Application Review: Brush Pilot™

Application Review: Brush Pilot™

Brush Pilot™ is a small application for Mac OSX that lets you view installed and uninstalled Photoshop brushes. Here is a review.

I haven’t used Photoshop CS4 myself, but I think everyone can agree that in Photoshop CS3 brush management is slow and painful. If you want to use a certain brush set you downloaded a year ago you might not remember what it’s called. You have to blindly load brush sets into the brushes panel and use its tiny preview window until you find what you are looking for. What if you had an application that would automatically scan your entire computer and find all brush files, even in obscure folders? Then you could preview all the brushes as small or as large as you want. Now what if it was actually fast?

Jay Hilgert from Bittbox.com has developed an application that lets you do just that. Brush Pilot™ is a simple application that was developed out of the need for a better way to preview brushes. You can install brushes, delete brushes, view them in a finder window, and it has keyboard shortcuts.

To me there were a few things that would make or break this app:

  • Speed - How fast do brush files open and render? Does the scrolling choke on large sets?
  • System Footprint - Does this app use up a lot ram and cpu power?
  • Does this app help my process and workflow?
  • And since I’m a cheapskate frugal, is it worth the money?

Brush Pilot screenshot
Brush Pilot screenshot

Speed

The application works as you would hope. It loads very quickly. You might think there would be an initial slowdown while the app searches for your files, but it doesn’t. I think this is because it uses OSX’s Finder for searching, which would have all your files indexed already anyway. I was very curious as to how this app would handle large (100mb+) files. The brush images popped up almost instantly which was awesome. I was very surprised that it performed as well as it did.

Does this app choke my computer?

Since this is more like a helper app, you don’t want it using up any resources that could be going to the resource hogging programs from Adobe. I opened up Activity Monitor and watched it as I moved around the program and browsed brushes. The cpu usage was low, only spiking a bit to do work, but it would go back down again when idle. Memory usage was very low also. It would jump up when I was previewing a large set, but would go back down when viewing a small file. I never saw any unusual cpu activity or memory leaks which is great.

Brush Pilot resources used

Does my process and workflow benefit from this app?

I’ll be completely honest, I don’t use a lot of custom brushes. This could be an argument that I wouldn’t need the app. But since I don’t use them frequently, I don’t ever remember what I have, or where I put the damn files! This is why the app is so perfect for any user. Now I can easily load the app and find what I want quickly. If it’s already installed in Photoshop, the app will let me know. If not, I can install it with one click. On the opposite end of the spectrum are people who are brush downloading super freaks. This is perfect for them as they can preview their hundreds of brushes quickly no matter what folder they end up in. Imagine trying to do that in Photoshop!

Is it worth it?

The Brush Pilot™ app is only $15. Quit buying that greasy fast food for a couple days and you have the money for it. There is a demo version you can try out now that only shows 5 brushes out of a set. I think the app is completely worth it, but try it out for yourself first.

Oh and the website looks great as well.

Brush Pilot website screenshot

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