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Pottery HD got me thinking…

On Saturday I introduced my wife to Let's create! Pottery HD for the iPad, a wonderful app that we had the pleasure of reviewing, the first review anywhere on the Internet, last Friday morning. It's safe to say that Pottery HD has become my wife's favourite iPad app. Watching her create pot after pot (see the images in this post), each one becoming more pleasing, got me thinking about what emotional triggers Pottery HD must be pulling in order to elicit such a response. I think I can narrow it down to three keys factors.

The Interface

Stretching and shaping the clay using the multi-touch display feels almost perfect. You simply could not replicate this sensation using any other user interface that I'm aware of. It's not 100% perfect, but it is close.

A Restrained Palette

Pottery HD presents a restrained palette of artistic options. On the face of it this may seem a cause of frustration, but the limited colour and pattern platte creates a framework upon which to build. Sandbox art apps like Brushes for example have far more potential for artistic expression but offer little in terms of inspiration or creative support. With Pottery HD even someone with limited artistic skill can create something beautiful.


When you come to auction your pottery the app emulates some of the drama of a real auction. The bids build with quite a sense of drama and the winning bid nearly always seems to be a fair price. The whole auction mechanic drives you to create better pottery as does the virtual email system. It's simple but clever stuff.

I think some of the many popular painting and music creation apps could take a leaf out of Pottery HD's book. Most of them capture the sensation of painting or playing a musical instrument for example, but often there is little narrative structure. As Pottery HD proves, the narrative structure does not have to be anything epic just something to promote experimentation and repeated play.

Pottery HD has made me reevaluate what a creative iPad application should be. We have seen some stunning examples of natural media and musical instrument emulation, but the very best creative apps will add layers of drama and story telling, sometimes through gaming elements but perhaps also by offering a framework, a helping help. In many ways think I have already alluded to it in my recent post about a possible Jean Michel Jarre synth app.

These first few creative apps are just the tip of the iceberg.

James Burland

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Reader Comments (2)

It definitely shows more and more potentials coming out of an iPad. In the future, app like this will probably be used by real industries to "recruit" independent people to submit their design across. Design gets manufactured and they both share their profit - who knows :)

Michael: Excellent concept! I love this kind of blue sky thinking, it suddenly seems as if there may be far more uses for the iPad then we originally dreamed of.

July 22, 2010 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

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