App draw: Will Paper for iPad be the next Instagram?

The design app available from Apple's App Store makes it easy to create beautiful things and share them on social networks.

The Paper for iPad design app may remind you of popular photo app Instagram, which Facebook has agreed to acquire for roughly $1 billion in cash and stock, and the new offering is creating a lot of buzz since it became available for download a few weeks ago from Apple's App Store.

It has already been downloaded more than 1.5 million times. While it's getting rave reviews by designers, artists, architects, engineers and others who are creatively gifted, it's turning out to be equally esteemed by people who can barely draw a stick figure. That's because the app makes it easy to create beautiful things and share them on social networks.

Sound familiar?

Instagram is used to make photos of practically anything look interesting by way of filters that deepen colors, adjust contrast or change a myriad of other aspects of a photograph. With Instagram you don't need to be a photographer skilled in F-stops and depth of field to pop off artistic-looking and oftentimes frameable images. And if you want to share them on Twitter, Facebook or other networks -- no problem; two taps and you're done.

Paper for iPad is similar in that sharing your creations is slick. And like Instagram, it's easy -- probably anyone could draw or paint something better than they could on actual paper. But unlike Instagram, which does all the image enhancement on its own, Paper for iPad obviously takes more user involvement to craft artistic images because drawing is involved.

The app has a minimalist aesthetic and once you download it you'll quickly figure out that by clicking on a journal you have pages and pages of white "paper" on which to create your art.

What will soon leave you feeling a little cheated, however, is that all Pages for iPad gives you for free is a draw tool and eraser. If you draw well this could keep you engaged for a while but more likely you're going to want the other four tools available for a premium -- sketch, outline, write and color. Each of these will cost you $1.99 and oddly if you buy them all together in the Essentials Kit, you'll only save $.04.

Even so, if you're artistically inclined in the least you'll enjoy creating art using Pages for iPad. The app's developer, FiftyThree, in a blog post sharing the news about its success with users highlighted several impressive pieces of art created by users in the short time it's been on the market.

So will Pages for iPad someday enjoy success of Instagram proportions? It just might. For now you can get it for free at the Apple App Store where it is "App of the Month."

Follow Christina on Twitter and Google+ for even more tech news and commentary and follow Today@PCWorld on Twitter, too.

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Christina DesMarais

PC World (US online)
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