Gary Bacon

Paper by FiftyThree for iPad Review

Paper by FiftyThree for iPad

App Review

Paper by FiftyThree is a beautiful app for iPad. The attention to detail is amazing. It is great for sketching or jotting down ideas. In this review we will look at the pristine interface, realistic brushes, color options, and other gesture features.

Solid Interface

The interface starts out with a “moleskine”-esque set of books. They can be then customized with a set of predefined covers or you can add your own photo.

Paper - Sketches Screen

As shown in the bacon image at the very top of this post, each book, once tapped on presents a spread of pages. Tap on a page to doodle. Then, to close a book, simply pinch out of a page and then pinch the pages shut.

Sharing is caring. And each page can shared via Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook. There is also an option to email a page as well.

Brush Engine

Over the course of time, I’ve tried various different sketch / note taking apps. This by far is the best brush engine that I’ve experienced. The app lets you purchase additional pens:

  • Draw – The “fountain pen” is smooth and varies in thickness. ( free and included )
  • Sketch – The “pencil” is great for lightly building up a sketch.
  • Outline – The “marker” is a bold thick brush. It is also slightly transparent.
  • Write – The “pen” is great for taking notes.
  • Color – The “brush” reminds me of watercolor. It builds up in thickness over itself.

The slight transparent qualities of some of the brush strokes, the “brush” giving a water color effect, and the varying thicknesses as you draw really gives it a polished effect. More than just notes but a realistic environment in which to sketch. Top notch.

Paper - Brushes

The image below links to a full-size version of a sketch:

Paper - Things To Do Sketch

Color Palette

Initially, the app has received some user feedback requesting the ability to choose custom colors as we are only presented with 9 predefined choices.

The limitation gives your sketch a “palette”. The colors work well together. And you can start to generate a theme or style to a book of sketches.

If anything, I could see creating multiple palettes for different books. But I love the simplicity already in place. Many times limitations can help us produce our most creative work. ( Think of a style guide, or technical design constraints, etc… )

Paper - Colors

Rewind to Undo

Apps that pay attention to the small details really get my attention. This app uses a lot of gestures. The most natural, yet ingenious one so far, has to be the two finger “rewind”.

Paper - Rewind

With two fingers on the screen, move counter-clockwise. An indicator comes up “rewinding” the strokes that were performed. You can also reverse the movement and “fast-forward” if you went back too far.

Easy. Natural. Amazing.

Highly Recommended

This app has been a joy to use. Download it, explore your world, and have fun.