Adobe Fresco brings AI paintbrushes to your iPad Pro


As anyone who has set up an easel and tried to knock out some watercolor landscapes can attest, painting is not an easy pursuit. Not everyone can be Bob Ross. In the end, there are three options: possessing innate talent, enrolling in art school, or trying one of those terrible paint and wine classes.

Digital painting, on the other hand, is a different, far less messy story. For years, amateur painters and professionals have had multiple apps on hand to scratch that artistic itch. Procreate has long been a popular choice when it comes to painting on a tablet. Now, Adobe is entering the space with Frescoand it might be a gamechanger. 

The Full Power of Adobe on the iPad

While Adobe has rolled out numerous mobile art apps over the years, they were always incomplete. Users could use them to take one feature from a more powerful desktop program with them on the go. However, anyone wanting to run their whole workflow had to wait and return to their desktop.

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Meanwhile, mobile devices and tablets didn’t always have the necessary hardware to run these apps despite tablets getting more powerful. With Adobe’s Photoshop iPad app and Fresco slated to hit tablets at the end of the year, though, all of that could be changing.

Photoshop for the iPad Pro will surely make some Adobe acolytes happy. However, Fresco is an impressive tool all on its own. Using Adobe’s powerful Sensei AI tool, Fresco’s Live Brushes simulate painting with watercolors and oils in real life. The colors smudge and bleed just like real watercolors and the strokes change depending on how much pressure is applied. 

Out of the box (figuratively of course), Fresco comes with four watercolor Live Brushes (wet spatter, wash flat, wash soft, and round detail) and seven oil options (round, flat, filbert, detail, glaze, chunky, and short). Like most paint apps, users can change the size and flow of the brush as desired. The app also includes both vector and raster brushes to suit all design preferences. Fresco even gives users the option to download and import their own brushes for a little more customization. 

Seamless Integration

Another plus to Fresco is that it integrates seamlessly with Adobe’s full suite of products. Users can sync Fresco with Photoshop and Illustrator on the desktop to continue working or make their art pop with visual effects. Moreover, Fresco will allow users to save files as Cloud PSDs, a new format that syncs edits across Adobe’s Creative Cloud. 

As with anything Adobe, though, it’s up to users to figure out how they will change their workflow based on the devices currently at their fingertips. Besides looking cool and being incredibly easy to use, Fresco probably won’t turn into the primary tool for most illustrators and designers. With that being said, it is a robust option for professionals who may want to work on the go and need to integrate their tablet into other projects. Adobe’s iPad Photoshop adaptation and the new Fresco program are solutions for those looking to do just that. 

Either way, the way users react and pick up Fresco and Photoshop for iPad may dictate how Adobe bolsters other Creative Cloud apps or sunsets them moving forward. For now, Fresco will allow anyone to do their best Bob Ross impression without having to break the bank on new canvases.