Monday, February 18, 2008

2/18/08 - Colors!

We all know the vast potential of computer tablets and such programs as Corel Painter and Adobe Photoshop in the creation of digital paintings and drawings. Those of us that drool over the next big thing in digital art know all about the delights of the Wacom Cintiq and tablet PCs. But, what we probably wouldn’t expect is that a Nintendo DS could be turned into a portable digital sketchbook.

Colors is a homebrew program designed for use with a capable Nintendo DS or DS Lite. By capable, I mean you likely need an R4 Slot-1 Solution for your DS and a micro-SD flash card. You download the program to the root menu of your SD card, plug it into the R4, and put that in Slot 1 of your DS unit. Once you open the program, you find that it really is like a very simplified version of Painter. You use your stylus as the brush pen and paint using the DS touch screen. You toggle to the color selection screen, and there you’ll find you have settings for either a hard-edged brush or a soft edge. You can also change the opacity and brush size, as well as set those attributes to be pressure sensitive. There is a zoom option for creating more intricate illustrative details, and you can even play back the finished product from start to finish.

Once you’ve made your painting or sketch, getting it to your PC is a simple matter. Just remove your SD card and pop it into a card reader. The files are stored as .PNG’s with a fairly decent resolution. It really leaves little excuse for doing sketches on the fly if you have no paper or pencil, but have your DS on hand. It does take some getting use to, though. You’ll be toggling constantly to and from the color/brush selection and zooming. But because there are so few features right now, it’s easy to just jump right in. The only thing it lacks is an undo or eraser feature. So, in that sense I think the lack makes colors a great learning tool for those of us who need to hone their more painterly abilities. Any mistake you make either has to be worked back over, or become a part of some new evolution in the painting. It makes you think ahead and problem solve when programs like Photoshop have the handy Ctrl+Z and the problem goes away. I recommend everyone with a compatible DS give this program a try. It’s, at least, a fun way to while the time away.

Colors can be downloaded here:

View the Colors community gallery here:

Credit to "Moatdd" and "Tsenzen" for the illustrations found in the Colors gallery.


  1. Gladys,

    I'm so glad you posted this. I have been reading about the Nintendo DS and this software on other blogs like LINES AND COLORS! Have you actually tried this on your own hardware? If you have this complete setup please come and give us a demo at the next CCG meeting!

  2. Yeah, I downloaded it first thing because a friend of my from the AAU had told me about it. Apparently it was big among the illustration students there. I absolutely love it.