PlayART By Tapook Review
Learn about and experiment with the work of five great painters
As an arena for showcasing great, creative pieces of work, as well as allowing you to create your own, the iPad is a triumph as a piece of hardware. The number of coffee table and design-based apps in the App Store serve as testament to this, so the appearance of an app like PlayART, where you can admire as well as tinker with the work of some of the world’s most renowned painters, seems like a perfect fit for the device.
The app performed very well when referred to as a children’s app, and while there is most definitely a huge level of educational content here, it would be unfair and dismissive to say that only the younger generation would get anything from using this unique app. PlayART is, in essence, a mixture of some art history and a creative canvas, where you can take some of the most iconic elements from the artists’ paintings and mix them together on a range of their canvas designs. The main home screen of the app is a museum dedicated to the five famous painters, where you can scroll through their most famous works in chronological order. Go back to the museum page and you can watch a short video on each artist, which gives you some background on them as well as their works. Then, go static by viewing the original piece fullscreen complete with it’s full name and its current museum location.
Having used the museum to give you some inspiration as well as some knowledge, you can begin to make use of the creative side of the app. On the Artists screen you can tap any of the five featured painters and be presented with a canvas themed around them, containing all the key elements of their various works. Users then apply touch gestures to put their own spin on the work of Van Gogh and Monet, combining sunflowers with the furniture from Van Gogh’s bedroom to create entirely new pieces of work. There is a good level of functionality here, with the ability to rotate and alter the angle of each piece, as well as pinch in and out to change the size of each aspect you drop in. There are layering options so you can get the perspective of your piece right, and after all this you can save your work of future renown to your very own museum, to rival that of the main screen dedicated to the professionals.
The whole app has a strange feel to it, in that you’re never quite sure if it’s taking the painters seriously by letting you do as you wish with their work. But it has been put together in such a way that even if that thought ever does enter your mind, it soon departs again as you discover a new canvas background to work on, or that by favouriting certain pieces of art, for example one of Monet’s Waterlillies, adds it to your canvas in the My Favourites section, where you can being together parts from all the different artists and use them in the same place for a completely unique artistic creation that you can then save, name and share.
PlayART comes with Facebook linkage, or if you’d prefer to pick and choose when you share your work with others you can save it to your image library instead for email or Twitter sharing.
PlayART then is something very different when it comes to educational apps. It may start out as a very good looking coffee table app for those with an interest in art history, but the big twist in the tale that is canvas screens completely changes the way you see and interact with this app, and indeed how you would describe it to anyone else.
PlayART is every bit as much about the unique experience as it is the gorgeous content it has; its about the way you can interact with it. It seems to bring out that innate human desire to touch something we know we shouldn’t, much in the way we are so tempted to touch the canvas of works such as this when we see them in the flesh. PlayArt is the closest you will ever get to such a thrill, and it is very much a thrill in itself.
A unique way to interact with the greatest artists across history.
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