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APP REVIEW: YOU DOODLE

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So we've reviewed apps for pictures and drawing, but what about apps that allow you to DRAW on photos!!? (It's ok, I'll give you a minute to let your head stop spinning.) That's right. While some of the apps we've reviewed so far allowed the ability to draw on photographs, it was more of a bundled feature than the entire focus of the app itself.

This week we've stumbled across You Doodle, an app that shatters modern paradigms and gives you the unrelenting power to... I'm just kidding, it's like MS Paint for your iPhone.

YD1

When you first open You Doodle your greeted with a very brief tutorial outlining very basic instructions on navigating through the app itself. This is a great start, especially to an app that offers the ability to add layers, effects, frames, filters, etc.

I tend to favor this a little bit more than the trial and error method of familiarizing yourself with an app. While it doesn't eliminate it completely, it definitely points you in the right direction.

YD2

Another thing unique to You Doodle is the built in access to tutorial videos on a wide array of topics, relating to navigating through all the effects and features of the app. The only downside is that these tutorials have no sound or narration. While I can appreciate the brevity of this approach, it makes the whole walkthrough seem a bit empty. I feel like it's more difficult to retain information when I'm memorizing steps, as opposed to a description on how the process actually works.

YD3

When I started to play with the features in this app, something about You Doodle felt incredibly 90's. A lot of the stock art/images gave off a really strong AOL vibe and felt really dated. I kept conjuring the high pitched screeches of a 50k modem dialing-up in the back of my mind while I was playing with You Doodle.

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One thing I enjoyed about You Doodle was that it offered segmented frames, allowing you to individually select each section to place additional images, which are automatically masked-out to fit the selected pieces of the frame. This means you don't have to crop each individual image you'd like to use, the app does it for you.

YD5

After peeking through the frames, I found this lovely 4-square frame and filled it with what appears to be a blue Star Of David pattern to holster my gigantic skull. With three additional empty slots, instead of tormenting you with additional pictures of my pug fugly mug, how about we use three pictures of my "friends" instead?

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Yup. There we go... just me and a couple of my "buddies". So now that this picture is jam-packed with 4 schlubby studs rocking nappy hair, lets get to the drawing aspect, shall we?

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What's this? Can't have a "free" app these days without a hidden charge lurking somewhere in the shadows. You Doodle waits for you to play with its features, then when you want to save/work on your picture, it drops the bomb you need to pay $3 to unlock all it's features. While it isn't THAT steep, I already blew all my walkin' money on last week's review, so I'll pass. Lets decline and see what we can make do for free.

YD8

Oh c'mon You Doodle, desperation is always unattractive, not to mention you're only reinforcing the AOL comparison. When you decline to pay anything to unlock these low-end features, You Doodle gives you two new options. Pay $2 instead, or annoy all of your friends on Facebook about how awesome You Doodle is.

YD9

Now that Jeff Soto and his ceramic pig hate me, we can FINALLY start drawing.

This picture of me and my fellow He-bro's kind of looks like a cheesy album cover... and what's the cheesiest from of music to gain popularity in the past 30 years? If you answered by saying Third Wave Ska, then you're correct. Unfortunately I couldn't think of a ska band name callous enough to highlight what unifies the four of us (besides our luscious locks of hair) so we're going with Hair Metal.

YD10Oy Vey!

Every asset placed onto your image has two bright green buttons that let you to scale and rotate your selections. You Doodle also allows the ability to zoom into your image which is slightly more difficult. Zooming requires two fingers on the screen at the SAME time, the slightest delay in coordination results in accidentally drawing on the screen. This became problematic because I spent more time coordinating my fingers and hitting undo than I did with actually drawing.

After giving our band name an edgy tilt to express our inner rage, I realized our lead singer in the lower right corner isn't looking at the camera. (Come now, we're not an emo band) Let's fix that with a couple of stickers shall we?

YD11

You Doodle offers "Stamps" to place onto your images. These run the gamut from Flags, to tattoos, to animals, etc. All of which give you the ability to spice up your images (or make your friends look crazy). I prefer the later, so using a couple of strategically placed googly eyes, our curly haired songster now has a creepy stare so intense, it would make Kevin DuBrow proud.

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While our combined lack of masculinity and tasty pouts are painfully obvious, we all still look like men. This is a huge no-no in the Hair Metal genre, so lets change that with the Pen tool.

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The Pen Tool allows you to change the fill, width, opacity, and color to your liking. It also offers different drawing effects such as spray paint, chalk lines, and color fills. I know this might just be me, but when I look at the icons, it irks me to see they all look like random stock art images thrown together without cohesion as opposed to a uniform set.

YD14

When accessing the color picker, I was pleasantly surprised. The settings for some of You Doodle's features are a bit of a jump from the rest of the app itself in terms of design. The UI to adjust the technical aspects of your selected tool feel streamlined and modern, compared to other aspects of the app itself. It's a shame it's almost hidden.

After getting the hang of the Pen tool, I decided to have at it and attempt to make me and my bandmates look more "glamorous". So how did the cover to our eponymous debut album turn out?

YD15

Yikes. We look like a bunch of drag-queens with a complete and total disregard for fashion... just like Poison! (Although I have to admit, this picture makes a strong case for me to wear guy-liner.) So how does our Hair Metal album cover look printed on wood?

YD17

With timeless tracks such as "Goys, Goys, Goys", "Dr. Spielgood", and "Nosh at the Deli", be sure to look for this record in the bargain bin at your local Goodwill!

So now it's time to figure out whether or not You Doodle was kosher.

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With all the stamps, frames, effects, and the ability to create online drawing jam sessions with your friends, You Doodle is a fun app. Unfortunately the drawing tools felt a bit clumsy. You Doodle features the pixel dimensions at the top of the screen, and even though my image was 1500 x 1500 in scale, the tiniest pen selection drew with the width and precision of an oversized kindergarten crayon.

While I liked where they were trying to go with this app, the look and feel of You Doodle is a little hodge-podged, chock full of stock art elements aped straight out of Windows 94. The premise of You Doodle has a lot of promise, but I feel the finished project needed a little polishing. When researching the app itself before beginning my review, I assumed You Doodle would handle like a mix between PicsArt and Pages, but once I got the ball rolling, it felt more like playing with KidPix at the Elementary School computer lab 22 years ago.

Keeping with that theme, I highly recommend You Doodle to kids or people with children. The features offered in the app itself seem like a fun/clean way to create images to send to Grandma, or print out for school projects. The look and feel of the final images you create in You Doodle seem like they're more suited to produce at home on the family printer, as apposed to any professional form of printing.

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For more information on You Doodle, please visit: http://youdoodle.net/

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