File Under: HTML5, Web Apps

DeviantArt’s Muro Drawing App Is Pure HTML5 Awesomeness

The folks at DeviantArt, a website best known for hosting images of fairies and vampires created by gothy art students, have debuted a new browser-based drawing tool created entirely with web standards.

Muro works in all modern browsers, and you can dive in and start drawing on a blank canvas, all without Flash or any other plug-in. There are several brushes available to everyone, but to access the more advanced features, you’ll need to create a DeviantArt account and log in.

The image above was created by DeviantArt user loish using the new tool. It’s amazing to see what people are creating with it.

Muro is reminiscent of other browser-based drawing tools like Odosketch, which uses Flash, and Sketchpad, which, like Muro, uses only web standards. But Muro is cleaner and more of a joy to use than any other HTML5-based sketching app I’ve seen.

As browsers become more powerful and web technologies like HTML5, CSS and JavaScript become more advanced, we’re seeing more and more killer web apps emerge. But productivity apps, fancy fonts and media playback hacks aren’t just interesting tricks we can all marvel at, they are examples of how the web is quickly maturing into a true computing platform.

I found Muro to be more useful on an iPad — a fingertip is much more forgiving than a mouse or a trackball when you’re trying to draw something on a screen. Also, the default settings seem to be optimized for the iPad’s browser. In Chrome and Firefox, it took some fiddling to get the brushes to the point where they produced the desired results. But once you get the hang of it, it’s super easy and fun. You’ll waste a lot of time if you’re not careful.

I also asked Dennis Crothers, Wired.com’s head of user experience, to give it a test drive with his Wacom tablet. You need to be running Wacom’s tablet data plug-in (which you probably already have installed if you have the device) for it to work. He was impressed. He says Muro isn’t the best drawing tool out there — this is coming from a designer who spends the bulk of his days in Adobe Illustrator — but for an HTML5 web app, he says it’s an excellent piece of work. I agree.

Green-haired girl by loish. Crappy Veve by me.

See Also: