February 12, 2015
Until you use it, you may not realize how helpful a quick note-taking app can be. Take me, for example: For sketches, I used pencil and paper, but recently I turned to Loose Leaf, and I have to say that it saved my day a couple times. Loose Leaf combines a limited set of tools with intuitive gestures to become the quick sketch tool you can use on “inspiration-basis”. That's if the performance issues get ironed out, since you are spending money on this iPad app.
A set of default images take the role of “Loose Leaf tricks and tips”. This should work with designers, but not for someone with less practice in this area. The catch is to carefully go through every default image, because you might end up like me: I missed the one that would have taught me how to trash the sketch I didn't need.
I loved Loose Leaf's minimalist design, which really gives users space to unleash their creativity. The available toolset gives you a good idea of what the app is capable of: A pencil and a color picker, scissors and eraser tool, image select and ruler – that's just about enough for a scratch paper app that allows users to take a quick note or draw a quick sketch.
I particularly loved the touch gestures Loose Leaf comes with: Switch between pages by swiping with two fingers left or right, clone an image by simply pulling it (with two fingers) into two copies, pinch to zoom in and view all documents, shake the scraps to reorder them, and scale up and down with two fingers.
The ruler tool is excellent for drawing precise shapes, although it took me some time to realize that drawing a perfect circle requires a quick and firm move in the middle of the circle-shaped ruler rather than following the outline. After that, drawing the above image of a wristwatch took me about a minute, and it was fun.
The scissor tool is great for cutting out the detail you want from an image and fantastic for creating picture collages. Adam Wulf, the creator of Loose Leaf, said this is the feature that customers love.
You can place a cutout into a clipboard by pulling it to the right side of the screen. In one instance I had eight items there, which popped up on the selected sheet ready for use. The only problem is you can't delete them from there: You need to place unwanted items on a page, and then drag that page to the left to trash it.
Loose Leaf packs all the sharing options you might need, though I would like to highlight Airdrop, Imgur, and the collaboration feature, since these come in handy when you are working on a team.
Unfortunately, during my testing the app crashed a couple times – I'm using an iPad 4 running iOS 8.1.3 – which affected the overall user experience, but I think future performance stabilization updates will fix that, especially considering you are paying $4.99 for Loose Leaf. The app is available for the iPad only, but their website suggests an iPhone version will be released in a few weeks. [Loose Leaf for iPad — download link]
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