Without ink

Christoph Niemann celebrates Photoshop's 25th birthday with a digital app that allows users the freedom to paint and draw without the real-life mess!

Bringing the magic of drawing and painting back to its simpler and messier form, Christoph Niemann's latest web-based app reveals his love for all types of illustration.

To celebrate the 25th birthday of Photoshop, Christoph Niemann teamed up with Jon Huang to create a web-based app called “You Made That”.

The app was made for “The Innovative Issue” of the New York Times Magazine and features playful tools like the saltshaker, a lemon, string and paint.

Wanting to make the art shareable, the duo came up with an elegant way to allow people to see exactly how an artwork had been created.

Every time an element is placed on the canvas, a short bit of code is generated: a capital letter represents the action, and lower-case letters signify the outline. When the finished painting is shared with others, they are able to see exactly how the piece was created due to the characters that are revealed in the URL.

“You Made That” is the ideal way to engage with painting, drawing and illustration while maintaining a set of ink-free hands and clothing. 

The app is free of charge and available here on the New York Times website.

Earlier this year, Niemann and Huang collaborated to create Petting Zoo, an interactive picture book of illustrated animals for iOS and Android. The app features thousands of hand-drawn animation frames and playful, musical sounds to accompany each animal, for hours of fun. 

Watch the Talk with Christoph Niemann