Friday, June 4, 2010

Adobe Ideas

Adobe Ideas is simple and nicely designed electronic sketchbook, plus it is free, which makes it a must download. Give it a serious try - I actually discover this app while looking on it more in depth while writing this review, and this is, now, one of my favorite apps! And don't forget to zoom, while you are sketching, which for me was the key of success.

Rating: Price: FREE

What's Good
Don't overlook Adobe Ideas. It is a simple, yet great drawing app.

It provides 3 modes: pen, eraser and pan, and it has an apparently infinite undo stack.
Within the pen mode, you can select: size, opacity and color.
For both size and opacity, a slider allows to change the value.
For colors, you can pick one of the 5 color from the default palette, or select one of your custom different palette.

I love the way Adobe Ideas enables to create custom palette.
From the organize page you can select the colors tab...

... which displays all the palette you had defined.
From here you can then pick an image from your photo album. Adobe Ideas will extract main colors and create your new shining palette. The selected colors are highlighted in your picture. I wish I could drag the pickers around, but all in all, in am very pleased with the choices Adobe Ideas makes.
The best way to use this app is to make heavy use of zoom - that, at least, was what made all the difference for me.

If you want to work in full mode, a small button on the top left corner allows to hide the tool palette.

A layer button, on the left bottom corner, displays the two layers this app provides. You can have a photo and a draw layer, which enables to trace or annotate pictures.

You can duplicate Ideas by tapping on the double pen icon on the top right corner of the Organize page. This is essential when you want to produce variations of the same drawing.

The best way to use this app, is to make heavy use of the zoom while sketching - this made all the difference for me. The way that Adobe Ideas renders and scales your strokes is the most impressive feature of this app. Your strokes become nice and smooth. You can zoom infinitely, in and out, and your strokes will always look amazing!

What's Bad
Export options are basically nonexistent, not even export to the photo album. The only way to use your work outside this app is to email it! This is pretty much the biggest shortfall (and it's not a small one) of this app.

The two layers, dedicated respectively to sketch and photo, tickled my desire for more layer capabilities.

As for all iPad drawing apps, I miss the capability to cut and paste, and move around portion of my sketch. I am the only one that makes heavy use of this functionality when creating electronic drawing?

A couple of a minor design flaws.
First. Changing color and size takes one more click then what I wish. I appreciate the design of this app, which preserve the real-estate for the drawing area, but I wish I could change my pen attributes in one click.
Second. I keep running into this error. I tap on a color from a different swatch, assuming that I am selecting both swatch and color. When I start sketching and then realize that the color hasn't changed, only the swatch was selected.

Rating Breakdown

Draw & share with Adobe Ideas for iPad
Adobe Ideas on the iTune Apple Store


Anonymous said...

Adobe <3s this.

Claudia- Thanks for your feedback. Adobe Ideas is new and we rely on people like you to tell us about it. We really appreciate your blog. Is there a way to email you?

Feel free to upload any of your work to our Flickr gallery:

All my best,
Adobe Ideas Marketer

Claudia Wey said...

I am happy you appreciated my post!
You can e-mail me at

djchuang said...

I've tried a handful of different apps for drawing napkin sketches on the iPad, and I've yet to find one that surpasses the ease of use as Adobe Ideas. The other ones I've seen, and I'm imagining on the paid side, would either have too few or too many features, that it'd feel cluttered. If Adobe would round it their Adobe Ideas out with an export function and extra layers, I think they'd make a mint at even $1.99 for the "pro" version of the app!

Claudia Wey said...

djchuang, I could't agree more with your comments. The lack of any real export option is extremely disappointing. You can create this beautiful images that are infinitely scalable in the iPad app, but they end-up exported as a tiny image embedded in an email. How disappointing.

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