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Review: Inspire Pro - Is It Paper, Or Better?

November 14, 2010


Every once in a while, to go forward, you need to step backwards. Make sense? Well, it shouldn't. But in the case of Inspire Pro, that is exactly what is happening. More and more painting and drawing applications are trying to become more advanced, almost to the point of making you feel like you don't need to be artistic to make art. Inspire Pro, on the other hand, moves more towards how painting used to be. Canvas-like baby.


While Inspire Pro tends to mimic natural drawing surfaces and utensils, it surprisingly packs in a bundle of features and a parcel of customization. Colors come in any flavor you can think of, and includes transparency at any rate you like as well. Five brushes are available for your choosing, and you can adjust the size, rotation, pressure and spacing of them as well. If you turn off the paint for your brush, your finger can now be used to smudge the colors together. Pinch to zoom is available and handy for detailed adjustments as well as undo, redo and a color picker. Of course you can open a new file whenever you want to, and can also choose between portrait, landscape or square. You can also save your pictures at any stage as a picture file or you can email, delete or change properties along the way. In the settings, you can adjust the amount of icons you want to see on the screen as well as painting off-set, double tap to zoom and other options. The Good Who doesn't like Au Natural? Using Inspire Pro will likely be the closest anyone gets to actual painting on a tablet. In the right hands, this will enable a true artist to make very life-like creations. As you can see, my hands weren't the right hands, but if you go to KiwiPixel's website, you can see what I mean.  There are also some great tutorials on the website if you want to see Inspire Pro in action. However, even as a doodler un-extraordinaire, it was a pleasing experience to attempt to make something pretty. The smudging feature is especially well done and sets this apart from similar applications (though I can't personally vouch that no other painting app smudges, sorry). There is a 'realistic paint' feature.  When this is on, your brush gets 'loaded' with paint and as you paint, the paint runs out! This is a great feature as well as the ability to turn it off and have unlimited ammo. There are enough features to feel enabled without feeling claustrophobic or lost. You can undo and redo (almost) forever. The Bad Talking about the bad is tricky. If I complain that there weren't more robust features such as stencils, stamps or magic select, then I ruin my premise that Inspire Pro really takes painting back to its roots. For some who think it is something that it isn't, such as a PhotoShop clone, they will be disappointed. And if you don't come into the game with some talent, it won't really embellish (or seem like it embellishes) you with pretty-picture-making ability like some other apps seem to (for example, OmniGraffle always feels like it is helping me make something more beautiful than I am capable). Inspire Pro also isn't aimed at business applications such as charts and diagrams, it is simply for art. A few features would have (probably) been nice additions such as rectangle and circle select, cut and paste- but that's just me.

The Verdict

For those who have been waiting for the digital means to replace their canvas- your app is here and you should buy it. Inspire Pro is a powerfully simple platform that will enable artists and doodlers everywhere to create beautiful works. But, as you can see in my attempts, beauty is always in the eye (or finger) of the beholder.

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