One of my greatest passions in life is oil painting. I love everything about it—even the smell of turpentine (especially the smell of turpentine). However, for the novice the whole process can be quite daunting. It's messy and mixing the paints correctly requires skill. That is why designer Yana Klimava developed Virtuo—a digital painting system for beginners that overcomes these problems. The system consists of a monitor that acts as a digital canvas, a palette, a pencil, paintbrush, palette knife, airbrush and pastel stick.
The palette uses Bluetooth technology for communicating with the computer. It mimics real paint mixture techniques with LED lights. The user can also mix dark colors due to the special coating on the palette’s surface. The amount of paint “picked up” by the tool is determined by the amount of time the tool spends on the mixed color. The tools, consisting of a pencil, paintbrush, palette knife, airbrush and pastel, use sensors to translate the user’s gestures into visual information. Taking a palette knife as an example, it would use pressure and accelerometer sensors to translate its position and pressure on the screen into an appropriate stroke. Virtuo comes with software that is based on the real painting process: minimal, leaving the user free to experiment. Most of the time it would look like a blank piece of canvas, with a simple drop down menu showing only when the user wants to start a new digital painting, save, close it or open a previously started one. The really cool thing about this software is that it would treat all the digital materials used on the canvas as real ones. Ex. You would not be able to erase paint, only paint over it. It would also have only a limited number of “undo” steps to encourage the insecure user to practice by correcting rather than erasing.
Obviously, Virtuo is only a concept at the moment—but I can definitely see a market for something like this in the future. It probably wouldn't appeal much to purists like myself, but it would prove invaluable for beginners. [Yana Klimava via The Design Blog and Yanko]