Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity (US$1.99) from iMagine machine is a terrific app for the iPad that taps the creativity of both young and old artists by using everyday objects to make whimsical collages. The whole vibe of the app is upbeat and happy, making great use of sound and color.
A canvas is presented with button palettes placed on three sides of the screen. On the bottom is where you start by choosing a head shape, or base. Tap on the icon and a ton of shapes can be horizontally scrolled through to find one you like. Tap on it, and it appears surrounded by a bounding circle. All objects work the same way. They can be pinched and stretched to make them larger or smaller. You can rotate them with your fingers or use a button to duplicate, flip, lock it down, trash it, or make it one of your favorites.
When you have a shape for your face, choose between categories like Food, Toys, Kitchen, Candy, Tools, School, Buttons and Letters. Each choice gives you another scrolling horizontal menu of objects that can be used to make up a face and even a body. Tap on one or a bunch and size and adjust them moving them to the base to make your artwork. There are a ton of colorful choices. The app contains about 150 of them, but you’re not limited to those. In fact the app makes a point of not limiting users in any way.
If you have an iPad 2, its camera can be used to take pictures of any item you like to use in the program. With older iPads, pictures can be imported from the photo library. Bringing a picture into the app is a snap, but what you soon find out is that, to make it useful, the object needs to have no background so it can be easily manipulated onto your collage and have it look good and not cover other objects or parts of the base you don’t want. If you have a graphics program cropping your object is no big deal, but it adds a step that makes this personalized function of the app not as useful as I would have liked. Once something is imported, it can be saved to a favorites palette.
Sound is a big part of the app. Everything that happens is accompanied by voiced whooshes, zooms and all sorts of spoken sound effects adding to the whimsy. The included song is infectious, at least the first twenty or so times through, but it’s nice to be able to add as much additional music as you like by importing it from the iPad’s iTunes library. Controls are provided to skip and rewind songs as well as starting and stopping. It’s nice design decisions like this that make it seem like the app has no bounds.
When a collage is completed, it can be saved to a gallery or shared via email or posting on Facebook. Both options worked easily and well. There is also the option of having a work made into a jigsaw puzzle. For around $26 a 10.6” x 8” puzzle can be ordered within the app.
A good deal of flair is added by a video overview and five video tutorials, each about two minutes, done by Hanoch Piven, an Israeli artist who has been teaching workshops on creating collages for years. His lessons are worth the price of admission. In a charming, effervescent manner he sparks the creativity in anyone watching by tossing objects onto a table and playing. Play is really at the heart of this app. Piven’s lessons range from the idea of drawing with objects to using things that have inherent meaning. It’s all simple, and appropriately child-like for the intended audience of kids, but for older users the ideas behind the playing contain depth.
The app did have a few minor problems that shouldn’t really affect a buying decision. It was possible to trap an object behind a menu palette, and in extensive testing it did crash, but very infrequently.
Faces iMake - Right Brain Creativity is a real find. I recommend it highly as an immersive experience that will really tap the well-spring of creativity buried in anyone who will give it a try. It has a boat load of play value and not only keep kids of all ages involved, but keep them coming back for more.