Tips and tricks to level up your Magma game

2022-10-25T13:50:57+0000 · 5min read
Ryan Allan author image
Ryan Allan Artist and content writer | Reviews digital art tech | Paints under the name Eyekoo | Dreams of torii gates with his morning coffee
Tips and tricks to level up your Magma game cover image

While it is nice to take your time with a painting, a looming deadline will call for you to shift gears and speed things up. Below are a few tips and tricks to help you get more done in little less time.

Drawing straight lines

If you want to draw straight lines, there’s an easy way to do that simply by holding down your Shift key.

  1. Tap a starting point for your stroke so that Magma knows where to start your line.
  2. Hover your pen over to the end point for your line.
  3. Tap down while holding shift and a line will be created between your two points.

Create straight lines in Magma by tapping a point on the canvas, and then tap again while holding shift at the end point.

Locking alpha opacity

After putting down flat color, you may be wondering how to paint without going beyond the edges of that shape. You can do this by checking the alpha opacity block next to your layer’s opacity bar.

If you want to draw on another layer above your existing painted layers, you can create a clipping group. With your new layer selected, tap the Toggle clipping group downward pointing button in the top bar of your layers panel. Ctrl+Alt+G is the shortcut for this.

Now paint will only appear on the canvas on top of existing paint from the layer below.

Stay with your shapes by locking the alpha opacity or creating a clipping group.

Moving any layer without having to select it

There is an easy way to move the contents of different layers without having to go through each layer in your panel to figure out which is the correct one. 

Just select your Move tool (Hotkey: V) and, while holding down Ctrl, click and drag on the contents that you want to move. 

How to import a PDF into Magma

If you want to bring in the pages of a PDF document into Magma, you can do that while keeping each page as a separate canvas.

  1. Open a new canvas from your Artdesk or Artspace.
  2. Click or tap the icon on the bottom left toolbar to bring up your multiboard.
  3. Drag and drop your PDF onto the multiboard panel.
  4. You can remove the first canvas from the sequence by selecting the option from its hamburger menu or delete it from the File menu.

You can even import PDFs into the multiboard in Magma. Each page will be a new board in the sequence.

I want to sync my PSD files (Blaze users only)

In a studio environment or working with a team, you might frequently need to bring updated PSD files into Magma after getting feedback from a client or art director. Provided the filename remains the same, you can easily do this without creating a new file to sort in your Artspace or Artdesk.

  1. Export a file as a layered PSD from Magma by opening the File menu and Exporting as PSD.
  2. Work on your file in Photoshop or other PSD-compatible software.
  3. Save your work as PSD.
  4. Drag and drop your PSD file from your device onto your Magma canvas to update it.

You can sync your PSDs in Magma by simply dragging and dropping it from your machine onto your canvas.

Two-column mode

If you’ve got a bunch of layers that you need to switch through, it might be helpful to split your side panel into two columns.

  1. Select the gear icon on the bottom right of your color wheel
  2. Select two-column mode. 

Expand your right panel with two-column mode.

How do I lock the transform tool and scale an image evenly?

When you select the Transform tool and try to scale by dragging one of the corners, you may notice the selected area become narrower or wider than you want it to be. To keep the same proportions, simply hold down the Shift key while you drag the corner to lock the ratio.

Push and hold shift while using the transform tool to scale your object evenly in Magma.

What is the Full brush mode in Magma?

We have created a few different modes of brush settings to suit different needs. When you select the Full mode, you will notice some additional settings that you can tweak.

Brushes work as a series of stamped shapes. The round brush for example is just a circle stamped in very close succession that gets smaller as you release the pressure. The spread, spacing and color dynamics settings let you adjust how those stamps of the brush shape behave. These are great to play with for adding variety to your brush strokes.

  • Spread
    This will create stamps of your brush shape around your cursor. The larger the number, the further out your stamps will appear. 

    While the lock symbol shows next to the slider, the spread will be uniform in all directions. Clicking on that will unlock it and separate the spread into two parts to adjust: normal (to the sides) and tangent (in direction of your line
  • Spacing
    Increasing this value will create a larger space between each stamp of your brush shape. The smaller the value, the closer together the stamps are and the more solid your line will look.
  • Color - foreground-background jitter
    With this setting active, the brush stamp color will jitter between the foreground color and background color located above the left corner of your color wheel. Increasing this value will determine what percentage of the time the background color will stamp as you make a line.

    If you check the box next to this bar, the percentage will increase based on how much pressure you apply.
  • Color jitter
    Color has 3 components to it: hue, brightness, and saturation. You can create jitter for each of these elements to different degrees and each stamp of the brush shape will vary according to those settings.

    Increasing the hue jitter will create some variation in hue around your selected color as you make a stroke. With brightness adjusted, the value will jitter around based on the percentage increased. The same applies with saturation.

