface and then painting an image using pigment and water while the plaster is still wet. A chemical reaction binds the pigment to the plaster and leaves an image behind when the surface dries.

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“That last fact expresses something important about creativity. When inspiration strikes, you have to act before the plaster dries”, wrote Adobe in its announcement on Sunday. “We’re developing Adobe Fresco to empower spontaneous creativity”.

Adobe Fresco is built for the Apple iPad so it is designed to be used on the go, freeing users from the constraints that come with lugging around a laptop and graphics tablet or actual art supplies. Adobe also plan to release alternate versions of the app for other stylus and touch-based devices following its initial release, so there’s no need to go out and buy an iPad if you want to try Fresco out.

The feature that sets Adobe Fresco apart from other drawing apps is the organic and intuitive way that the paint reacts on the screen. Adobe plans to take those qualities from the Fresco style and replicate and expand upon them within its app.

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Live Brushes uses the AI of Adobe Sensei to mimic the way that oils and watercolours respond to paper and canvas in an impressingly lifelike manner. The watercolour Live Brush allows colour to bloom into other parts of the painting and there is even an option to paint with water to dilute colours and encourage them to blend. The oil brush gives a painting ridges, brush strokes and dimension. Colours mix and blend to imitate a look that only oil paints could traditionally achieve.

Your favourite Adobe Photoshop brushes can be imported and used alongside Live Brushes and Adobe Capture lets users create their own brushes and paint with them in the app too.

Fresco also includes the usual drawing app tools such as layers, masking and selection to give users full creative control and Fresco files can be opened in Adobe Photoshop and exported to PDF to be edited in Adobe Illustrator.

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The app is designed for everyone from beginners to professional artists – anyone with the right hardware will be able to download Fresco for free.

Adobe says that it is approaching the final release of the app and that Fresco is expected to hit devices later this year. However, if you can’t wait until then, you can apply to join Adobe’s pre-release testing here.

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