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Brushes iPad Edition is the large-screen version of the iPhone app Brushes, a painting app that's sophisticated enough to have created cover art for The New Yorker.
The 11 brush effects have adjustable size, spacing, and opacity, and you can paint on up to 6 layers, then reorder them, merge them, and adjust their transparency. The color picker, eyedropper tool, and swatch-saving features make it easy to get your colors just right. And you can undo and redo all day long.
We used both our fingers and an iPhone stylus to draw in Brushes. The buttons in the toolbar, left to right, are the color picker, the eyedropper, a paint bucket for filling in the background color, the brush, the brush type selector, the eraser, undo, redo, and layers.
The in-app replay lets you watch your paintings come to life, re-creating your brush strokes in the same order you drew them. You can email your creations right from the iPad, or use the free Brushes Viewer app for Mac OS X (brushesapp.com/viewer/) to replay your paintings, export that playback as a QuickTime file, and export your paintings at resolutions up to 1920x2880.
As jaw-droppingly cool as Brushes is, it's not super intuitive -- we had to download the user guide from brushesapp.com to really learn what we were doing -- but the flexibility is impressive, and the results you can achieve with some patience and an artistic eye are stunning. Check out the Flickr group (flickr.com/groups/brushes) to see what we mean.
The 11 brush types are highly customizable, with sliders for spacing, size, and opacity. Paint on!
Free drawing apps for the iPad like Doodle Buddy and Draw For iPad are okay for quick sketches, but Brushes can take your finger-painting to the next level.