Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Creating Art with dA Muro

dA Muro is an online painting app created by DeviantArt. It doesn’t have as much functionality as Photoshop, and it takes a bit to get used to the tools and understand how they work, but it still can be used to create high quality art. It comes with a variety of brushes and filters. Most of the time working with it is a smooth experience, but once and awhile it can lag a little.

When a project is first created in dA Muro, it has a resolution of 1063x574. The app doesn’t have the option of picking a different resolution size, but that’s good enough to work with. If that's not the size you want your work to be, you can always export it and crop it to the right size after you’re finished--just plan for that while you're creating. 

roses girl
The original size of this piece. I created it mostly using the sketch brush.
roses girl
Here it has been resized in Photoshop to fit a  8.5'' X 11'' sheet. It's not truly resized, just zoomed in.

One of my favorite features of dA Muro is the ability to import pictures as layers and to also export projects as .png so they can be worked on in other photo editing programs. If the app doesn’t have a feature that you need, just export your work, do whatever you need to do to it in another program, and then import back into dA Muro.

But if you have to export and import again, make sure you're at a place where you no longer need the layers you originally created. If the exported .png is imported into dA Muro, the layers it had will not longer be there. However, new layers can be made to adjust things. Files can only be exported as .png, but .jpegs and .pngs can be imported.

I also like the Redraw feature. Redraw is like a recording of the drawing process, so if you want sit back and watch all of the steps you took to create your art, you can. This app comes with a special plug-in for Wacom tablets, and I noticed that it does detect pen pressure.

The best thing about dA Muro is that it’s social, and that’s probably it’s biggest advantage. It’s possible to share your work in progress with everyone, and they can pretty much watch you work on your art from start to finish. Roses Girl is the first piece I’ve created with the app, and I’m happy with the results and it was amazing how I could share my progress almost every step of the way.  I think I will keep using it, alternating between that and Photoshop.

If you would like to try dA Muro, you can test it out here.

Feel free to share what you think of it!