Brush dynamics in Magma will give your brush strokes more variety and texture. You can change the spacing, and hue, saturation and brightness jitter.

Touch gestures in Magma

We have a range of touch gestures for our iPad users to improve your creative experience in Magma.

  • Double-tap single finger: flips canvas
  • Two-finger tap: undo
  • Three-finger tap: redo
  • Two finger drag: pan the canvas
  • Long one-finger press: eyedropper
  • Three-finger drag: changes opacity and size of selected tool
  • Double-tap single finger: flips the canvas

These are the default touch settings, but you can make changes through the Application settings in the Edit Menu.

Tablet users painting in Magma will also have an array of convenient touch gestures.

Use part of your canvas as your Magma avatar

  1. Pick either the rectangle, circle, or lasso selection tool. 
  2. Grab an area of your canvas.
  3. In the tool setting bar below your color wheel, select Set as avatar.

You can set a part of your Magma canvas as your avatar.

Useful application settings

  • Create new layer when pasting images
    By default, images that you drag and drop onto the canvas will load on your current layer. If you want to have it on a new layer instead, you can change this in the application settings under the General tab.

    Edit > Applications > General > Create new layer when pasting
  • Keep current tool when switching tool presets
    Checking this setting will make it easier to switch between variations of your currently active tool rather than changing to the last tool used with that preset.

There are some useful settings you might want to change in Magma like what happens when you paste an image on to the canvas.

Editing shortcuts

While Magma has most of its keyboard shortcuts set to match those of other industry-standard software, you can customize them to suit your workflow. From the Edit menu, go to your Application Settings and then the Shortcuts tab.

Here you will find shortcuts for various elements including your tools, layers, view, etc.

You can edit the keyboard shortcuts for various elements of Magma to suit your workflow.


We’re constantly developing Magma to be one of the most powerful collaborative tools in your workflow. If you have suggestions for features that would help us towards that, and ultimately help you as well, then be sure to connect with us through the Request Feature option in the Help menu in your canvas.

If you’d like see more of how Magma can work for your studio, you can book a demo session with our team.

