BrainDistrict releases PaintSupreme, resurrects MainActor
BrainDistrict released first public version of PaintSupreme, a commercial image editor for Windows, Linux and Mac. And it looks like it's just the beginning…
Few words on PaintSupreme
PaintSupreme is a completely new image editor with a basic set of selection and painting tools, layers and a minimum amount of filters and color correction tools. The app opens quite a lot of file formats, including RAW photos, but doesn't yet provide any options for processing the latter before opening.
The user interface somewhat resembles Microsoft's Expression suite as well as The Foundry's apps with its dark background and stencil icons.
The brush engine is somewhat generic, but has advanced control over fuzzyness. E.g. you can edit the curve that shapes the falloff, so you can completely reverse the falloff if you like or use bell-shaped curve to paint donuts.
Options like brush size are controlled from the top toolbar, with few more option available in another drop-down dialog.
In general PaintSupreme feels a bit slow and has to be more responsive when it comes to zooming and toggling visibility of layers. The user interface is quite fine, but some features are duplicated, and some are hidden from UI (like e.g. fullscreen toggle that gets triggered by pressing F).
With more advanced filters system and overall polish the app will rival Paint.NET feature-wise, especially if it gets some unique features. But personally I have a feeling that the company will have a hard time promoting it, because the market already seems quite saturated.
OK, so a new image editor from a company you probably never heard of. Is it a big deal? Well, there is some background to the whole story.
What are they up to?
BrainDistrict was started by Markus Mönig, former founder and CEO of MainConcept GmbH. MainConcept's primary area of expertise was video editing and transcoding, and their most well-known product for desktop users was MainActor, a quite capable commercial non-linear video editor that could run circles around free NLEs for Linux in the early 2000s.
In 2007 the company decided to focus on codecs and put development of MainActor on hold. The users community started a petition to ask the company releasing the source code, but MainConcept announced acquirement by DivX later same year. DivX was then acquired by Sonic in 2010 which was acquired by Rovi earlier this year. Markus worked as CTO for DivX about a year, and in 2008 he dropped out of the whole fish-eats-fish chain to start BrainDistrict.
Today the company has several products, and this month apart from PaintSupreme 1.0 they announced resurrection of MainActor and a new upcoming product called RaySupreme — a 3D rendering and animation package. Needless to say, the urge to ask questions is quite unstoppable here at Libre Graphics World :) And Markus replied them all.
Despite having a "Paint" in the name PaintSupreme doesn't yet support pressure sensitivity. What's up with that?
This will be supported in one of the v1.x releases. Currently we are investigating the best way to support them in a cross-platform way. But we have a lot of requests for these, so yes, this is one of the more important features which are missing right now.
Do you have plans to enhance the existing feature set, like adding blending modes and masks to layers, exposing options in filters?
Yes, certainly. We will add new and improve current functionality. Our goal is to have a powerful tool which is easy to use, has a nice UI and is available at a reasonable price. We already put a lot of effort into this and will continue to do so.
Which direction do you see PaintSupreme growing to? More generic image editing features? More painting features like more advanced brush engine or real media simulation?
Generally we want to go both ways, however of course you have to find a balance with your features and not try to be as powerful as every highly specialized tool. But then again we don't see a reason why we couldn't address both markets in the future.
With an image editor, a video editor and an animation/rendering package it looks like you are trying to cover all angles. But what are your priorities?
PaintSupreme is a priority and is actually the paint module of RaySupreme, our upcoming 3D rendering and animation package which has a few really nifty features.
MainActor in this context is somewhat of a lower priority, however we love it and have a long history with it, so we are doing our best to bring it to the market as soon as possible.
The blog entry mentions porting MainActor's user interface from Qt3 to Qt4 and updating UI to match current users expectations. Are you planning any changes in the first resurrected version apart from that?
The first version will have more features than just Qt v4 and UI updates.
We are paying a special attention to merging the MainActor and MainVision functionality so that it is not really only a video editor, but also a compositing / special effects tool.
What kind of users will you be targeting it at with MainActor? Advanced amateurs? Professionals?
I guess the tool will grow over time, with v1 we will be happy to get it out of the market for the advanced amateurs, the professionals will hopefully join in one of the later releases. It's the same with PaintSupreme, i.e. nobody will throw their Photoshop away at this point and use PS, however our goal is to bring people there over time ;)
There are all kinds of modern trends like using GPU for computations and rendering. What's your view on that with regards to MainActor?
As you know, our old company is MainConcept and our developers have a long history of working with CPU and GPU optimizations. So it's definitely planned (as it is actually too with PaintSupreme, lots of nice effects can be done). But again, step by step, we cannot do all at once.
Are you going to make 3rd party development available for MainActor, e.g. via a plug-ins architecture?
Yes, certainly. The same is also true for PaintSupreme: we will create an open plug and play system for all of our products soon.