SmoothDraw 3
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Feature: SmoothDraw is a paint program - with the emphasis on Paint
Idea:Like ArtRage, is primarily a paint program

Have you ever wondered what would have happened to Microsoft Paint if the Redmondites had ever bothered to improve that program over the past 20 years. Well SmoothDraw is a good example of what could have been done. Like ArtRage, this program concentrates on brushes and the users ability to paint. SmmothDraw is also very intuitive and easy to use

As as implied from the screen shot above, SmoothDraw is easy to use and has a wide array of brushes:
Pen - edge of pen stroke tapers slightly
Leaky Pen - leaves randomly generate blots of color along the line you trace
Digital Pencil and 2B Pencil - tighter stroke than pen but acts more with underlying paper
Dry Media - cross between chalk and felt pen stroke
Digital Airbrush - stroke with very soft edges
Fine Spray Airbrush - tight chalk-like edges
Graffiti - is like Fine Spray Airbrush but solid central core color
Bristle Brush - fine rounded bristle strokes
In addition to these basic brushes, SmoothDraw has a number of Dab brushes like Star, Grass, ImageHose, Light Hatch and Dark Hatch brushes that work with user selectable images. In the case of star the Dab image are colorized with the and then random jitter sprayed along the stroke on the canvas. Grass changes the scale as it jitter sprays a colorized Dab image. Image Hose does not colorize the Dab Image but just jitter sprays it on the image according to the user selected size.

In short, SmoothDraw provides a some novel ways of working with existing images on your canvas. And for the ambitious, you can certainly can create some novel "brushes" with your unique images and then load those in over the SmoothDraw selections (just double click the Dab image).

SmoothDraw also provides additional control over the various color layers that you can add to an image. There is a choice of four blend modes - normal (standard blend), screen (color more against dark background), multiply (darkens any existing underlying color) and overlay( brightens the underlying color). It also is easy to move a layer up and down or simply delete.

SmoothDraw does not have the the Stencils or Tracing Paper of ArtRage nor the panache of some of the ArtRage brushes. But SmoothDraw provides many more basic color correction, sharpness, and effect options. Also SmoothDraw can approximate Tracing Paper by importing an image to a layer and then adding another layer over that and color on top. When finished, users can either delete the imported image layer - or leave it there.

Summary


The screenshot above shows some of the simple doodling possibilities with SmoothDraw.Its very fast and adjusting setting and properties of brushes is straight forward. I found myself constantly trying new things with SmoothDraw - especially the opportunity to control the Dab Image and how it was sprayed onto the screen (there are 7 image jitter control under the Advanced dialog). Finally, SmoothDraw allow more finishing touches like smudge, dodge, burn, blur and add-water that this old photo-finishers just can't do without. At $45, SmoothDraw is a real find. The trial version is free with only the Save command turned off.




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