Ryan Allan author image
Ryan Allan Artist and content writer | Reviews digital art tech | Paints under the name Eyekoo | Dreams of torii gates with his morning coffee
Related articles
Ryan Allan · 2023-08-15T10:38:30+0000
How to use Magma on your smartphone
Even though Magma wasn't designed with small phone screens in mind, there are a few different things you can do to become a mobile drawing champion.
Ryan Allan · 2023-08-15T10:26:21+0000
Better drawing on small screens in Magma
If you're using Magma on a small screen, you might loose some precious drawing area to different UI elements. Thankfully, there are some ways you can reduce this and make the drawing experience far more comfortable.
Ryan Allan · 2023-07-24T08:59:52+0000
How to set up your Wacom tablet for drawing in Magma
Wacom offers a lot of room to customize your tablet to suit your specific workflow. In this guide, we'll look at some of the ways you can set up your tablet for drawing and painting online in Magma.
Ryan Allan · 2023-07-17T13:23:24+0000
Magma Classroom LIVE recap - Value Study - 3 & 6 July 2023
Another week in the Magma Classroom as we sharpen those digital painting skills with various subjects. This week, we're revisiting one of the core elements of painting: Values.
Magma · 2023-07-17T13:11:33+0000
Magma Classroom LIVE recap - Helmet studies - 26 & 29 June 2023
Another week and another subject to study as we sharpen our digital painting skills in the Magma Classroom. After covering the fundamentals in earlier classes, we now take a look at painting shiny helmets.
Ryan Allan · 2023-06-26T11:41:35+0000
Magma Classroom LIVE recap - Mushrooms - 12 & 15 June 2023
Another week and another subject to study as we sharpen our digital painting skills in the Magma Classroom. We’ve already covered the fundamentals of painting in our first set of live streams, and in this one we're doing a study of some cool-looking mushrooms.
Ryan Allan · 2023-06-12T13:07:11+0000
Painting stone skulls - Magma Classroom LIVE recap
Here is a quick recap of our recent Magma Classroom LIVE sessions where we make learning art multiplayer. These weekly sessions are aimed at helping beginner digital artists with their painting skills, while giving more experienced ones the opportunity to try painting something different.
Ryan Allan · 2023-06-12T12:56:54+0000
Magma Classroom LIVE Recap - Painting Foil Balloons
Welcome to the Magma Classroom LIVE where we paint online together to grow our digital art skills. In this week's one-hour study sessions, we looked at painting foil balloons.
Ryan Allan · 2023-05-31T12:03:32+0000
Join our weekly community drawing hangout: the Magma Clubhouse
Want to draw online with new friends? Then join our weekly community hangout: the Magma Clubhouse. Each week we pick a new theme the canvas, invite our users to help us fill it, and live stream the whole thing.
Ryan Allan · 2023-05-31T04:56:35+0000
Magma Classroom Recap - Clouds - 22 & 25 May
A quick summery of our last set of Magma Classroom live streams where we chose clouds as the subject of our study. It was a challenge to paint them well within the time, but our artists produced great results.
Ryan Allan · 2023-05-05T15:23:18+0000
Get your start in digital painting with the Magma Classroom live stream series
It can be overwhelming when you get started in digital painting and see just how much you need to learn to make great images, and that’s why we started the Magma Classroom sessions.
Magma · 2023-05-04T18:01:08+0000
Magma AI Closed Beta Team | Join the team and try the NEW Features!
Join the Magma AI Closed Beta Team and be among the first to experience our cutting-edge features!
Magma · 2023-05-01T21:37:32+0000
Revitalize Your Creative Workflow This Spring with Magma: The Ultimate Tool for Streamlined Collaboration
Spring, the season of rejuvenation and new beginnings, presents an excellent opportunity for creative studios to revamp their workflows. It's time to declutter your creative process with Magma!
Ryan Allan · 2022-10-25T07:32:19+0000
New to Magma? Some tips and questions answered
Answering some of the frequent questions from beginners about how to use Magma, and some tools to make things easier.
Magma · 2022-09-15T09:43:14+0000
Rogue Rascals: A Magma© ComicBook
Are you interested in learning how to draw comic books with your remote team? Watch this talk by Pitch Dev Studios, which presents the use of predefined shapes – a co-developed feature in Magma.
Magma · 2022-09-15T08:42:27+0000
How to build engagement with game designers community
Check out this great creative idea to make the fans of the games created by the studio feel valued and to influence and inspire the artists whose projects they appreciate.
Magma · 2022-09-15T07:54:56+0000
Inventing and rendering environments
The environment design process is entirely different from drawing portraits, designing vehicles, weapons, working on characters, or designing costumes. This significant element of art constitutes an integral part of any video game or animation project. Find example of an environmental art collaboration created jointly in Magma.
Magma · 2022-09-15T07:46:55+0000
The Importance of Learning How to Draw Textures
Learning how to draw from a mentor, art supervisor, or colleague is an excellent way to master your craft. Once you know the basics, it can be difficult to level up without feedback from someone experienced in the field. Find great example of periodic workshops conducted at Magma.
Magma · 2022-09-15T06:47:57+0000
Magma talks Webcomics – Laurel Pursuit, Brandon Chen, Dylan Telano (CEO of
Do you wonder what the impact of Magma in the Webcomics industry is? Find out by watching our first interview with the incredibly creative people who are the founders of Laurel Pursuit Studios.
Ryan Allan · 2022-09-14T10:39:34+0000
10 creative things to do with artists in Magma
Do more than just draw with friends in Magma. Here are ten creative things you can do with fellow artists to engage your audiences and start your next awesome project.
Ryan Allan · 2022-09-13T02:08:57+0000
Building a daily drawing habit
Setting out to draw every day can be an exciting New Year resolution, but it can be hard to stick with. Where do you find the time? What do you draw? What if you miss a day? What if I fail? These are questions you might face regularly on your journey. This post has some answers and tips to help you succeed if you are wondering how to build a daily drawing habit to level up your skills.
Ryan Allan · 2022-09-09T05:04:18+0000
Practical tips to grow your social media following with digital art
With so much content out there it can be difficult to get noticed. We have some practical tips to grow your social media following with digital art.
Witold Rosiak · 2022-09-06T09:00:00+0000
Magma Talks with illustrator Shauna Lynn
Inspiring interview with Shauna Lynn. Learn what a typical workday for a book illustrator looks like, how to deal with deadline pressure, where to look for inspiration and how to develop your own unique artist style to increase your chances of working in the digital art industry.
Witold Rosiak · 2022-06-22T09:00:00+0000
Advisor Announcement - Michel Besner
Magma is honored to announce longtime creative leader Michel Besner is joining our Advisory Board, bringing more than 20 years of experience in the development and marketing of innovative solutions in various fields such as digital twins, business intelligence, social media & news analytics, 2D & 3D animation for television, visual effects and video games.
Karolina Murawska · 2022-04-25T09:00:00+0000
The Superhero Project
Have you ever wondered if your art can have a huge impact on someone’s life? Well, it CAN! We invite YOU to join our campaign and draw a superhero character for a deserving child. Learn more about The Superhero Project
Magma · 2021-09-07T09:00:00+0000
Collaborative Drawing Contest
Grab your team of 3, and unleash imagination with the Magma Challenge. Show off your creativity and win 3 Wacom One Pen Displays for your crew + 1 year of Magma Pro
× Sign up Log in Home Features overview AI Assistant Pricing Enterprise Artists' Guild Help Center Join Magma Discord Contact us Status Press Kit