“Dude, you know I can’t draw.” I messaged to O.G. He and I are the only staff members that own Nintendo 3DS systems, and as he had his hands full, it fell upon me to review Colors! 3D. I figured I was stuck, because my sorry scribbles are only worthy of a refrigerator door. That’s why I am a writer. But I do know a few artists and as the old song goes, I got by with a little help from my friends. I’ll go over the basics of the program and then you can read on for impressions from real artists whom I let spend a little time with the program.
Colors! 3D from developer Collecting Smiles is a drawing app for the Nintendo 3DS that allows budding artists to create 3D pictures. The program accomplishes this by the use of layers: ‘lower’ layers are pushed into the background when the picture is viewed in 3D, or one can turn off the 3D and use it as a traditional 2D drawing program. In addition to providing a basic set of drawing tools, photos can be imported from the 3DS camera and a drawing session can also be shared with another artist via local Wi-Fi. Once completed, artists can share their works with the world by uploading their work to an online gallery which can be accessed either in-app or at Colors-3d.com. Pictures can also be exported to the SD card for viewing via the Nintendo 3DS Camera app or copied to a computer. The app can also play back the drawing process.
I handed each artist the 3DS and asked them to do a quick sketch with it. I don’t think anyone bothered to look at the tutorial, so there are a few inaccuracies here and there:
Zip Alegria is a San Antonio-based artist who’s work can be found at holymcshizlet.deviantart.com:
If you know Gimp or Photoshop, you can figure out your way around the interface pretty quickly. The 3D looks nice, but if you use layers for shading and coloring, it’s not going to look quite right in 3D. The layer option works very well, you can quickly adjust them on the fly and it should work great with backgrounds. The different brushes also work well; you can easily adjust the opacity and line width. The color wheel reminds me of Painter. I think it’s a great program for anyone.” - 8
Eric Matos is one of our newer site contributors and the creator of "Three Dollar Bill," a webcomic that pokes fun at pop culture:
"The 3D is cool because 3D is something that isn’t easy to do on any other platform. It would be nice to have automatic smoothing because it’s so small, though. Definitely good for sketches, but its not a full tool. It’s a good way for kids to learn how to use digital paint programs. It’s really awesome, though.” - 9
Chris Holm is a longtime contributor to Original-Gamer.com whose current project is “SteamPets”:
"The tools are really simple, it could use an eyedropper tool.* Being able to change the brush opacity is pretty cool. The layers are a nice feature if you can use them effectively. It's really fun and has lots of potential." - 7 (Editor's Note: The developer confirmed that there is an eyedropper tool via the d-pad - O.G.)
Matt Frank is a professional comic artist whose recent work includes Godzilla Legends #1 for IDW:
"It's cute. It's not terribly intuitive but its interesting. I like that you can replay the drawing. Once you figure it out, its fun." - 9
I highly recommend Colors! 3D. The quick sketches above barely scratch the surface of what is possible with the app. I strongly recommend anyone considering purchasing it to take a visit to Colors-3d.com to see some of the fantastic works that folks have created with it. The only negative is that you can’t quite figure out everything by just playing around with the app, so be sure to take a quick run through the tutorial before starting your masterpiece.
*This review was based on the 3DS version of the game with a review code provided by the publisher.*