Deco Sketch Review
This Photoshop alternative for iOS and Android offers advanced brush settings and over 100 presets to create with
Creative apps appeal to design enthusiasts, presenting us with the ability to produce artwork we wouldn’t otherwise be able to. These sorts of apps are most entertaining when they perform complex algorithms through uncomplicated tool sets. These factors become even more appealing when matched with a low cost.
Deco Sketch is one such app that looks to join the ranks of this growing market. It sets out its stall as a geometric effect generator, applicable through tools said to be perfectly suited to “professionals and hobbyists”. With this in mind, we put it to the test.
With a download size averaging at 32MB, this app isn’t too memory-intensive. However, we had experienced Adobe apps with considerable functionality at half this size. This had us asking if Deco Sketch was full of goodies or packed with expendable options.
Once open, we were asked to choose between uploading a blank canvas or a photo file. We chose the latter to see how this app handled uploading images – it handles it well. It was almost instant, when trying not to ramp up file sizes. However, overstep the mark and Deco Sketch will crash. Also beware of the same happening when applying tools after several passes, if image sizes are a little too large.
The Deco Sketch interface is like every creative application should be – stylish. Charcoal panels and black buttons let vibrant colour work jump off the page. This attention to aesthetics shows that developer Ben Guerrette knows his target audience. The layout seemed more intelligible in portrait mode (although still available in landscape mode), so we’ve used this to discuss functionality.
Activate the preset menu in the bottom left-hand corner of the screen to activate a tonne of art-deco styles. You won’t be able to calculate them at first glance, so we’ll tell you now that there are 130 to choose from. This means users who intend to use Deco Sketch for specific effects will have to become accustomed to preset options first.
Circle, Radial Triangles, Deco Squares and Lines, as well as Random Rectangles are but a few. The effect of each one can be defined through separate Brush and Colour Swatch options. In fact, the Deco Sketch Brush tool has sophisticated options comparable to some desktop software, such as Adobe Photoshop. Activate this by clicking the Settings (cog) icon, found in the bottom left-hand corner of the interface.
Deco Sketch enables us to customise brush strokes through 15 configurable settings. Standard examples include spacing, opacity, size and angle, which will be familiar if ever using Brush tools in other creative software. However, the app is capable of a much more tactile application, which impressed us. All Draw Speed options allow us to control the opacity and size of our strokes, just like real-world media, upon activation. For example, the slower our finger pressure, the denser the marks are and vice versa.
This kind of brush operation makes mark-making very intuitive. Even more so when Deco Sketch provides fully-loaded brush settings when activating a preset, enabling first-time results. This means bespoke and experimental design is just as effective. We can even mask away and combine shapes using the Erasure tool, which retains the same preset style as the brush preceding it. This tool, as well as colour controls, are found in the bottom right-hand corner of the interface.
Deco Sketch’s colour options are just as impressive. Eyedropper is another familiar inclusion, picking out the start image’s tones and updating them live in our swatch. Deco Sketch also provides us with 20 Color Palettes presets, automatically populating our five swatches and allowing us to immediately apply a complementary colour scheme to our design.
Activate the Color Cycle options and each tone is subsequently applied with every separate application of a brush. However, we found once we’d chosen our preferred start colour, Deco Sketch automatically skipped to the successive colour in our swatch. This did throw us slightly when first designing, and we have no idea why the app would do this.
The minimal Undo history (only five steps back) also hindered our progress, having to start again or intently erase unwanted elements. This is a common nuisance with many creative apps. The inclusion of a layers panel would have resolved this issue. But this does little to diminish the entertainment value of an imaginative and playful app, which succeeds in creating inspiring results using advanced yet easy-to-use tools.
Although niche, it’s a solid app that has put thought into robust functionality. We look forward to updates.
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