App: Colorfy - Coloring Book v3.5.5
Developer: Fun Games For Free
IAP: $1.99 - $39.99
Colorfy is a virtual coloring book application that is primarily designed for adults for therapeutic and entertainment purposes. Quite a few concerning parents give their children coloring books early in life to aid them in learning color theory, hand and eye coordination, and a basic introduction to the arts. However, the true benefit is that colors are proven to positively stimulate the brain and promote imagination, while coloring tends to pacify with a calming effect that reduces stress and anxiety. As these desired effects are essential for kids, they can be most favorable for adults who need a constructive way to relax and soothe the mind from the harsh realities of life. Being an avid patron of the arts and an advocate of meditative methodologies, Colorfy seemed ideal and of logical interest, while also appealing to the inner youth within. Garnering Google Play's highly coveted Editor's Choice award with 25 million downloads worldwide and voted one of the best apps of 2015, my thoughts are apparently shared by many. As there's always more abundant amounts of stress than relaxation in our lives these days, even using a coloring book as an adult is certainly worth a try to attain a better standard of living. Without stains on our clothes, shavings on the floor and vast amounts of trees falling for our mere entertainment, let's put on our artisan's cap and enter the world of digital art for a closer look.
Launching Colorfy, a library is immediately presented with several categories that each offer varying subjects of templates featuring interesting line art ready for your artistic skills. Animals, famous places, mandalas, zodiac signs, florals, exotic designs and greetings are just some of the themes on offer with new templates available weekly. The designs range from relatively simple line art to incredibly complex designs that can keep you busy for quite some time, depending on patience and desire. Choosing a template, a relatively minimal interface is presented with several color palettes offering basic, dark, vivid, lullaby, autumn, chill mood and the more extensive daily colors. The tablet version includes just multiple undo, share and home buttons with little else except the template and palette that can be swiped to change variations. The entire interface of the app is pure white, though you can flood the template background with something more visually friendly for night sessions. Most serious painter apps take this into consideration with a neutral gray UI or option as stark white and black can alter perception of colors; alas, Colorfy ultimately leans closer to entertainment.
Coloring is quite simple as you tap a chosen color from a desired palette and tap where you want it, instantly flooding the white space. Gradient options or anything other than solid colors are not possible here, but this provides a fast method with clean results given. Pinch zooming is supported and quite essential to focus on those tight areas; missing your target can easily be fixed with the multiple undo button, as well. Although, a sorely missed feature here is a color sampler to copy colors already used to alleviate guess work and minimize trial and error. Using a stylus isn't necessary as the fingers work fine with rapid taps and get the job done efficiently with little hassle. The flow of colors filling the white space is fast and indeed relaxing as you work through the template with inspiration mounting as you go. Occasionally, imperfections in the line art can create very small areas that don't become filled, and can be missed if you don't zoom in and check your work. Taking your time to be thorough is your best approach to create the perfect coloring. Playing soft music with dim ambient lighting is a nice compliment to the pleasing effect Colorfy provides, and is highly suggested for best results. You may quit at any time as your work is saved automatically, though cloud sync isn't supported to share your work on other devices. All projects in progress or finished creations are easily located on the My Works page, eliminating scrolling and lengthy searching.
Upon finishing your masterpiece, a post-processing page is presented to alter the line art to either black, white or transparent; giving very different results to your final work. Seven texturing options are included here to change the canvas type to paper, wood or various other surfaces. A nifty vignette option can give your piece just a bit of dramatic flair, though no options exist other than a simple toggle. When satisfied with your final result, you may then share your art by posting to the public Colorfy gallery, which can then draw "Loves" and even comments from other users. Full sharing of your work is also included, depending on the methods your device supports. The greetings templates and sharing methods combined can make a nice gift as an alternative to canned e-cards; sending a loved one a personally painted virtual birthday or thank you card, for example. Most sentimental people enjoy and appreciate something that is created especially for them as the thought always counts most, while using their favorite colors to brighten their day. The final exported product has a large white border surrounding the image with a sizable Colorfy product stamp in the bottom right corner, which seems a bit tacky as can be seen in this example. By close examination in that image, you can also see some extremely small spots that didn't fill in with color precisely, as mentioned above. You can save your image and paint out that product stamp easily with a photo editor, but that method rules out the handy sharing feature in doing so and would be a bit awkward and inconvenient.
