Like many art lovers, I have little to no actual talent when it comes to putting my creative passions down on paper. I’ve tried several incredible art apps available on a multitude of different platforms. From 3D modeling to photo mastering, I had yet to find a way to take something I’m passionate about doing and put it together in a way that is as aesthetically pleasing as it is unique. That is, until I discovered Fumy.
Fumy is a very simple program that allows users to create unique designs on blank canvas using what can only be described as digital smoke. Imagine if you had a marker in your hand, and that marker emanated a constant stream of multicolored smoke that responded in a very realistic manner to movement. Imagine what you could draw when your very writing instrument responds in a fluid motion around the point and speed of your mouse movement.
At first, the things you create with this application look a lot like one of many different screen savers that come built in with virtually any operating system on the market. In reality, you can easily create a still image in a variety of sizes and file types in seconds by waving your cursor over a spot, giving your mouse or trackpad a gesture for the smoke to respond to, and clicking. The smoke will swirl around in a unique pattern each time, growing closer and closer to the cursor as the ripple of movement gradually fades.
You can customize virtually every aspect of the drawing process including the flow speed, color range, opacity, fill density, smoothness, and gravity. These settings each work together to give your drawing instrument a different look and response as you create your masterpiece. You can also determine whether or not a blended stroke will lighten or darken the overlap, and set one of several modes that determine how each swipe appears.
If you’re accustomed to more traditional brush-based art programs, there is an option to forgo the smoke effect for a more standard brush that includes radius, opacity, and hardness settings. If you make a mistake, or want to tweak the look of a piece, the brush can also be set in eraser mode.
In terms of a basic art program, Fumy isn’t anything extraordinarily functional. The heart of the program is in the concept of painting with smoke, so you won’t see a stunning amount of different artistic tools here. Simply put, Fumy may not be a one-trick pony, but it is a basic program with a specific purpose.
The current version of Fumy (1.5) crashes constantly on both my iMac and MacBook Pro, each running OS X Lion. Thankfully, the app itself has a report feature built in for bugs and issues, and its presence on the Mac App Store means that Apple set expectations for Neatberry (the developer) to support the product after sale. Fumy is currently being sold at around US$10, making it a moderately priced app. Whether or not it’s worth the investment, however, is up to you.