Inkist Review
iPad App
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Inkist Review

Our Review by Rob Rich on June 4th, 2013
Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: NEEDS WORK
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Inkist touts a "streamlined drawing experience" and compares itself to "advanced painting software," however in reality it's anything but.

Developer: Tai Shimizu
Price: FREE
Version: 1.0
App Reviewed on: iPad 3
iPad Integration Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarblankstarblankstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

Overall Rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar

One would think, looking at Inkist's screen shots and description, that it's an ideal app for digital illustrators. One with near-limitless potential and an extensive selection of tools to bring just about any idea to life. It probably would be an ideal app, too, if it weren't so difficult to actually use.

Inkist is an illustration app for the iPad, period, the end. There are quite a few brushes to use and adjust, as well as the option to customize them. Users can work in multiple layers, each of which can be moved and adjusted independently. They can create gradients and use blurring effects. Mistakes can be undone with the tap of a button or redone if it turns out they weren't really a mistake. It's a fairly extensive toolset that just about any skilled illustrator can put to good use.

As a drawing app, Inkist has tremendous potential. Simply being able to work in layers is fantastic in itself but having so much control over each brush and effect is also a major boon. It's pretty easy to create whatever is needed and save it to the toolbar, and it's also possible to save a number of different color swatches to keep pallets consistent. There are a number of shortcut gestures available as well, such as double-tapping with two fingers to automatically switch back and forth between brushes and erasers, each of which can be customized in the options so that users can create the interface that works best for them.

The problem with all this is that Inkist still feels unfinished. Well, either that or downright broken. Not only has it crashed on me while calculating blur effects (while taking forever, no less), it's also incredibly slow to use in general. There's a distinctly noticeable lag when drawing lines or filling shapes. Gesture controls are inconsistent at best; rarely zooming in or moving the view when intended, while simply drawing lines the rest of the time. Lines that take several taps of the Undo button to get rid of, by the way. Why it can't just undo the entire line is beyond me. And for all the options available, very few of them are presented in an even remotely intuitive way. For example, simply filling in the background requires going in to a layer's options and as far as I can tell it's impossible to move a bounding box directly: users have to redraw it in a new location instead.

I'm honestly shocked at how unnecessarily difficult Inkist is to use; both because of its unintuitive interface and its performance issues. There's bound to be an app out there that's perfect for turning one's iPad into a portable illustration table but this definitely isn't it.

iPad Screenshots

(click to enlarge)

Inkist screenshot 1 Inkist screenshot 2 Inkist screenshot 3 Inkist screenshot 4 Inkist screenshot 5
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