A Review by Jeremy Hardin
Colors! was created by Jens Anderson, a programmer and designer, as a prototype on the Nintendo DS back in 2007 and was intended to be a simple painting application. Shortly after, Rafal Piasek created the online gallery to which users could upload their paintings for everyone to see. About a year later, in September 2008, Colors! was released for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Fast forward to April 5, 2012 and Colors! 3D was released for the Nintendo 3DS. Which brings us to this review.
Now, in no way do I consider myself to be an artist, but I will say that I have countless hours of childhood experience drawing various cartoon characters both original and non-original. Obviously, I went into Colors! 3D knowing a thing or two about drawing and uh, colors? See the below screenshot for proof!
How much is that doggy in the window? arf !arf!
What, you want to see some colors? Okay, time to get serious.
Colors! 3D is a painting application that allows players to create 3D paintings by drawing on up to five different layers. Before we go any further, I want to assure you that Colors! 3D is for everyone, not just serious artists. So, whether you consider yourself the next Michelangelo, or you think your drawings look like they belong on your mothers refrigerator, Colors! 3D is for you. Think of it as a more than just a painting app, it’s a digital sketchpad. Oh, and it’s incredibly easy to use too!
This was my first drawing. Nothing special, just some mountains (which you can’t see due to my phone’s camera plus the colors I used), hills and a lake. I did use all 5 layers though and it looks nice in 3D.
Alright, so the interface is incredibly easy to learn and the buttons are even preset to whichever hand you hold the stylus with. I think the biggest draw to Colors! 3D is the ability to paint on the five different layers. Switching between layers is as easy as moving the circle pad left or right. As you switch between layers, they will pop or bounce for a second on the top screen indicating which layer is active. You even have the option of moving the order of your layers or deleting them altogether. You can hold down X to temporarily decrease your opacity as your paint and B to increase the opacity. Holding down Y brings up a color dropper which can be dragged across the bottom screen until you find the color you want. Accessing the color palette and options is done by simply pressing R. You can choose your color on the large color wheel, change brush type, size and opacity.
You also have access to 4 different tabs, in which you can clear the canvas, discard all your changes since the last save, flip x/y. The next option screen is just cool to look at it. This is the 3D options screen which views your painting from the side and separates all five layers, the active layer is highlight by a pink box. This is the screen from which you can reorder, delete, and hide layers. You also have the option to take a picture using your 3DS camera and use the picture in your painting as an overlay, background or even the foreground. In case you were wondering, Colors! 3D supports pictures from your SD card as well. You can even save your paintings to your sd card, awesome! Also included in Colors! 3D is Paint With Friends. This option allows you to share your paint session using Local Play only with another friend. Paint With Friends allows you to collaborate on a painting together, which I can see as being an entertaining experience, if not mischievous at times. I will leave the possibilities up to your imagination.
A few more key features worth taking note of are the undo feature, playback and online gallery. The undo feature allows you to undo every single stroke in the current session. This has come in handy for me several times now. The playback feature allows you to watch a playback of how you created your painting, stroke by stroke. You can even use this feature on paintings you download from the online gallery. This is great for people who want to learn how a painting was created. The online gallery is great and has several different categories for viewing paintings, but unfortunately, lacks a search function. In fact, that is my only gripe with the whole app and it really isn’t that big of a deal. However, in the future I hope they update the app to include a search function similar to what is on the website currently.
Concluding Overall Impressions
I am absolutely amazed at how much you can do with Colors! 3D and also of how much content is already on the gallery just from 3DS owners. Colors! 3D is a robust painting app ideal for both seasoned and fresh artists, with an extensive online gallery, multiplayer painting, several helpful tutorials and more. All this for the low price of $6.99? Color! me impressed!
Final Score: 5 out of 5
Okay, one more for all you Zelda fans. Check out the Temple of Time by user karl_nic, it is freaking sweet! You really should do yourself a favor and check out these paintings, they are quite impressive!