So I picked up an HP TouchSmart IQ815 touchscreen computer over the holidays, and discovered something really cool. You can actually use the oversize screen of the TouchSmart PC as a canvas using real paint brushes.
See, the TouchSmart doesn’t actually detect pressure, but uses NextWindow’s infrared optical sensor technology to determine the position of your fingers. With a little experimentation, I discovered that pretty much anything that doesn’t scratch the screen can be used as a stylus.
While there’s no decent paint application that ships with the TouchSmart, you should definitely plunk down $25 bucks for a copy of Ambient Design’s ArtRage, a truly amazing low-cost natural media art application. The combination of ArtRage and a cheap $2 acrylic paintbrush is all you need to paint on screen. Check out my [cheesy] home video clip to see what all the fuss is about:
While I’ve played with graphic tablets and touchscreen finger-painting before, there’s nothing quite like using a real brush. At this point, there’s no way to detect the pressure or angle of the bristles, but at least one person has already put together a proof-of-concept for detecting brush width on the TouchSmart. Hopefully, it’s only a matter of time before that logic finds its way into a paint application.
So if you have a TouchSmart and even a single artistic bone in your body, you owe it to yourself to grab a copy of ArtRage, a couple of cheap paintbrushes, and get to painting. Maybe you’ll be the next Renoir or Picasso. Just be sure not to put any actual paint on your brush.