Saturday, 21 April 2012

REVIEW: Colours! 3D

Anyone with an iPhone or an iPod Touch will be familiar with Apps, little tools and games developed for the enjoyment of those seeking mindless fun. Granted, you'll find similar bite-sized nuggets of minimum to neutral to occassionally high enjoyment on various other handheld devices, but it seems the main sellers are those that support Apple's App Store, a virtual shopping centre stocked full of miniature games and tools. Over the years, the App Store has developed a massive range of apps, as you'd expect, but since anyone with at least a slight amount of programming knowledge can develop a piece of software to be metaphorically stocked on the virtual store shelves, not all of this stuff is of great quality. In fact, a lot of it is complete and utter crap which usually overwhelms the good stuff that never really succeeds. Granted, it is undeniably exciting to find a bite-sized piece of fantastic software that hasn't hit the mainstream, but one of the greatest strengths of the App Store is also its biggest weakness. As biased as it sounds, the Nintendo 3DS eShop isn't like that. Only titles that make it through quality control are made available to download by 3DS users, which makes for a much smaller, but overall higher quality range of downloads. A simple idea for an application is a drawing tool, many of which can be found on both downloadable stores mentioned above, albeit in a lower frequency on the 3DS. On Nintendo's side is Art Academy, which comes in the form of both a retail package and various downloads. On iPods and whatnot, however, there's a monumental amount of these tools, as you'd expect. However, there's one that stands above them all, and that, my friends, is Colours! 3D.
This gorgeous Hatsune Miku fanart might look amazing here, but you really should see it in eye-popping 3D. Credit to the artist of this image, I own nothing, in case you were wondering.
You only need to take a look at the artwork pictured above to know that Colours! 3D, is indeed a very impressive piece of software, yet somehow it manages to be fantastically simplistic in design. You'll get to grips with the tools and controls on offer within minutes, and will be creating mini-masterpieces (in full 3D, if you wish) not much later. Allow me to explain how the tools found in the application, briefly; After selecting a canvas (either widescreen, landscape or portrait), three brush types, as well as full size and opacity adjustments, countless colours, and of course an eraser tool, are avaiable. As anyone should know, these are the basic tools needed to create a masterpiece, but if you want to delve even deeper, a number of other settings are available. One of these is the tool exclusive to the 3DS version of Colours!, which is, as you'd expect, the function to make your drawings stereoscopic. 5 layers can be arranged, copied and deleted at will, so if you mess up the 3D it's extremely easy to fix. Speaking of fixing things, undo and redo buttons are also included in case you slip up or vice-versa. Alongside all of this, you can flip layers horizontally or vertically, and make use of various other easy to understand functions. It really couldn't be any simpler, but that doesn't mean it's basic in the slightest.

One of the biggest selling points of Colours! 3D is the inclusion of the ability to import photos and images from your 3DS camera, for tracing, reference, or inclusion in your pieces. Even if, like me, you're not great at drawing (clearly, my talent is in the writing medium!) this makes things so much easier. In essence, anyone who can hold a stylus should get Colours! 3D, and it's all thanks to this extremely helpful tool, as well as the simplistic design of the application. If art doesn't grab your interest, don't think you should write off Colours! as one not to purchase just yet. This downloadable package also includes an online gallery where you can view others' 3D creations, some of which are truly mesmerising. Granted, the gallery can also be found on the internet, albeit in only two dimensions. You can comment on pieces, 'Like' them, and check out the most popular works of the week, or all-time. It's the equivalent of Flipnote Studio's Hatena gallery, but not overcrowded with awful 'star-baiting'. Anyone who downloaded the free DSiWare application will know what I mean, and if you didn't then let's just say it's a very good thing that the Colours! gallery is perfectly sturdy. The only real downside to the 3DS gallery is that you can only view new or popular art. There's no search function, so the only way to access specific users' works is to use the website, or access their profiles through the comments of your own stuff. When it comes down to it, however, this is simply a tiny nit on the beautifully drawn coiffure of a lovely visage.

The application comes packaged with a number of pieces spanning different art-styles, if you're looking for some inspiration.
Colours! 3D is the best handheld drawing application I've ever used, and while there is an iOS version, the precision and extra functions of the 3DS makes this the definitive version. It's not a game, more a tool, so it won't grab the attention of every human being on the planet, but if you're interested in producing art, or simply viewing some truly stunning images in three-dimensions, you really can't go wrong with this. Colours! could be a retail title if the developers at Collecting Smiles were to release it that way, but the fact it's a £5.40 download is the icing on a very delicious cake, for those who aren't allergic to its ingredients. So yeah, in short, you should buy this if you like the look of it.


If you're interested in checking out some of the artwork produced on this wonderous drawing tool, give a visit. I like to plug things, you see.

1 comment:

Conor said...

Awesome stuff, as usual.

I totally need a 3DS.