The ability to edit images and photographs directly from your web browser is a wonderful thing, whether the ability serves as a simple alternative to more costly desktop software or a solution for when you’re away from your computer. There are a number of different apps available with a variety of specialties. This review will focus on Sumo Paint, a browser based image and photo editing tool.
Sumo Paint provides a great feature set with tools ranging from basic shapes to advanced painting tools. Unlike most other other online graphics editing apps, Sumo Paint also has a burgeoning online community. It’s far from a new app, but it’s one of the internet standbys that come up in every list of great web apps. Whether you’ve never used it before or have tried it out in the past but haven’t used all of its features, it’s a great web app to learn more about. Keep reading to see why Sumo Paint is a web app you should try out.
Before delving into the feature set, I’d like to point out the similarities of Sumo Paint to most traditional graphics editing programs. These similarities make Sumo Paint easy to pick up from the beginning, and you’ll feel instantly at home if you have used other desktop graphics programs. There isn’t quite as much of a learning curve which is fantastic.
There are two major feature sets in Sumo Paint: those for drawing and painting and those geared towards photo editing. The illustration type tools are definitely the stronger feature set as Sumo Paint definitely lends itself a bit easier to digital painting and drawing tasks. These tools include brushes, erasers, blur, smudge and symmetry tools. The ink tool is a great painting tool as well, providing a way to make ink impressions.
In addition to the above painting tools, Sumo Painter has great shape tools for illustration and drawing purposes. A variety of shapes such as bulky stars and custom shapes as well as a great line tool help round out this feature set. The curve tool wraps up this collection with a great way to produce curves that support the shape trails and effects options.
The photo editing tools aren’t nearly so plentiful, although basic photo editing is definitely possible. Utilize the curves tool to control color tones and contrast or try the levels adjustment tool for adjusting tones in the image. The clone stamp tool is a great way to edit the image and functions in just the way you would expect. A variety of photo-appropriate filters (including the unsharp mask filter) and adjustment layers (such as the gradient adjustment layer) round out the photo feature set.
Keep in mind that the features mentioned above are just a sampling of what Sumo Paint has to offer. Let’s now take a look at some of the tools and features that really warrant a bit more of an in-depth look. In accordance with the application’s name, these features are primarily related to the painting and drawing capabilities of the program. First, let’s take a better look at the brush selection. Sumo Paint offers what is easily the greatest brush selection of any browser-based graphics program I have seen. Not only is the selection fantastic, most of the brush customization options you would expect are present, including spacing, orientation and scattering.
Another great feature is the gradient tool. Not only does Sumo Paint offer a fantastic selection of pre-made gradients, the ability to edit a gradient is actually simple and straight-forward. I much prefer creating and editing gradients in Sumo Paint to any other application I’ve tried, both web and desktop based. Perhaps the most notable feature of the gradient tool, however, is the live gradient preview. You are able to see an extremely up-to-date version of your gradient’s appearance, even as you move and adjust the gradient.
Finally, we come to the layer effects. The layer effects are certainly plentiful, if only because they are a direct knock-off of Photoshop. If you take a closer look, you see virtually identical set-ups, down to the options for various modes. On the plus side, at least this helps to continue the familiarity of Sumo Paint for users who typically utilize Photoshop. Sumo Paint did add two unique layer effects, gradient bevel and gradient glow.
Ups and Downs
As with any other app, Sumo Paint is great for some functions and terrible for others. First it is, of course, wonderful for drawing and painting images that are created from scratch. It’s not so great for photo editing, as a majority of the tools and features lend themselves to painting and drawing rather than photo editing. Additionally, if you take a look at the user gallery you will see that most featured images are painting and illustrations, not photographs.
Something Sumo Paint isn’t so great for is complicated imports and exports. You can import pictures from your computer, your Sumo account or a specific url. However, Sumo Paint supports a frustratingly small number of file types: only PNG, JPEG, and GIF. Export options are equally limited, allowing users to only export to email, a personal computer or to a Sumo account. The lack of social networking integration is extremely noticeable, particularly given the ways in which most other, similar apps integrate social networks.
Speaking of the lack of integration, perhaps the explanation is Sumo Paint’s own social community. If you sign up for a Sumo Account not only can you save all files in Sumo’s cloud, you can also participate in the Sumo Paint community. You are able to share creations, talk with other users and favorite other’s work. The social network is a fantastic aspect and a great way to get your work out there.
Sumo Paint has definitely been bookmarked after this review. While I don’t foresee it becoming a part of my daily workflow, it’s definitely a viable candidate for any illustration work I do. It will also be the first application I turn to if I don’t have access to my computer and software. While Sumo Paint definitely has some frustrations with minor glitches in tools and terrible import/export options, its benefits definitely trump.
Whether you need an Internet alternative or a cheaper option, Sumo Paint is a fantastic web-based app for painting and drawing, although you should look elsewhere for photo editing. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. What do you love and hate about Sumo Paint? And what alternatives do you prefer?