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If you can use a mouse, you can draw beautifully with LiveBrush. It is a freeware image editor that uses innovative brush styles and adds motion controls to your mouse gestures. Anyone can create beautiful website backgrounds, posters, PowerPoint presentation themes, or blog headers with this easy to use Adobe AIR app, on Windows, Mac, or Linux.

With the freeware version of LiveBrush, you can export your drawings as PNG files. With the $10 paid version, you can export vector files for professional use.

The Interface

While LiveBrush is easy to use, there are no tool-tips to help you get familiar with the interface. In order to get comfortable using LiveBrush, we must first understand the various interface controls.

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The Project Bar at the top shows the current project and brush style. It also has buttons for LiveBrush app settings, and saving the project.

The Styles Panel at the top right is the key place where you select brush styles with which to draw. You can create new styles, import and export styles, or rearrange their order.

freeware image editor

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The most interesting thing however, is that you can select multiple brush styles to draw. It is fun letting your imagination go wild experimenting with different brush styles! It is also useful to preview a style before using it, using the “eye” button.

freeware image editorThe different Tools in LiveBrush are shown in a vertical bar at the top right:

  • Brush: the main drawing tool. This is a motion-enabled “live brush” as it responds to the speed of your mouse gestures.
  • Pen: used to add “points” to previously drawn lines. These points are used as control points for transforming lines.
  • Transform: used to transform layers or line points.
  • Bucket: standard solid color fill tool.
  • Sample: color picker tool.

The Tool Settings panel displays settings for the currently selected tool. For the Brush tool, it provides access to three kinds of settings:

  • Brush Behavior: specifies brush response to mouse movements (velocity, friction) and when decorations are attached
  • Brush Line: specifies how the line looks at each point, such as width, stroke type, angle, opacity, and color
  • Brush Decoration: settings for the graphics attached to your lines in different brush styles

For the Transform tool, the Tool Settings panel gives access to transformation properties for the currently selected line points or layer.

At the bottom is the standard Layers panel to work with layers. You can duplicate, rearrange, remove, transform and flatten layers using this panel.

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Drawing and Editing

Drawing is easy! Just select a brush style and draw. Apart from some basic styles, you will find floral, ink splats, fractal, light, smoke, and ribbon styles of brushes. Experiment with different brush behaviors – velocity and friction settings. Try out different Line and Decoration settings.

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All graphics are organized in Layers. Use the Layers panel to remove, flatten, or change colors of layers. Click the Transform tool after you’ve drawn a few lines, select a layer, and see how you can move, rotate or resize layers.

Import and Export

Livebrush encourages you to share your drawings with the community. The Livebrush forum is a great place to check out art that others have created. Here is an example from the Livebrush photostream on Flickr:

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The File > Import and File > Export menus let you import and export different parts of Livebrush projects such as the whole image, individual layers, brush styles, or a Deco list. New brush styles (Typography, Geometry, etc) and decorations are regularly added to the community, so make sure you check them out to import and use them in your drawings.

Did you like using Livebrush? Share your creations (and experiments) with us in the comments!

  1. Michael Harding
    November 6, 2009 at 1:49 am

    Looked good, went to download same only to find that the program was going to be downloaded *and* installed, thus bypassing all my control measures developed over 18 years. Very annoying and a pity but reality prevails.

    • Mahendra Palsule
      November 6, 2009 at 3:02 am

      @Michael: Check if you have Adobe AIR installed. On Windows, if you have AIR installed already, it will give you an option to save the application before installing it.

  2. Greg
    November 5, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Very cool!! I've been using an online editor called pixlr for doing some graphics work, but I might be switching.

  3. ILoveFreeSoftware
    November 5, 2009 at 12:22 am

    This is a really feature rich software. I am surprised it is free!

  4. Amit Banerjee
    November 4, 2009 at 6:21 pm

    Wow ! Looks stunning ! One more must download adobe air application. Now i can create some wallpapers on my own and say good bye to MS-paint.

  5. David
    November 4, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    Wow- thanks for the comprehensive review! I'll just note a couple of things. The latest update (1.1) includes tool tips for all the panel buttons. You can see the full update notes here: http://creativeoverflow.net/new-features-in-livebrush-1-1/ And you can check out some new videos here: http://vimeo.com/7409713 Thanks again!

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