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Future of TwistedBrush Pro

Long time users of TwistedBrush, not active in the community or anything though. I just venture around time to time to see if there are any major updates.

With the major new website and forum I'm kind of wondering if there's not going to be a big/noticeable update to TwistedBrush itself?

Seems kind of odd to give a super modern facelift to a program that screams old school as much as TwistedBrush dose. I'd go as far as to say that it feels rather disjointed. The new site is nice, but it sets expectations of a modern feeling outcome very high. Which is just not the case of the current TwistedBrush Pro which feels straight out of the 90s. Which I think is especially going to be bad considering the new website seems to go out of it's way to not show the current state of the interface which will only make it an even bigger shock and turn off when people download it.

The other major thing that has me concerned is that TwistedBrush Pro is an awesome program, however it still has a lot that could/should be done with it and yet it feels like all the recent development time is being spent on offshoot side projects.

I've found myself wondering the last couple years is it that the developer(s) [I've never figured out if TwistedBrush is made by a small group or just one person.] are having a hard time figuring out what to improve or new directions to go, or if they are simply not interested in it due to TwistedBrush being more of a hobby then a major business.

No matter the answer to any of this I plan on personally using TwistedBrush for at least a couple more years easy as to me there isn't really a great replacement for it now. Though in the future PaintStorm has a high chance as long as it keeps evolving at it's current rate. At it's current development rate I could see it becoming quite tempting to switch over to in the next few years if TwistedBrush keeps it's status quo.

Best Answer

Hi Rolan,

All very thoughtful questions, comments and concerns. Thank you for your long term support of TwistedBrush!  

TwistedBrush is developed by a single person (myself), however, from time to time Pixarra employs contractors to aid in some support / admin efforts, but at the moment I take care of all things. Of course this includes levering services and capabilities of other companies to efficiently handle things such as forums, payments and other administrative tasks.

The update of the Pixarra website was sorely overdue. Various things were broken, updates such as product information for the focused TwistedBrush Studio product information was put off awaiting website rework as well updates were more difficult to do using old tools when more efficient tools exist today. 

The user interface of TwistedBrush Pro Studio can be looked at as dated by some I view it more as a utilitarian workhorse look (personally I still find it pleasing). Of course in the art world there is often an expectation of software having a fancy interface but that doesn't always equate to more effective results. One thing I have found with UI updates in TwistedBrush as well as many projects. You will please 1/2 the people and angry the other 1/2 so I have often avoided major UI changes since the intended functionality worked. The new Studio programs gave an opportunity to advance the UI while still leveraging the internal capabilities of TwistedBrush as a whole. The other concern is that TwistedBrush Pro Studio offers quite a bit of complexity which can be challenging when considering UI updates.

Back to the website. Screenshots will be added for Pro Studio as well as each of the other Studio products as well as more details of the features available. Those parts of the website just aren't complete yet. 

So the bigger question I think you raise indirectly (and in the title) is what will Pro Studio updates look like in the future. The intention is that TwistedBrush Pro Studio will reap benefits from the other Studio products in the work done there on the UI. Overall Pro Studio is considered a mature product and changes may always feel more incremental rather than revolutionary. 

Hopefully this helps give you a better sense of Pixarra and the thinking going forward.


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Thought I would throw out a few suggestions that might help mitigate concerns of users who prefer the UI the way it is if indeed you would still like to update it to a more "modern" style.

1) It is entirely possible to have more than one interface for a program. You could have the existing, or at least a reasonable replica available as a theme or skin depending on how you go about updating the GUI.

2)You could also put more advanced interface options in the settings or view drop down, so they only appear if the user wishes them to. There are so many ways to skin a cat in programming.

3) A logical way to go about it might be to have multiple tabs which basically provide customized work-spaces or environments for specific activities. i.e. a Tree Room as a tab. Tabs are nice because they allow for fast switching between common tasks and allow for some more streamlined focused sections of the interface. Tabbed interfaces are are common in complex 3D applications, and several 2D apps have customization configuration files for different "work-spaces". Personally, I think it would be good to have both... load different work-spaces into different tabs.

There may be a few memory concerns with this approach, but assuming migration to 64 bit... that point could be moot. Still, it's always possible to provide access to a "legacy" style interface for anyone who prefers it.

There's my stream of consciousness 2 bits. and I am glad to know that there are no plans as yet to just abandon development of TwistedBrush Studio Pro. Hopefully, I made some sense.

Keep up the good work Ken

I just wanted to say that I use many different painting programs some are newer, some are older, but I am always SO impressed when I look at the art that I create in Twisted Brush.  I have the full Studio Pro, latest version.  It allows me to just be creative without having to worry about many settings, I can just think of what I'd like to paint, select the appropriate brush (s) and get to work.  I can complete a picture in an hour, or create many layers and complete the picture in a few days.  The best thing is, that I like the results so much that I always continue to work on the project and get it finished.  I have given some of the creations as gifts, and if printed with the right settings and framed, the pictures look very professional.  I intend to test the rest of the products you have available now and see if I am as happy with the results of those projects as I am with Studio Pro.  Thank you Ken for this wonderful product!

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