My signature


Yesterday, after reading some rave reviews online, I decided to grab Paper by 53, a new drawing app for the iPad. I've tried lots of drawing apps because both myself and my son like to doodle using the iPad with a stylus (even though I personally suck at drawing). Paper is somehow really different - the smoothing engine is just insanely good. They call it the Expressive Ink Engine, and I don't know whether that simply means turning on a rounding algorithm to "high" and leaving it there, or if it's actually something really different, but the results are pretty amazing.

Before the DrawSomething's CEO was such an ass to his ex-employee and I deleted the game, I was enjoying playing it and decided to use one of the other drawing programs (like Adobe Ideas or AutoDesk's SketchBook) to 'practice' a bit, and it's amazing the difference a smoothing algorithm can make. What were horrible chicken scratches in DrawSomething - which did nothing to help the end user with their strokes, became a drawing with fluid curves, softer lines and more delicate arcs.

Paper seems to take this to another level all together. Though I *hate* the landscape-only mode it has, the default pen (I haven't spent a dime on the app yet - you can buy more features) is amazing. After just a few practice tries, I was able to write my signature (above) and it came out truly Disney-esque. I sent it to Facebook and got a "Wow!" and a "what font is that?" (the latter I think was a joke. ;-)). I love it so much that I'm now using it as the logo on my site. I also drew a 'logo' for my domain I own and haven't decided what to do with yet. It's not clean enough to be a real logo, but it's about 90% of what I was looking for, but was never able to really create using any other drawing app on the desktop or on the iPad.

Very cool stuff - it's amazing what incremental improvements to an idea can eventually create. If you had asked me two days ago whether there'd be ways to make a drawing app better than Ideas or SketchBook, I would have said, "I doubt it." A line is a line, right? There's only so much you can do with a unskilled hand like my own. Or so I thought...


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