As long as you aren't an artistic perfectionist, many drawing applications on the iTunes App Store can be a lot of fun. While drawing with a finger isn't the most accurate or a comfortable way of getting your ideas into visual form, for a quick doodle, it can be fun. For some, it might even bring you back to your kindergarten days when your parents think that a drawing of your dog is a rocket ship.
One of the newest drawing applications to hit the App Store is Flickbook, an old-school animation app from the developers of Bokeh and Misu, Ollie Wagner and Geof Pado. This is the way it was done before the days of computer-generated animations and 12 hand-drawn frames per second of animation. The results will give you something more reminiscent of Dr. Katz or The Simpsons circa the Tracey Ullman Show than today's Saturday morning cartoons.
The aim of Flickbook, not to be confused with FlipBook, is simplicity. The goal, the devs tell us, is for a user to be able to pick up the iPhone and go. To begin, you simply point and draw—a line follows your finger as you drag it across the screen. To create a new page, you simply touch the + sign that appears underneath the curled page once you begin drawing. After making a new page, the drawing on the last page is shown as an onion skin so the user can easily trace or judge where to make the next image in order to simulate movement. You can do this over and over again with no performance hit; the duo of programmers has used a different means of rendering the animations that involves very little memory footprint.
Drawing options are scarce; this was a conscious effort to keep things simple. While there aren't multiple brush sizes, an eraser, or even a plethora of colors, the developers do allow unlimited undo (just shake the iPhone) as well as color overlay, which allows for the creation of new colors through mixing and the darkening of present colors. Saving is somewhat unintuitively done by going to the "add document" icon in the upper right hand corner. Deleting a movie is done just like deleting an e-mail: by swiping a finger over the name from left to right.
There are three methods of playback: you can single-click the play button, which will lead to a steady playback of 12fps; double-click the play button, which will lock the movie in a loop; or you can scrub through the animations manually by dragging the slider through at the desired speed.
While the ability to save your creations and revisit them later is nice, the app's biggest downfall is the inability to export your animations. Since they are made up of multiple frames of still images, the movie can't simply be exported to the iPhone's camera roll. While this isn't a huge issue for everyone, for those who want to share their creations with people across the world, it may be a reason to wait for the next version of the software (according to the developers, the next version will include a means to share your creations). However, since it will be a free update, you could start playing now if this appeals to you.
Since simplicity was the name of the game in the development of this application, Wagner and Pado have certainly succeeded. For casual users, Flickbook will be more than enough to entertain. People who are really into this sort of thing will enjoy the app's performance, although they might miss some of the options present in more robust applications.
Name: Flickbook for iPhone (iTunes Link)
Publisher: Ollie Wagner and Geoff Pado