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IPAD APP REVIEW: PAPER by 53

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So far we've primarily reviewed photo apps for the iPhone, but if you've browsed our website, then you know we also sell fine art prints as well. I've noticed that more traditional artists struggle when trying to make the transition from a finished painting/drawing into a digital image. Most of the time the image is scanned into a computer, and if you're really old fashioned, sometimes it's photographed (hence the printing term "camera-ready art").

Sure you can create an illustration entirely in Illustrator (or Photoshop if you're a sadist), but if you're more familiar with pens, pencils, and paint brushes, trading them in for a mouse and a keyboard forces you to confront a soul crushing learning curve.

That's what I love about Paper, it's perfect for artists who want to dip their toe into the ocean of digital illustration. It's even fun for those more well versed with creating vector based illustrations (like myself). Paper includes all the fun of drawing with pencils, pens, markers, and paint brushes just minus all the mess. Using your iPad as a canvas, Paper is basically a digital sketchbook.

When you open the app you notice a series of sketchbooks. The first one reads like a "How To" displaying all the wonderful possibilities this app can offer. The rest are blank. Paper allows you to name each sketchbook, and customize the cover with an image from your iPad's camera roll.

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As you can see, I've barely opened the app and things have already started to get fancy! After creating a Prints On Wood notebook, it's time for us to test this sucker out.

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Since I haven't drawn anything yet, my POW notebook is blank, but that's about to change very quickly. The base app is free, but only allows you to use 2 tools at the start, a fountain pen and a eraser. Paper offers several add-on's such as a color-mixer, pens, pencils, and paint brushes you can unlock at $2 bucks a pop.

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Even though I'm normally turned-off by pay features in an app, Paper had so much promise I gladly handed over my money to unlock these features. All-in-all unlocking every feature rounds out to about $8. I know that might sound a bit steep, but once you see all the fun there is to be had by unlocking these tools, it feels like a small price to pay for such a dynamic app.

For this review, I'm going to draw a picture of myself. I'm going to start with the Pencil Tool and select a very light grey color to sketch out a rough draft of my ugly mug.

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Unfortunately, I left my stylus at home the day of this review, so I had to use my fat finger. I felt that I was at a disadvantage getting started, but I soon realized that the controls are incredibly smooth and responsive. The only problem I experienced was having an incredibly sore finger/hand after a few minutes, so I definitely recommend using a stylus.

Now after getting the basic outline of my abnormally large skull drafted out. I selected the Outline Marker to sketch a fat black line around my fat head.

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After using the Outline Marker, I used the Fountain Pen to illustrate all the unflattering details in my drawing.

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After getting the screen of my iPad nice and smeary with all the wild hairs I drew on my homeless sailor beard and skull bush, I decided it's time to color this bad boy in.

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Although I was unable to capture it, Paper has a handy Undo/Redo tool that involves placing two fingers on the screen and swiping them in a counter clock wise motion to Undo unwanted actions. If you're like my brother (who's master of the Over-Rewind technique when watching movies), rotate your two fingers in a clockwise fashion to cue up your drawing to Redo anything you might have undone accidentally.

Now lets take a look at my finished illustration after using the Watercolor Brush and Color-Mixer.

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Wow... now I know how many a disappointed girl felt. It's like you can almost smell the Axe Deodorant!

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Paper allows you to share your final images on Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, in addition to saving the image on your iPad or sending it in an e-mail. The only downside (if you want to call it that) is that Paper's final images aren't incredibly hi-rez,. The largest wood print you're going to be able to print at is about 8x10.

Speaking of, lets take a look at the final image in glorious full color on Bright White.

PAPER6Yeah, I know, I forgot to draw the double chin and about +40 lbs., but I'm working with an iPad mini here, so give me a break!

So how did Paper stack up?

RATING

Although the subject material was a tad... uh.... unconventional, Paper was an amazing app! The controls are perfect. There were little details that made every penny spent on each tool completely worth it. The Watercolor Brush would overlap naturally if you took your finger off the iPad and put it back to paint again, the Pencil Tool would draw a squiggly granite line, and the Fountain Pen would draw a thin line with a little swipe, and thicker, tapered line with longer swipes. Every tool available worked like it's real life counterpart.

When I come home from work, I like to unwind with some doodles to get all the silly ideas out of my head at the end of the day, and Paper makes me watch the clock anticipating that moment ever since I've downloaded it. In conclusion, Paper is a must have for anyone who can turn a sharpened pencil and a sheet of paper into hours of fun.

For more information on Paper, please visit: http://www.fiftythree.com/paper

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