As you become relaxed and at ease by creating your therapeutic art, the hammer of reality slams down just in time to unravel all the good that was gained. Colorfy recently switched to a subscription method that is exorbitant beyond belief, along with nitpicking IAP items that are petty like grains of sand. The daily palette comes free with limited colors, but the other six small palettes will run you $1.99 each. No 16 million colors in Colorfy, just a finite handful to prompt you to buy more; a mere 95 colors are available within all total palettes combined. The new confusing subscription rate runs at $7.99 monthly and $39.99 per year, which changed from $1.99 per template pack, though I'm also hearing about $1.99 weekly subscriptions as an alternative. Seasonal template packs can sometimes arrive after a holiday has passed, ironically. A few new templates are released weekly in varying categories, sometimes adding new categories, but nothing you can control directly. More confusion comes to light as some of these templates are found in other coloring apps in the market. Apparently, they are licensed from a third party source, which could partially account for the high fees. However, this new subscription model occurred right after Colorfy became one of the apps of the year and won Editor's Choice on Google Play. It would certainly appear as though the developers are riding the tide on the fame wave and cashing in on these honors, much to the dismay of former customers who lost their previously purchased packs.
The premise of Colorfy is fantastic as it does indeed yield that relaxing feeling of therapeutic value that is well advertised. But as many have commented on the product page, $39.99 can buy some high quality coloring books and natural media materials that you can blend together nicely, mixing colors effectively with shading and highlights. The fact the developers omitted a true color palette of 16 million hues to include ridiculous IAP additions that total only 95 choices, while excluding a color sampler for ease of use is just plain absurdity. Add to this the lack of gradients, logo branding and the new comment and rating system that is being abused with spam, offensive statements and vote-ganging to truly sink the mood. Using this product on your own without engaging the social element to publish your works, you will probably be better off as social circles seem to dominate ruthlessly in the Colorfy gallery, as they do everywhere else. I would normally give Colorfy a decently high rating as it's enjoyable and good at what is does, but from a consumer standpoint, considering the lack of some basic features, I am a bit underwhelmed with the complete package for the high asking price. It's also evidently clear how Google can affect the integrity of developers with their popularity awards by allowing existing customers to be stripped of their previously paid content in lieu of a wild money train ride that previously did not exist. You take that chance when you purchase a license to use an app as the developers can direct their product in any undesirable direction they see fit over time. This I find most disturbing of all, and it seems to be a trend with some of these high profile titles to favor new subscriptions versus keeping long term customers. Given this, I can easily recommend Colorfy if you have the funds required and enjoy using it immensely to great effect. Otherwise, taking a trip to your local art supply store and grabbing a cart might produce more favorable results for your hard-earned money.
- A relaxing and enjoyable therapeutic experience.
- Simple approach to basic color theory and the arts.
- Many stunning and detailed templates with updates.
- Instant sharing via Colorfy gallery and device methods.
- Customized greetings are a great idea to send to loved ones.
- Astronomical new subscription rates and IAP.
- Very limited amounts of colors with all the palettes.
- Not much control over new updated weekly content.
- Final exported images are rendered with product stamps.
- No gradient features, color mixing, shading or color sampler.
- Small areas can be missed while coloring as the lines are thick.
- The new social aspects can be very abusive, unfair and unpleasant.
Device/OS used: Galaxy Nexus, Galaxy Note 3, Nexus 7 2012, Nexus 7 2013 / KitKat v4.4.2, KitKat v4.4.4, Lollipop v5.1.1
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Mobilism: Colorfy - Coloring Book v3.5.5 [Plus]