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Thread: iPhone UI Suggestions

  1. #1

    iPhone UI Suggestions

    I only have an iPhone and have found the interface a bit of a challange at times. Although I am a huge ArtRage fan (I have recommended to several people who are far better at drawing than me) and have no complaint of having paid he $1.99 for the app on the iPhone, I found an excellent (free app) that I think has a far better interface (at least on my iPhone).

    In particular, the challenges I have had:
    • The iPhone screen is very small. Thus, I am constantly bumping into the tool and color selectors
    • I find the 3 finger method of controlling the tool size to be problematic. Quite often I have to make muliple tries and sometimes have to erase a mark that was made while I was trying to adjust the tool size
    • It also seems awkward to me to create a new drawing and rename one I am saving (I finally got the hang of the latter)

    Check out ArtStudio Lite: It also has an excellent user manual at:
    Additionaly, there are some interesting tutorials that you can view directly on you iPhone/iPad.

    To the folks at ArtRage, I would like for you to take a look at the UI for this app and see if it might give you some ideas for improving the UI for your app on the iPhone/iPad. In particular:
    • Look at the method for hiding the selectors while you are drawing
    • I find the method of dragging the tool size and opacity controls much easier
    • Again, the tool seems to be easier to store and create drawing
    • I also like the way they have for selecting the type of line (straight, curved, etc.) and the ability to draw elipses and rectangles

    I am still an ArtRage fan and think some things could be improved on the iPhone and suggest you take a close look at the user manual because I think it would trigger some great ideas from your team.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    New Zealand
    Have you tried using the size slider to change brush size? The three finger gesture is an optional extra for people who's fingers fit (not everyone, I know!). If you open up the tool picker and drag left and right in the size indicator you can change the brush size. This is also covered in the in-app manual (tap the ? button and you'll get help on all the different areas of the app).

    Creating a new drawing should just involve tapping the gallery button to leave your current painting, then tapping the + button and selecting New Painting. Because we simulate the way paint interacts with a canvas, you get the option to choose a type of canvas before you start (this changes how the pigment breaks up on the surface when the brush starts to dry out, and how it interacts with the canvas when you're blending and spread lumps too far). Incidentally, this is also why we don't provide opacity control in the iPhone version, we're handling an actual simulated pigment volume and opacity isn't quite as important to our approach as properties such as thinners and brush head loading.

    My original designs did actually have smaller tool and colour pod items when the control bar was collapsed but we didn't get a chance to implement them initially, they will probably go in to a future update. In the meantime, both pods will vanish if you paint close to them, then reappear when the stroke is done.

    We don't plan to introduce shape tools. ArtRage is a freehand (free-finger I guess) package rather than a drawing package and we prefer to focus on the simulation of the physical medium.

    Thanks for the suggestions!
    ArtRage UI
    Ambient Design.

  3. #3
    Thanks for your reply.

    Maybe I am taking your comments incorrectly but I did not mean to offend you or the ArtRage products in any way.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    New Zealand
    No worry, no offense taken! We're always happy to hear suggestions and I wanted to outline a few of the things that we've done and intend to look at. It does strike me that it's not that obvious that the size control in the tool picker is actually a slider as well, so I'll be looking in to making that clearer and I wanted to make sure you were aware of it in the meantime.
    ArtRage UI
    Ambient Design.

  5. #5
    Thanks Matt........

    I understand your comment about a "drawing tool" (like say Illustrator or Xara - I would refer to these as graphic tools) but I would still like to lobby for a "line/shape" pod that would help novices like me. I personally consider the type of art I see your users doing as "drawing" but in a more artistic context than the graphic "drawing tools" your mention (I think). While the iPhone has it own challenges (difficult to control where you are touching - at least for me). I think this pod could be even more valuable in the base product because I am typically trying to do something even more complex. I also understand your "free-hand" comment but would stll like to try again to explain to you what and why I would like for you to consider this pod.
    • Straight LIne - I use a Wacom Bamboo tablet and it becomes awkward to hold down the space bar to draw a straight line with the stylus. Yes, I know you can use the ruler but I sometimes find it even more awkward. I have seen others struggling with straight lines as well. I am not a good enough artist to draw straight lines without some assistance. In this context, I would envision selecting "straight line" as the shape type and then when I draw it would produce a straight line without having to take any other steps like holding down the space bar. I sometimes set up a layer to draw "guild lines" before I start my project.
    • Curved Line - This would be the default and would make everything work just as it currently does. Its primary purpose on the pod would be t switch back to the default after using one of the othe shapes on the pod.
    • Elipse - When I am mapping out my project or practicing from one of my drawing books, I frequently use an elipse shape as a base or guide line. As an example, if I were going to draw a dog or horse, I might make several elipses as a guide for the various body sections. I will then go into the "free hand" mode to connect them or create the detail for the animal (or even for as guides for drawing people or portraits). As I said, I am trying to teach myself and many of my references use this approach. When I attempt t draw elipses with the tool curretly, I typically have a difficulty in "closin" them (making the end point meet up with the starting point). To me, the biggest challenge here would be controlling the shape and angle on the page of the elipse. I hope this makes sence to you. I do not see this as any more of a violation of you intent than providing stencils to accomplish the same thing.
    • Box - Here again, I am not good at drawing good boxes. If I were to going to pait a picture of a village or something that included buildings, I would like to create some rough guidelines to assist me. Again, nothing different than the stencl concept but perhaps a more direct and easier method of achieving the same thing. Properly "closing" them is sometimes a problem for me.
    • Polygon - I would concede that this would probably be the lowest priority. I see this as nothing more than a series of straight lines that wind up with the end point connecting to the starting point.

    I hope you will reconsider this suggestion. As I said, I am not as an accomplished artist as MANY of your users and could use some "assistance" in accomplishing some basic tasks. I also do not see that these diminish from your existing tool but rather just provide another method of doing the job that the ruler and stencils accomplish with possibly a little more ease.

    Thanks for your consideration................

  6. #6
    Excuse me - I should have said hold down the ctrl key to draw a straight line instead of the space bar. Do not know what I was thinkng.

    BTW: I have seen at least one other post mentioning the shapes like a box as well

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