Animation Desk for iPhone: One Sweet, Mobile Painting Suite

Animation Desk™ for iPhone - Kdan Mobile Software LTD

Price: $ 2.99

Animation Desk iPhone App Video Review

Animation Desk for iPhone

Reviewed by Luke Patrick

Ask anyone who’s been there: Animation is one of the most laborious and demanding art forms around. Thankfully, the good old days of being elbow-deep in paint with mountains of transparencies are gone, in part because of apps like Animation Desk, by developer Kdan Mobile Software. The app is a brilliant way to create simple cartoons on the go, and it comes at a fantastic price, to boot.

Concept and Functionality

For those familiar with the popular iPad version of Animation Desk, the iPhone release is more or less the same experience, only shrunken down to size. The app makes it easy to create layers and transparencies, simplifying the process of creating individual frames in your animations.

The app also serves as a top-notch piece of illustration software. Animation Desk comes loaded with five different brushes and an eraser, each of which can be adjusted for opacity and size. Color, of course, can be changed using the excellent ink wells along the bottom. The app also comes with a myriad of tools to help you animate, including a frame scroller, quick copying of current slides, tabs for the foreground and middle ground, and the option to load a preset image to fill negative space in the back.

All in all, it makes for a very smooth animation experience on the iPhone. All the features worked perfectly—though I did find pinch-to-zoom a little less responsive than I would have liked—but there’s still one serious hitch in Animation Desk’s trailer: It’s quite hard to draw accurately on the iPhone with only a finger. Creating precision artwork is hardly a smooth experience, and requires extensive use of zooming and the undo button. The latter also feels a tad out of reach in the Tools tab.


Design and Layout

Animation Desk for iPhone

Animation Desk for iPhone

The developers have done their best to create a concise yet functional layout for Animation Desk, and I have to say, they’ve largely succeeded. Heavy use of tabs makes for simple navigation, and certain elements, like the paint wells, are simply gorgeous. Animation Desk still feels cramped, but this isn’t so much a design problem as it is an hardware issue: The iPhone is simply too small for the features that need to be included.

Overall Value

The app makes creating simple animations a breeze, and is genuinely a load of fun to play around with. Unlike its iPad cousin, it may not be the ideal solution for an artist on the go, but it’s still an excellent compromise between limited screen real estate and maximum features. And for that the app certainly deserves a recommendation, at least.

Animation Desk requires iOS 4.0 or later and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch. A small expedite fee was paid by the developer to speed up the publication of this review.

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