Pigment is a realistic adult coloring book app for iOS

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A team of local app creators believe that the digital variety of adult coloring book can capture people’s imagination just as powerfully as the physical version.

Pixite, a San Diego-based studio that develops mobile apps, released a new coloring book app called Pigment on Thursday. The app, now available for iPhone and iPad, is designed to deliver a real coloring experience. It delivers on that promise best when used on Apple’s all-new iPad Pro with the accessory Apple Pencil stylus. Fingers are a more than sufficient substitute, however.

Pigment is feature-rich – an expansive color palette, multiple pen and pencil types, gradient tools, pressure-sensitive opacity, and even help for those who still want to stay inside the lines – but a basic objective. If you enjoy coloring, you should feel perfectly comfortable using your fingers or any Apple-compatible stylus to fill in Pigment’s digital blanks.

Coloring for adults, now without pencils

The app currently comes with 19 digital coloring books featuring over 200 illustrations, although only 65 are offered for free. App users can pay $5 per month or $25 per year for unlimited access to Pigment, with the company pledging to expand its selection of designs over time.

Pigment represents a slight deviation for Pixite, a mostly bootstrapped six-partner outfit that has had modest success with the segment of the population that views smartphones and tablets as artistic canvases — or mobile artists, if you will.

“Our mission is to help the everyday person become an artist,” said Pixite co-creator and product manager Eugene Kaneko. “We really believe that if you provide the tools, people will naturally do these things.”

Launched in 2009, Pixite’s most popular app to date, Web Albums, is a simple photo management app for Google’s Picasa photo service. The paid app has been downloaded over 560,000 times, generating approximately $1.3 million in revenue for the company.

In 2012, Pixite turned to more sophisticated photo apps, in part to give Instagram’s then-thriving art community a way to express their mobile creativity. Studio Tangent’s photo-editing app, for example, lets users play with geometric shapes in photos, and it was named to Apple’s iTunes “Best of 2013” list.

Now, with Pigment, Pixite is expanding beyond creators, reaching out to more of the mobile universe with a product that empowers people to indulge in a universally appealing activity: coloring.

No longer just for kids, coloring books are having a shining moment in the world of print publishing. Adult fashion is tied to popular illustrator Johanna Basford, whose whimsical black-and-white sketches have turned her adult coloring books, “Secret Garden” and “Enchanted Forest,” into bestsellers. The books are ranked fifth and eighth, respectively, on Amazon’s 2015 list of best-selling books. Three other adult coloring books also cracked the e-commerce giant’s top 20 list this year.

“Coloring is an easy form of play for adults,” said Peter Gray, research professor of psychology at Boston College and author of the book “Free to Learn: Why Unleashing the Instinct to Play Will Make Our Children Happier.” , more independent and better students for life.

Gray’s definition of play includes five characteristics. Play is something that is freely chosen and self-directed, that is inherently rewarding, that has rules, that includes an element of imagination, and that is engaging but not overly stressful. Coloring, he said, ticks all the right boxes.

“Adults are a little scared to play,” Gray said. “Coloring is a very non-scary way to play, especially because so much of it is pre-determined for you.”

The coloring trend, however, is rooted, at least in part, in its distinction from the digital world, where stress and distractions are rife. The idea is to turn off your devices and channel your imagination in an old fashioned analog way.

And even in the app realm, Pigment has plenty of competition, including the coloring book mobile apps Colorify, Recolor, and Color Therapy, though they offer more of a filler experience than something resembling a pencil and duster. paper.

The pigment, meanwhile, should feel as good as a coloring book, Kaneko said.

Although Pigment works on most Apple phones and tablets (running iOS 8 or newer), the app experience most closely mirrors actual coloring when used with Apple Pencil. The $99 stylus, which is only compatible with Apple’s oversized iPad Pro ($799-$1,079), offers a near-perfect pen-to-paper feel, especially for the person who wants to draw in different colors and textures, and without the help of other electronic resources of the application. But that experience doesn’t come cheap.

Still, the Pixite team thinks its app helps showcase the power of Apple’s nascent stylus for everyone, not just design experts.

Local company Pixite produces a high-quality coloring book app optimized for the iPad Pro and the new Apple Stylus.

“One of the first things we did was start playing around with other apps that use the pencil. And a lot of them are pretty advanced paint apps, which is cool, but you open this blank page and you’re like, ‘I just want to doodle,'” said Scott Sykora, co-creator and lead developer of Pixite. “It’s kind of like blank page syndrome.”

Or in other words, Pigment is a playful way for creatives to fill in the blanks.

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