Colors! turns Nintendo DS into pocket Wacom Cintiq

630px-JRD_rembrandt01.jpg

Colors! is the Nintendo DS app that most powerfully makes the point that homebrew is not just a wheedling cipher for piracy. Developed by Jens Andersson, it offers hard and soft brushes, pressure sensitivity, a 512x384-resolution canvas, and can send paintings as PNG files via email. It has a Corel Painter-style hue-circle, saturation-triangle palette.

Wired's How-To Wiki has a tutorial on how to work with it to produce stunning works of art; pictured above is a reproduction of a Rembrandt self-portrait by Jason R. Dunn.

Forthcoming versions of the app will have undo, a levels tool and collaborative painting.

Download Page [Collecting Smiles]
How to [Wired via Gizmodo]
Gallery of Colors! paintings [Brombra.net]

Published by Rob Beschizza

Follow Rob @beschizza on Twitter.

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15 Comments

  1. #1

    http://forum.gbadev.org/viewtopic.php?t=14396&highlight=pressure

    “If you search within that document for “z1″, you find that Texas Instruments themselves describe the method to derive pressure sensitivity from the touch screen using the z1 and z2 values.

    RTOUCH = RX–plate * (xPosition/4096) * (z2/z1 – 1)

    This is almost exactly the same math as the actual code Colors uses:

    int intPressure = (touchXY.x * touchXY.z2) / (64 * touchXY.z1) – touchXY.x / 64;
    which is mathematically equivalent to:
    int intPressure = touchXY.x/64 * (touchXY.z2/touchXY.z1 – 1);”

  2. nope no actual “simulation” of pressure sensitivity, the ds screen is actually pressure sensitive, though apparently a lot of work went into compensating for issues such as different pressure levels on different parts of the screen, and generally differences between seprate DSes… read the developer’s forum for other insights into how he did it, and why no one else uses this “feature” (DS games for kids… that advertise pressing as hard as possible on the screen anyone?)

  3. I mentioned Colors in John Brownlee’s homebrew post of May 22. Do go see how I gush in the comments!

    http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/05/22/get-started-in-the-d.html

    The description of it as a mini-Cintiq is accurate in that it is a pleasure to draw on-screen, and it’s wonderful to have a carry-along digital sketchbook.

    Crap, I can’t remember where this turned up in links, but someone suggested a regular Wacom stylus will work. It most certainly will (I tried it last week), BUT they’re too fecking expensive to carry around and possibly lose. I recommend the branded Nintendo DS styluses with the fat barrels and retractable tips.
    Like these: http://tinyurl.com/5otly8 (Amazon link.)
    The included DS stylus is hell on the hands.

  4. Why ‘Colors’ isn’t a legit app yet, I don’t know. Nintendo should snatch this up and make it available for the Wii also!

  5. I’ll second Lea’s recommendation for those fat styluses. They’re a necessity if you’re using any DS software that takes a lot of screen-poking (like Colors!, or the games Anno 1701 or Trauma Center). If I’d tried to finish Anno 1701 using the included stylus, my fingers would have curled up and died.

  6. @ #6: GOD FORBID. A legit app means a Nintendo cart, likely hobbled and $20.-$40. dollars. I’d gladly pay for it, but I don’t want to pay Nintendo for it!

    @ #7: WORD. Undo really is counterproductive. I am recommending Colors to everyone I know for that reason. I want them to learn to stop fiddling their work to death. Photoshop is a great tool, but it can also be a huge time-waster and a roadblock to learning.

  7. I had no idea you could get some amount of pressure sensitivity out of the DS’s touch-screen; fascinating!

  8. #11 posted by Lea Hernandez
    “Undo really is counterproductive. I am recommending Colors to everyone I know for that reason. I want them to learn to stop fiddling their work to death. Photoshop is a great tool, but it can also be a huge time-waster and a roadblock to learning.”

    i agree completely, but the NDS screen is a bit glitchy and occasionally a line will shoot straight across the screen (that happens with commercial games also, so it isn’t just on Colors) and a one level of undo would be perfect for those occasions.

    Oh and the collaborative painting feature would be sweet!

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