Developer: FiftyThree
Price: FREE
Version Reviewed: 1.0.6
Device Reviewed On: iPad 2

iPhone Integration Rating: ★★★★☆
User Interface Rating: ★★★★½
Re-use Value Rating: ★★★★½

Overall Rating: ★★★★½

Paper by FiftyThree encapsulates what the iPad is all about. It’s absolutely beautiful to look at and is so easy to use that both young and old can get to grips with it quickly. Much like the first time I tried Zen Brush in an Apple store, Paper by FiftyThree is going to be a fantastic app to show off to people to demonstrate how fantastic a piece of technology the iPad is. That’s just from using it with an iPad 2, it must look all the more glorious on the latest iPad.

Paper by FiftyThree does for sketching and artistry as iA Writer does for the writer. It’s simple and unsullied by menu bars and buttons. Instead it’s all about expressing creativity.

The app opens up to reveal a selection of journals that are just crying out to be filled with ideas, just like a real journal does. Sure, the smell and feel isn’t there but everything else is as appealing. A gentle swipe helps the user navigate their way around with a pinching gesture closing the journal.

Actually putting pen/finger to paper/screen is simple and immediately effective. The app comes bundled with one pen – a fountain pen – that creates a thicker line of ink the faster the user moves their finger. This is a general all-purpose pen with the option of purchasing four other, more focused implements, covering writing, sketching, coloring and outlining. The fountain pen works well at covering all the bases, although a more specialist tool will be useful to those with specific needs. A selection of colors are available by swiping from the bottom of the screen to display the palette.

For undoing something in the app, Paper by FiftyThree uses an unique gesture in the form of the rewind function. Hold two fingers to the screen then move them counter-clockwise to reverse what has occurred. It’s effective but it does take a short time to remember. This isn’t helped by the fact that the tutorial, introduced at the start, is nowhere to be found once initially dismissed.

While that tutorial is hardly needed for the most part, a useful reference piece is always valued. Despite this blip, Paper by FiftyThree is impressive stuff. As a fan of putting ideas to real paper, I can understand an artist’s possible reservation, but this is a great way to quickly throw down some creativity. Sharing via Tumblr, Facebook and Twitter makes it all the more accessible for those who want to share ideas. Amongst my artist friends, I reckon showing off Paper by FiftyThree is going to convince some people to pick up an iPad as soon as possible.

Posted in: iPad Apps and Games, iPad Productivity, Reviews

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