Review of iPhone App: Scribble
I was in the doctor’s office today, and just as a Hobbit Hole means Comfort, a doctor’s office means Waiting.
So I pulled out my trusty iPhone looking for some diversion. After catching up on my Twitter feed, I looked around hungrily for something new. I scanned through the games section and tried to buy the Square-Enix iPhone Game only to be told to go bugger off because it was over 10mb in size and I wasn’t on a wifi network.
So I went through what apps I had locally, and decided to give the paint app I’d downloaded months ago a fair shakedown. I wasn’t too impressed with it in the past, but I didn’t spend more than a minute trying. And now I had all the time in the world… or at least in the office.
Unfortunately, my initial assessment was correct: MS Paint puts this app to shame.
In Scribble, you have a finite set of 11 color options. You cannot change them. And while I often will fight the fight of “very limited color palettes create superior art“, the limited color palettes I speak of aren’t 11 colors, and those colors aren’t straight out of the cheapest pack of crayons you can get.
It is not very much to ask that, at the least, palette slots be changeable. Even though there’s no default color picker widget in the iPhone’s api, there are sliders, and there is a handy-dandy keyboard/textfield interface in which you could type hex codes.
The tools provided are: smallish circle pen, medium circle pen, and large circle pen. And that’s it. No undo, no 1-pixel-size pen, no zoom, no anything other than three pens. While I admire simplicity in design, this goes beyond that. The tools you are given are limited without the ability to zoom in/out and undo mistakes. Without any sort of fine control, this app goes from having a variety of simple image editing/creation uses to being a simple finger-painting toy.
In the gallery below you will see a few examples showing the limitations of the program. The image with dots shows the three pen sizes. The image with large, drawn circles shows the limitations of the interface in picking up on quick movements (note how the circles are very polygonal). The images with logic gates drawn on them illustrates the inability to have much fine-grain control at all, and where a lack of undo/zoom really gets in the way of scribbling down some technical notes.
…Not that most people would really want to draw logic gates for back-of-the-napkin type scribbles, but I needed to draw something and no you may not have all of my extra-awesome secret plans.
One of the better design choices was to save to the Camera Roll, allowing all of your camera-picture-using apps to interface with your hastily drawn pieces of digital refridgerator art. Another nice bit of fun is that it allows you to load a picture from your camera roll as a base for you to scribble upon. This means you could snap a pic with the camera and draw crude cartoon bubbles with a very short word in it over your blokes, or (more likely) disembodied cocks jizzing all over them.
And, really, right there is the killer feature for Scribble.
In the below gallery I took the high road and painted over a picture of my best gal on my couch in a psuedo 80′s pop-deco style. The effect is only halfway there, though since the UI elements prevent me from getting the bottom of the picture covered.
The ui consists of several buttons that cover over the drawing area, and cannot be dismissed. You can get a good gander at it up above in the pineapple picture.
It sorta sucks, but you get what you pay for; This app is free.
If you want to scribble dicks and show them to people furtively at meetings, it will meet your every need and more!
If you want to scribble dicks upon pictures of people you know, this is your horse.
Otherwise, keep on trucking, sailor. Personally, I’m waiting for Deluxe Paint 2e to come to the iPhone…