Tweet Monday, January 10, 2011 at 8:00AM
‘People find their own uses for things’ - so goes the old (though possibly obscure) adage and it’s a concept often evident in software and technology. Whilst that other adage of ‘nesescity being the mother of invention’ is oft cited, its’ status as a truism is questionable. The inverse is often equally true - invention is the mother of nesescity. Thus the idea that People will find their own uses for things is connected to the idea that it’s not until something is invented that people find it to be necessary…..
The reason I raise this pseudo-philosophical concept is to point to some contemporary software development as an example of this alternate thinking. Rather than software to a brief of a specifically defined, identified and pre-determined user need there is an inversion - build it and people will discover what to do with it.
The latest offering from Celtx (whom I’ve long had a working relationship with in helping develop the Celtx screenwriting and pre-production system) is a mobile app for iPad and iPhone called Clip Sketch.
Drawn from the Sketch function of the Celtx desktop app, Clip Sketch is described as a “drawing tool for people who can’t draw”. Ostensibly Clip Sketch is therefore a clip-art based doodle pad where graphics can be dragged and dropped from a library, arranged on an open space and annotated with text, lines and drawings.
What it’s purpose..? Well that would imply that the creators are dictating a singular or defined purpose. They’re not and the power of Clip Sketch will be found by its users. If the tool has solid functionality then nessecity will be gerenated from within rather than without.
For me I find myself using Clip Sketch regularly in a number of contexts. As a moviemaking pre-production or on-set tool for generating camera plans, blocking and lighting arrangements it is outstanding. The built-in set of standard lights, dolly’s, cameras is superb for the task and includes Blondies, Dedos, Redheads, Flurobanks and even Greenscreens.
In other contexts, for visual thinkers, Clip Sketch is a great note-taking and planning tool. I’ve used it to plan post-production workflows using graphic images to represent different stages. What is created is concise and immediately recognisable structure to follow rather than a text list to read.
Similarly I find myself using clip sketch to visually arrange, mind-map and articulate narrative structures, character arcs and relationships for TV series projects - narrative structure doodling whilst sitting in the shade of a tree iPad in hand. The ability to add text boxes and notes to the sketch amid graphics and icons representing plot events, turning points, inversions and themes, makes highly detailed and informative plans very easy. This flexibility of graphics, text arrows, lines, images and annotations is absolutely at home on the iPad where simple and logical finger gesture controls for scale-rotate and move are gloriously fast and effective.
What else I will find Clip Sketch useful for in the future is wide open; its abiguity of purpose is really the best thing about it.
Clip Sketch is available from the app-store, comes pre-loaded with a great range and diversity of art-packs and more can be bought as very inexpensive downloads. Most importantly it’s a little tool destined to evolve and grow and I’m excited by what other necessities I may discover as I use it.