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Adobe Unveils Painting App ‘Fresco’, And You Can Join Its Exclusive Beta List
By Mikelle Leow, 18 Jun 2019
Image courtesy of Adobe
Last October, Adobe demoed its new app designed specially for illustrators and painters. The company has since announced that the software, previously coined ‘Project Gemini’, is officially titled ‘Adobe Fresco’, and that art enthusiasts can now sign up to join its private beta list.
The moniker ‘Fresco’ is—as you might have already guessed—in reference to the Italian word for “fresh,” as well as a technique involving the creation of a layer of plaster on a wall or ceiling, before painting over the still-wet lining with a simple concoction of pigment and water. This sets forth a chemical reaction that allows the paint to bind with the plaster, and once the layer is dry, the artist has to stop adding work to it.
Scott Belsky, chief product officer and executive vice president of Adobe Creative Cloud, shares in a blog post that Adobe Fresco got its name because the company wishes to retain this fleeting aspect of creativity. “When inspiration strikes, you have to act before the plaster dries,” he says. Similarly, the app is available when you feel a pull to create something wherever you may be.
Keeping faithful to its name, Adobe Fresco mirrors organic painting techniques using plant and mineral pigments, as well as the use of watercolors, chalk, and oils on paper, plaster and canvas.
To recreate authentic art interactions, Adobe’s scientists examined the chemistry of popular pigments like cobalt and ochre, in addition to watching how watercolors get absorbed by cotton-based paper and the way thick layers of oil paint bring “dimension” to artworks. These observations spurred the creation of ‘Live Brushes’, and coupled with Adobe’s AI system ‘Sensei’, they mimic how oils and watercolors work “in an amazingly lifelike way.”
“When you paint with a watercolor ‘Live Brush’, you’ll see the color bloom into adjacent areas of the paper,” Belsky describes. “Use red and yellow next to each other and they’ll naturally blend into orange at the border. You can even recreate painting with water to dilute some colors and encourage tints to mix.”
When you pick up Adobe Fresco’s oil ‘Live Brush’, you’ll find that applying a thick coat of “pigment” on the canvas will result in the appearance of ridges and brush strokes for added dimension. Mixing the “oils” allow them to swirl around each other in a way “no digital color wheel could ever provide,” Belsky adds.
Along with the hyperrealistic digital brushes, Adobe Fresco also lets you transfer your favorite vector and Photoshop brushes to the app. Notably, it is also built with tools relevant to digital creatives like layers, masking and selection, and Photoshop and Illustrator support.
Currently, Adobe Fresco is compatible with the Apple iPad, but will eventually roll out to various stylus- and touch-based devices for free. A private beta mode is now open to a small circle of users; interested creatives can apply to test the app here.
In the meantime, watch how Adobe Fresco works in the preview below, as well as check out creations by artists who have tested this impressive app.
‘Beginning of Summer’ by Jessica Wong. Image courtesy of Adobe
‘Astronaut’ by Olivia Bromell. Image courtesy of Adobe
‘Inspired by Frida’ by Jinjin Sun. Image courtesy of Adobe
‘Stranger Things’ portrait by Daniel Presedo. Image courtesy of Adobe
‘Sunflower’ by David Every. Image courtesy of Adobe
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