Illustrator’s Blob Brush Tool: WTF?

Posted by Mark 2000 | Reviews | Monday · 27 July · 2009 16:08 | 16,329 views

blob-brushAdobe Illustrator CS4 got a new tool that was recently brought to my attention. It’s called the Blob Brush and it acts just like the regular paintbrush except that it creates fills instead of lines. You can adjust the brush to be pressure and tilt sensitive, change its shape, and tweak its smoothness and fidelity just like the regular paintbrush. The fills that you draw on the same layer all merge together into one über-shape that makes it easier than ever to click fill with the decade old and mostly useless – until now – Live Paint Tool. Basically it does exactly what Flash’s paintbrush has been doing all along but with beautiful line clarity of Illustrator’s original paintbrush tool. So the question is, if Adobe can create a sweet new brush that makes fill shapes and remains true to the user’s intent why can’t it add it to Flash as well? WTF Adobe?

I more than touched on Flash’s paintbrush troubles in a previous post. Basically it looks like poop. I’ve since chalked them up to technical limitations because Toon Boom and Anime Studios’ brushs had the same malformations when painting. If two other companies can’t manage it then it must just not be possible. But, holy crap on a cracker, Adobe has done it! They just didn’t bother to stick it in their other premium vector based drawing app. WTF indeed.


Examples of of the new Blob Brush and the old Paintbrush side by side.
Note the Blob stroke has anchor points surrounding it indicating it is a shape, not a line.

I want this functionality in Flash now. Now, Adobe, now! Not in CS5. I want it in a free downloadable patch like your .02 performance oops. Fix it up tonight and post it tomorrow. I probably wouldn’t stop drawing my main assets in Illustrator because I like the control the original paintbrush allows me after I draw a line – so you won’t loose a customer on that front. However, my frame by frame stuff that needs to be drawn in Flash would look a million times better. Its not fair that my work – and everyone else’s – is lacking because of some Adobe oversight. I want this brush in Flash NOW!.


  1. Comment by pat — Saturday, 1 August, 2009 @ 15:59
  2. I’m just guessing, but perhaps the way that Flash “optimizes” points it assigns to lines you draw is ruled by the way other Flash tools interpret them- interpolation with symbols- and frame to frame rendering for video. Illustrator is intended for single images for print so wouldn’t have the same issues. You did say that illustrator drawn art imports just fine to flash with all the info intact, but did you try comparing rendering and file sizes for similar art drawn with the separate sources?

    You know how after effects doesn’t even let you scrub sound, you’re not supposed to edit with it, it’s for compositing- similar thinking here perhaps.

    A few tests with Blob brush felt OK for sketching but erasing/editing it was a pain… because it made everything one shape and then the eraser assigns all kinds of new points and it’s just a mess. I went back to using the regular brush for sketching and I think blob brush would actually be better for putting down custom sized final lines.

  3. Comment by Mark 2000 — Friday, 14 August, 2009 @ 22:24
  4. I think that argument is moot now that most linear Flash animation goes straight to video. Besides, any performance issues could be cleared up with a “fidelity” setting that would allow for a less accurate line with less points – a setting that Illustrator already has.

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