The product of a collaboration between accessory manufacturer Griffin and children's art giant Crayola, ColorStudio HD is an iPad app and capacitive touchscreen drawing device that allows kids of all ages to colour scenes and create pictures to their hearts delight. It's also, quite simply, the best non-game iPad app we've seen for a long while.
Currently, the software is incomplete, and the drawing stylus is a mocked-up working demonstration model (crafted by somebody in Griffin's office), but there's certainly enough there to get a good feeling for what the final version will be like.
The application itself will come with multiple animated scenes that can be coloured-in using a whole range of different Crayola art tools - in a huge variety of colours. Each different type has a different style effect. For example, the trademark crayons are a bit scratchy and leave a dotted, almost uneven wash of colour, whereas the marker pens make broad square strokes.
There are only two working scenes to colour on the demonstration version, one with an animated shark floating across the screen, the other with a furry monster hiding beneath a lampshade in a bedroom. The pictures are also interactive. You can shake the iPad, for example, and the lampshade will fall off the monster's head. So not only will the app keep kids entertained as they colour, it offers other experiences if they get bored.
The animated parts of a scene also have a function where a child can't go over the line. Plus, there's an option to turn on similar protection for other objects. It allows a smaller child to create good-looking pictures without them having to be too precise. As they get older and better at it, you can switch off the line feature.
Even with the prototype pen, it works excellently. It is powered by AA batteries and moves across the capacitive screen smoothly and accurately. The iPad also recognises what is pen and what is a finger, so can have different responses to each.
And the final results of a child's work can be printed out for doting parents, through AirPrint, or can be emailed or posted directly to Facebook from within the application.
As well as the art scenes, children can also draw on a bank canvas, and there are games to play, such as join the dots and a colour by numbers feature. Neither of these have been implemented on the demo version, but they're both great ideas.
We can't wait to see the final versions of both the application and the device, which will hit stores in Spring (possibly Easter) for £19.99.
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