Wrestling with Sumo Paint

Most of us are familiar with Google's web-based applications, but useful as they are, Google Spreadsheet and its perpetual-beta brethren don't yet deliver the look and feel of a desktop application. One 'cloud' app that most definitely does, and has recently turned version 1.

Most of us are familiar with Google's web-based applications, but useful as they are, Google Spreadsheet and its perpetual-beta brethren don't yet deliver the look and feel of a desktop application. One 'cloud' app that most definitely does, and has recently turned version 1.0, is Sumo Paint.

This remarkably functional web-based image creator/editor superficially looks and operates like Photoshop, yet it'll run in any Flash-enabled browser — in the screenshot below, it's running happily in Firefox under an alpha version of Ubuntu 9.04 (Jaunty Jackalope) on a VMware virtual machine.

How Photoshop-ish is Sumo Paint? Well, check out these features: layers with blending; layer effects; shape tools; brush tool; text tool; clone stamp tool; eraser tool; filters; gradient tool; transform tool; magic wand tool; lasso tool; smudge tool; blur tool; line tool. Sumo Paint also has some neat tricks of its own. The ink tool lets you adjust ink wetness, or paint with bevelled ink — almost as if you were squeezing oil paint from a tube. We also like the symmetry tool, which we used to create the image above, and the curve tool, which lets you draw a straight line and then bend it to create a smooth curve.

Sumo Paint is free, although you need to register to use it. There are no adverts, or indeed any evidence of a business model behind the operation. You can store images in your online account or on a local machine, and can share images online with the Sumo Paint community if you wish. We won't be jettisioning Photoshop just yet, but we're impressed with how desktop-like a cloudy application can be. We'll report back with a full review in due course, but recommend you give it a try.

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