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How to use Magma on your phone
How to use Magma on your phone

This is a tips and tricks guide for improving your experience of Magma on a smartphone.

Written by Ryan Allan
Updated over a week ago

While it’s not best way to use it, we’ve been surprised by just how many people use Magma on their smartphones to draw online with their friends. It wasn’t designed with such small screens in mind, however there are some things you can do to improve the mobile experience.

Full screen mode

This will hide your browser interface so that all you see is the Magma interface. It’s not a huge change but every bit of extra space counts when you’re on a phone screen.

Go to your View menu (magnifying glass icon) and select Full screen.

Switching Magma to Full screen mode on a mobile phone.

Tip: Using Chrome on Android gives you the option to 'download' Magma. While not exactly a mobile app, it puts a shortcut on your system that essentially takes you to a full screen mode of Magma without any of the extra browser stuff.

Hiding UI elements

Toolbars, color wheel, settings panels, menu bars: these can really limit how much space you have to actively draw on. Thankfully, you can easily tuck away some of Magma’s UI elements when you don’t need them.

Tapping the filmstrip icon in the bottom left will hide the sequence panel that appears at he bottom of the screen, while the chevron icon tucks away the settings panel on the left.

Screenshots of the buttons for hiding certain UI elements of Magma.

You can also hide Magma’s UI entirely. The only thing that will be visible is your canvas and you’ll still be able to draw. The default keyboard shortcut for this is TAB but if you don’t have a keyboard connected, you can set a touch gesture to this action through your Application settings.

First open your Edit menu from the canvas, and select Application settings. Go to the Touch tab, choose which gesture to assign, and set it to Toggle UI. In the example below, this action is assigned to four-finger tap.

Hiding the UI of Magma on a smartphone

Customize your toolbar

A recent feature that was added to Magma is the ability to customize your toolbar. On smartphones, the list of tools often goes beyond the available screen space, which means that you might have a hard time getting to certain things, like the Comment function. So why not hide some of the items you seldom use.

Open the Application settings through the Edit menu and go to the Toolbar tab. Here you can tap and drag items to rearrange them. If you scroll down a bit, you'll be able to drag items down into the 'hidden' column.

Don't worry; those hidden items will still be easily accessible through the More tools icon (three dots) in your toolbar.

Use a drawing tablet

Drawing with only a finger on a screen is challenging for anyone. If you’re using an Android phone though, many screenless drawing tablets today are Android compatible.

Some tablets will use the full drawing area in vertical orientation, while others cut off a portion of the tablet’s active area so that it’s more in line with the phone’s screen size ratio. Consult your user manual for the specific details on how to use your tablet with a phone.

Using a drawing tablet connected to a smartphone to draw in Magma.

Did you know: there are even a few pen display tablets that are compatible with some Android phones? For example, the Wacom One will work with some phones that can output video but only if they have USB 3.1 with DisplayPort 1.2.

Use a wireless keyboard

Magma offers a lot of keyboard shortcuts to speed up how you work. Even if you are drawing on a phone, you can still take advantage of these with a wireless keyboard attached.

Simple things like changing between tools and adjusting your brush settings can be done without needing to toggle your UI back on. Being able to use Alt for your eyedropper is a bit more effective than a long press of the finger.

A wireless keyboard connected to a smartphone for accessing shortcuts in Magma.

Get a phone stand

If you’re going to be using a drawing tablet and a keyboard with your phone, another valuable addition could be stand to prop it up at a better angle.

One thing to keep in mind though is that if you still want to use touch gestures and tap around on the screen, then the stand needs to be sturdy enough to handle that.

A phone stand makes drawing on your phone more comfortable if you have a drawing tablet connected.

With all these different tactics combined, you’ll have yourself a pretty neat mobile setup that will make drawing online a breeze no matter where you are. Happy painting!

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