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The Foundry's Mischief

Fast GPU sketch tool is super clean By Ko Maruyama

Here's my 4 minute review after a first look at the software. Seriously - in 2 minutes, you'll be comfortable with the software.  Why?  Because it just does one thing - sketching.  This is what it was meant to do. And it is RIDICULOUSLY FAST.  (relies on GPU)

 I didn't notice that the Foundry had picked this software up, but it's on their website now, and it's only $25 for the full version - probably less than what you might pay for a single plugin.


  • Fast / Responsive line work
  • Clean : Super resolution and smoothing at many levels
  • ENDLESS CANVAS. This alone is worth $25
  • MANY ZOOM LEVELS. In and out
  • Easy to understand
  • Free version is robust for quick sketches & ideation
  • Lots of good use for ideas and notes.  You just add to the document forever.

  • No custom brush shapes, only variations of size & opacity on 3 basic round&square styles
  • Difficult to switch between two colors quickly (I use 'x' in PSD)
  • Vector, but no blend/transfer modes**
  • No freehand or additive selection Cut/paste rectangular areas only
  • More? For a wishlist, sure - but in its current state, this is the short list)

It's kind of like a digital copic marker set, with layers. The lines that I draw continue to be really fast.  I work with a Wacom Intuos 4 because I want a responsive connection to my computer.  Mischief keeps up with every little flick of the wrist. (at least on simple illustrations).  I'm sure with practice, you can get really fast at Mischief.  I think it serves a great way to create an endless scratch paper. BOTTOM LINE: Without seeing how this will fit into the workflow of NUKE / MODO / MARI / ....  I'm not sure whether Mischief will find a place in my toolbox, but for 15 days, I'm going to play with it.  $25 is cheap for a professional tool.  

The free version is also very powerful, even without the additional features. Strongest reasons to upgrade to pro: LAYERS, ABILITY TO EXPORT PSD LAYERS, SHAPE CREATION (there are additional features in Pro version as well) **You can export layers to PSD with the Pro version, then use Adobe Photoshop to implement blend/transfer modes.


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Ko Maruyama is a freelance animator in Los Angeles.  In addition to working on film and broadcast animations, Ko teaches at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design - focusing on motion design.  When working, writing or testing software allows, you can find him lending a hand in the After Effects board and lurking among the Cinema4D, Visual Effects and Photoshop posts within the DMNForums.
Related Keywords:luxology, the foundry, animation, mac, pc, artist, illustration

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