Canvastic 3.5 review

Billed as a ‘publishing tool’ Canvastic is primarily a drawing program. With both bitmap and vector features, it’s aimed at school-age children. As such it can’t compete with Photoshop or even similarly specified applications such as EazyDraw, but it does offer something they don’t; a customisable interface that targets different ages ranges.

What you see on screen depends on the configuration you choose at start up. At ‘1st Grade’ level the program only displays basic bitmap drawing tools and a simplified colour palette. When you get to the ‘5th Grade’ you get a full roster of bitmap and vector tools, a Choice window to configure the current selection, colour mixing capability, a browser showing open documents, and a file window. There are, of course, three grades in between those, plus Advanced and Kindergarten configurations.

It’s not just the customisation tools that set Canvastic apart from rivals. It’s also lacks the frills notable in other applications aimed at children. There are no cartoon characters, whacky sound effects or jumbo buttons here. As the makers say, Canvastic is a tool, not a toy.

And quite a flexible tool it proves to be. Although drawing is the main function of the application, you can add audio notes to documents and editable text boxes. Multiple documents can be used to create slideshows. In short, it gives kids the tools to create and display their work, whether it’s drawing diagrams, laying out an essay presentation or creating art.

OUR VERDICT

Although Canvastic’s the kind of program you might buy for your children to use at home to get used to computers and creative packages, its real strength is in schools. We’d advise teachers and educators with budget control to take a look at the free trial version.

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