WURM

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Chances are, if you google “generative art app”, WURM will have several mentions on the first page of results. I think of WURM less as a generative art app, and more as an airbrush/painting/drawing app with really unusual pen nibs or brush tips. It is the motion and shape of these customizable brush tips that give WURM its uniqueness. You can adjust the size, mutation amount, slant, interior opacity, outline opacity, spin speed, and density. A set of five tips comes with the program, and you can do an in-app purchase of five more. I would actually buy several more sets if they had that option.

The color pallette has 12 options, mostly in warm and neutral tones. Unfortunately, it seems a bit lacking in jewel tones, violets and dark blues. For the background, you have your choice of black, white, and three intermediary warm greys. But you can easily change that by using translucent washes of the brush to create a variegated colored ground.

Out of all the apps I’ve used so far, I’d have to say WURM is my favorite. I feel I can create the most distinctive style with it, without having it look like it was made with a digital process. That said, there are a few things about WURM I am a little disappointed in. One is that although you can purchase a separate app for your Mac that enables you to save WURM files at a higher print-ready resolution, that app is not available for Windows or for anything earlier than Mac OS 10.6, even though in the Mac App store it says it is compatible with Mac OS 10.5, which I am using. However I can’t access the Mac App store unless I have Mac OS 10.6. A bit of a catch-22. However, I do know that one day I will be forced to upgrade if my MacBook Pro bites the dust–even though I’m holding out as long as possible because of backward compatibility issues–at which time I will mostly likely happily purchase the $8 print-ready app, WURM-X.

Saving files gives you several options. You can use the screenshot method (press the “Home” and “Power” buttons simultaneously) to save to your Photos, which is probably the best method if you’re like me and unable to use WURM-X. Or you double-tap the screen for more options (saving or emailing .WURM files…which would only be useful if you have WURM-X.) Unless I’m missing something, saving a .WURM file does not allow you to access it from within the WURM app itself. It would be nice if you could save your creation in the app so you could go back to it and work on it later. And when you sit down for a creative session with WURM, be sure to finish your creation and save a screenshot (or a .WURM file if you have the WURM-X utility), because if you swipe or click out of it, once you return, you return to a brand new session and your previous work is gone. You can save presets of the brush tip settings, but I’ve noticed that earlier ones of mine have disappeared.

Despite the minor issues I mention, this is by far one of the best designed, and most elegant art apps I’ve found. The interface itself is a work of art.

The WURM website

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