(UPDATE: Two things: first, I just want to say that my comment in my review about exporting a lightwork video was a little unjustified, because I was uninformed of the fact that Apple doesn’t allow third-party access to their video app. Second, FoggyNoggin Software has just released an update to Lightastic! which allows you to LOOP your lightwork animations! I tried it as soon as I updated, and let me tell you, this is one sweet update! Thanks FoggyNoggin!)
FoggyNoggin’s Lightastic! gets you all giddy and excited with just the name alone: Lightastic! (I say the name with two thumbs up and a cheesy talk-show host smile). Once I got past my excitement, it was time to see if the app lived up to its name as I created my first “lightwork” masterpiece.
When you initially open up Lightastic!, you expect the same run-of-the-mill peg coloring program. While exhibiting the same basic features of other light programs, Lightastic! takes this form of artistry to the next level! What you first notice after launching the app are the tools at the bottom of the page; more specifically the play, fast-forward, and rewind icons. This could only mean one thing: animation creation! My mind then began to swarm with all kinds of ideas I could animate to make my Lightastic blockbuster. Should I make a fourth Matrix? Ooo, the sequel to Glitter! No, wait, High School Musical 4: Being a Teen Mother while obtaining my GED… The possibilities are endless… that is if you can achieve your goals on what is a “low-res” light board. Lightastic! could benefit from adding various board resolution sizes to meet the needs of the more demanding light peg artist.
When you begin to embark upon the creation of your first frame, there is a slide-out menu of peg colors to choose from:
- Burnt Orange
- Erase Peg (which leaves you with black, but no peg)
Needless to say, the lack of color variety is a bit disappointing. Nonetheless, a true artist will make the best of what he/she has to work with. When your finger touches the board for the first time, the “peg placement” is very satisfying. The colored peg sort of “pops” into place with a little “bleep” sound to let you know it has been inserted. You can also use two or more fingers to place pegs simultaneously AND you can slide your finger(s) across the board to fill in scenery in a flash!
When you arrive at the completion of your first frame, you then have the option to export your image into your photo library or create a duplicate of the current frame (so you have two frames). This allows you to make some minor tweaks to the duplicate frame in order to string an animation together. Repeat duplicate process, tweak next frame, duplicate, tweak, duplicate … until you have numerous frames that can then be played as a moving picture. Though my movie didn’t get past twenty frames, I did go duplicate-button crazy to see if you could exceed 100 frames (which you can). Rest assured, you can make some very intricate animations.
A word of warning: the camera button at the bottom of the tool bar is NOT the export to photo library button! It is the duplicate button. The export option is under the settings icon at the bottom-right corner of the tool bar. This left me cursing my iPod as I kept searching for my masterpieces in my photo library. On the plus side, when you open Lightastic! again, your work is saved from the previous session.
Once you have a good amount of frames in place, you can then press the play button. The screen will initiate a countdown (from 5) and then play your frames in order. The movie playback feature is really the key feature in Lightastic! and satisfying to all the aspiring Scorsese’s out there.
Lightastic! offers you a short but useful list of options and tools in order to create/erase, save, and export your work. There’s even a whole settings button dedicated to turning off the program sounds so it won’t interfere with your iPod music (yes, you can listen to the Grateful Dead while pegging away hypnotically). Lightastic! could, again, benefit from adding various board resolution sizes, especially when it comes to the animation aspect of the program. A few more colors would be greatly received as well.
At the time of review, Lightastic! cost $3.99, however, their app page in iTunes states, and I quote, “** Special Introductory Price! **”. Do they intend to charge more? In terms of comparison to the other Lite-Brite programs, Lightastic! is the most expensive, yet rightly so with its animation feature. The only deterrent to this high (or possibly higher) price tag is the fact that you cannot export your movies! If FoggyNoggin could in some way add this feature, then I would say yes to the $3.99 price tag. As it stands, $3.99 is a bit pricey, but the animation feature just may sway you to buy it. It’s a helluva lot cheaper than film school!