Remember turning the corners of your class notes into flipbooks with a sequence of tiny drawings? iPad app Loop recreates the glee of watching your doodles come to life by making it easy to create frame-by-frame animations. Loop, which costs a dollar in the App Store, is the creation of Universal Everything, a studio known for its large-scale digital installations, and is based on the sketches used by head artist Matt Pyke and collaborators to plan visual concepts.
The beauty of Loop, however, is that it is about as unintimidating as an art app can get. Its user interface features a very limited set of tools, including an onion skin tool, a button that lets you duplicate your last frame and an eraser, but no undo feature. Loop’s fanciest feature is the ability to import a guide movie to trace over, but with only three ink colors (black, red and blue) and 45 frames available, it’s not like you’ll be recreating Studio Ghibli masterpieces on your iPad.
Loop’s limitations, however, are liberating. I love drawing apps like Paper by FiftyThree and Procreate, but as a non-artist, I always feel as if I’m wasting their feature sets. On the other hand, I felt free to indulge my penchant for hastily-drawn stick figures and crude five-petal flowers on Loop. Anticipating seeing them come to life added to my giddiness. One of the first gifs I made with Loop is below:
Once you are done with your animation, you can export it as a gif and email it, save it to your camera roll, submit it to Loop’s gallery or post it to Tumblr.
My main quibble with Loop is that the gifs it creates are tiny (about 183KB), which means if you decide to spend time on a more complex animation, most details will be hard to see in your final product. The “import guide movie” feature distorted the aspect ratios of the video clips I tried to use, a quirk I hope Universal Everything will fix in future updates. I’d also like the ability to upload a guide image instead.
These minor complaints aside, Loop is the most fun I’ve ever had with an art app on my iPad. In fact, it’s the most fun I’ve had with drawing since I was a kid doodling away in my class notebooks.