Adobe’s Project Gemini could be your next go-to drawing app

Adobe mocked Project Gemini, its "next generation drawing and painting app" last October, along with a preview of its Photoshop application for iPad. Now, a beta version of the application is being launched for a handful of artists in a preview program, and it was presented at the MoCCA Arts Festival in New York, where I had to take a look.

Although Adobe has said that Photoshop For the iPad to have features that focus on composition workflows, Project Gemini focuses specifically on illustrating, painting, and drawing. The main point of sale of the application is its Live Brushes, which are watercolor and oil brushes that behave like real life painting. The brushes react to the paint that is already on the canvas, so the watercolors bloom and spread naturally, and the colors combine perfectly. With oil paints, the brush strokes are represented with a vivid texture, and can even control the amount of paint that can be applied on the canvas.


Oil painting with live brushes.

The Gemini Project allows artists to draw with raster and vector brushes, combining the tools of iPad applications such as Adobe Illustrator Draw and Photoshop Sketch in a single application. Vector brushes are scalable to any size, and you can import Photoshop brushes from your own library, which means you can load tools like custom Photoshop brushes from Kyle T. Webster. There are also some new features that were very necessary in Photoshop Sketch, as a selection tool and the ability to add or subtract to the selection as well.

Many features were not completely ready when I previewed Photoshop for the iPad, but the Gemini Project version I saw seemed almost complete. The files were automatically saved to Creative Cloud, and an Adobe representative told me that third-party integrations such as Dropbox and Google Drive were on the way. More advanced features include keyboard shortcuts and the user interface touch switch, which is a context-sensitive button that switches to the last tool you were using while holding it down. However, I missed some features, such as the ability to add text and a history panel. (To be fair, most drawing applications like Procreate do not have them either).


Watercolors with live brushes.

The Project Gemini user interface is almost identical to Photoshop for the iPad, with the tool palette on the left and the Properties layer on the right. For someone like me who feels more comfortable working on a desktop computer than on an iPad, that's an advantage. I can work with the tools I'm used to and import the file as a PSD to continue working on it on the desktop.

Adobe says that Project Gemini is the first to reach the iPad, followed by devices with Windows 10 and Android. Both the Gemini Project and Photoshop for iPad are scheduled for release sometime in 2019. There is no pricing information yet, but Creative Cloud subscribers can expect to use the applications as part of their membership.

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