Adobe Fresco will make iPad painting more realistic than ever

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example of painting in Adobe Fresco
An artist's self-portrait made in Adobe Fresco.
Illustration: Jin Jin Sun

Spontaneous creativity is built into the centuries-old painting style known as fresco.

It is also the fitting name of Adobe’s developing drawing and painting program for iPad Pro and Apple Pencil artists who must quickly begin to create when inspiration strikes.

Adobe Fresco, a fraction of its power previewed by Adobe last year under the name Project Gemini, is on target for release this fall, according to a post on the Adobe blog.

Adobe opened a beta testing program last fall and says it now wants to add more interested artists as it continues fine-tuning features before release (apply here).

Adobe Fresco seeks to “replicate those organic interactions” that takes place with chalk, oils and watercolors as they are applied to paper, canvas or plaster. Fresco users will have Live Brushes with AI powers replicating those interactions.

“When you paint with a watercolor Live Brush, you’ll see the color bloom into adjacent areas of the paper. Use red and yellow next to each other and they’ll naturally blend into orange at the border,” Adobe’s Scott Belsky wrote. “With an oil Live Brush, you can slather on a thick coat of paint and see the ridges and brush strokes that give the painting dimension. And you can mix different oil colors together to create a varied swirl of color that no digital color wheel could ever provide.”

Fresco will also let users apply Photoshop brushes, create their own brushes or get access to some third-party digital brush makers. Users can also convert art into a PDF and make adjustments in Adobe Illustrator.

The video below offers a glimpse of works done in pre-release testing. In one demonstration of the watercolor Live Brush, the color appears to bleed from added water.