Developer: Mindbrix
Price: $4.99
Version: 1.0.4
App Reviewed on: iPod Touch 4, iPad 2

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

Overall Rating: ★★★½☆

The fact that, upon first launch, Vectoria opens up with the dense 19-page users manual should be a warning that this application is not for the faint of heart. The manual and included video tutorials are a recent addition to the app, likely due to numerous reviewer comments about how unfathomable the drawing controls are. The developers clearly tried their best to painstakingly explain how to draw arcs and lines, and manipulate the color and opacity controls. The reality is that most users, myself included, will skip over this material and want to give the program a shot right off the bat.

Vectoria has sort of a spartan intrigue to it, and feels so bizarre and esoteric that it makes me want to try and understand it because it looks so highly technical and cool. The triangular-shaped drawing pen/puck/turtle object in the middle of the screen reminded me of a 1980’s Space Invaders type arcade game, but less pixelated. By manipulating the pen, a user can create any number of lines and arcs, set color and opacity, and duplicate this micropattern into a beautiful geometric form.

Once a drawing is completed, it can be easily shared via email, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, attached to email, saved to the Photo Album, or exported to PDF. This is one function of the app that is clear and makes total sense.

This is not a pick-up-and-go type of app and certainly not for the ADHD among us. In order to truly tap into Vectoria’s power, a user has to really read the instructions and practice a bit to get the hang of the interface tools. It bears little (if any) resemblance to other vector-based drawing software, such as Adobe Illustrator, so the faster those usage conventions are forgotten, the better. I got pretty frustrated the first few times I used it, and went back to load a few of the examples so I could try out some of the features the app claimed to have.

Usability difficulties aside, Vectoria does a lot with interaction controls designed for mathematical drawing, such as the Luminance and Hue section fans. The controls – once understood – seem very usable for small-format drawing, and could possibly represent a new paradigm in vector-based design on a small screen using gesture-based interaction.

Vectoria’s biggest weakness is that the controls are simply not intuitive; many of the conventions used in popular drawing programs have been abandoned in favor of its über-minimalistic style, and this causes usability to suffer. Reviewers in the iTunes App Store seem to agree that Vectoria’s steep learning curve really diminishes the enjoyment a casual user might get, and this major flaw will need to be corrected before Vectoria becomes “the best line art generator on the planet”.

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