Artisan Has Less Artistic Control, More Random Accident

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Artisan is another artistic app for the iPhone and iPod touch that allows you to manipulate colored particles of light on your screen into swirls of varying color, shape, and transparency. Similar to the developer’s other app, Spawn Illuminati and along the same lines, though less sophisticated than Pixi, Artisan is a basic touch screen canvas with an instruction menu that allows you to create custom designs.

The initial menu that pops up when opening Artisan is an instruction screen that displays the options for parameter controls such as transparency, brush width, and color cycle speed. The problem I faced with the instructions weren’t so much executing the necessary pinch and spread controls, but memorizing the exact location on the screen where the controls will take effect. Once you tap to enter the creation screen, all instructions are lost and there is no way to return to the instruction menu.

Without remembering the controls, it becomes frustrating to create specifics in a design and you have to completely exit Artisan and restart it to view the instructions again. This exercise in frustration left me with a halfway cool design that I couldn’t control due to memory lapse and then the inability to recreate the same design after exiting and restarting. What I was left with was just absently pinching, spreading, and tapping about the screen to see if anything remotely cool could be made at random, which in the end felt pointless.

If you have more creative instincts and a strong memory and thus happen to achieve a cool design, you can save a screen shot for use as custom wallpaper if you want. The varying shades and transparencies that you can achieve are nice, but again, the control issue and inability to return to the menu is bothersome if you are truly working hard at a specific design.

While Artisan is cheaper than some of the similar apps and will accomplish the goal of a random creative outlet for people whose fingers have a creative itch, I suspect those with true artistic talent will quickly discover other apps they like better. However, for the starving iPhone artist with only a buck to spare, Artisan might be a suitable enough starting point if you don't mind difficulty controlling your artistic expressions.

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