Review: Artisan


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Jul 5, 2008
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Review: Artisan by Elements of Design
Artisan is a graphics program that is by the same creators as Spawn Illuminati (previously reviewed). Basically, I describe these ?style? of programs as ?free flowing random app art programs?. The concept is simple ? brushes move across the screen randomly, leaving patterns behind them. You can control the all variables of the brushes to some degree, allowing you to create some interested patterns and ?artwork?.

There are six variables you can control, using pinching/spreading motions on various parts of the screen ? transparency, brush width, color cycle speed, speed, number of bushes, and color. It can take a while to get used to the controls ? remembering where to pinch or spread on the screen was time consuming for me, and brings up a point that I made with Spawn Illuminati ? I wish there was a way to get the ?help? screen to appear again. You see it when you initially start the app (and thankfully, it doesn?t disappear after a timed interval). But once you are ?creating?, there is no way to bring it back (or pause).

There is no way to stop an art project, so if you are happy with your picture, you need to act fast (as it is always changing). Tapping with three fingers on the screen will take a snapshot of the current canvas and add it to your photo roll. If you are unsatisfied, shaking the iPhone or a four fingered tap will erase and start over.

I wish there really was a way to save a work in progress, restore one to continue to work on it, or pause/stop the drawing the think about what you may want to do. Without those feature, I feel like that all you are doing is being reactive to what you see, not really controlling or designing anything with a clear goal in mind. However, it can be fun to just watch the app go to work, but again, you are limited. There is no way to randomize the variables so that they change over time ? if you leave the settings just to watch, they will remain that way unless you change them again. So it seems to be stuck between being a real art program you can control and a random variable program just to watch (and relax with). Having said that, I still found it entertaining using it both ways.

  • able to produce some nice graphic images
  • the method the controls work is simple

  • control layout can take a while to learn
  • not ability to save/restore work
  • no ability to randomize variables

All in all, this is a fun app to play around with, but without some of the features I mentioned I don?t really think it is a long term use app ?more like one you may play with for an hour, then come back a couple of weeks later and play with again for an hour. The price is not bad - $.99, so if it sounds like something you think you would enjoy, give it a shot. For ?serious? artists, however, the lack of saving/restore features may hinder attempts to create artwork. Three and out of five stars.

Rating scale:

* = No redeeming qualities or features, probably not worth it even if it is free
** = Few redeeming qualities, or is simply isn't worth the price
*** = Some good features but also some clear flaws.
**** = A solid app, worth the money if interested, a few flaws or problems or slightly overpriced
***** = Top of the line app, no problems or drawbacks.

Price is factored into the ratings. Ratings are lowered if I feel the price of the app outweighs the benefits/enjoyment/features it provides. Likewise, an app that is a good value for the money will have a higher rating.

If you have this app or buy it, feel free to post any nice images you make on this thread!

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