Paint digitally, and animate with friends: Tagtool’s live “multiplayer” painting project has already been a live visual hit as a non-commercial project. The “DIY” version relied on custom software and a gamepad; various artists created their own hardware. Now, Tagtool has come to iPad, which makes for easier painting and broadened appeal.

Tagtool had always been something unique; its creators described it as “a performative visual instrument used on stage and on the street … a VJ tool, a creative video game, or an intuitive way of creating animation.”

Now, on iPad, it continues that tradition. You can use ten-fingered, two-hands painting with traditional digital brushes. (Cleverly, you can flip the interface if you’re left-handed.) But you can also animate – swipe, and you can add motion.

A New Universe of Animated Art: Tagtool for iPad from Tagtool on Vimeo.

The only bad news is, the price is hefty compared to other similar apps, at US$39.99. (That’d be dirt-cheap for desktop, but one problem with mobile has been, even for creative and performative apps, people have been trained to expect less.) But, if it interests someone, I’d love to see a review – I can hook you up and let you try it out (ideally, you and a friend).

That’s the tool; here it is making actual performance. Description: “This is a video of a Tagtool session by Maki and iink at an abandoned industrial complex right next to the cemetery of the nameless in Vienna.”

The Night is our Canvas from Tagtool on Vimeo.

More: [the new, official site] [the original, DIY tool]

iPads are practical, but there is a certain charm to these DIY hardware controllers.

  • Looks like fun, I wonder how it could be used professionally though. I’d love to give it a try and review it (-:my animation reel:

  • can do you a review, i built the original (two in fact) and used it to do visuals for dj sasha one time. bought the ios version the day it came out and it was the final push i needed to actually buy an ipad 2 in september.

  • Seems like a really interesting step for digital puppetry. I have been thinking about Leapmotion as a potential controller for live animation, building and skinning a virtual hand-puppet.

    • You and me both. If you’re working open source, we’ll probably end up building off each other’s work. (I’m still waiting on a dev kit, or at least the preordered hardware…)

      • Just got word today that I’ll get one of the next batch from Leap. My project is at if you want to keep in touch.

  • Brett Jones

    This is awesome. Any tool that can make animation more intuitive is useful in the arsenal.

  • This looks wonderful! Congratulations to the team for getting it out there. I know $40 is pricey for an iOS app, but I’ve developed a few myself, and for complicated, niche products like this, I’m beginning to feel like it’s the way to go. It’s tough to sell enough of them at 99 cents apiece to even make back your initial time/cost investment.

  • Paintings

    “a performative visual instrument used on stage and on the street … a VJ
    tool, a creative video game, or an intuitive way of creating

  • DiGiTaLFX

    Personally I’d say the $40 price tag would be fair if there was a companion desktop app that let you pipe the output through syphon for further processing. Looks amazing though!

    • Maki

      You can use AirServer on a Mac to receive the Tagtool Visuals via Airplay, and pipe it into Syphon. I haven’t tried it in a real performance scenario, but first tests were promising!

  • Rick

    Has anyone else used it? There’s no save feature. No undo button. You have to chase layers by clicking on them once they are animated. It’s almost impossible to use in a serious way , wouldn’t you agree? Also their website gives no development updates. Not a serious company?

    • Tagtool

      Hey Rick, there’s a reason behind each design decision and Tagtool is being used in a serious artistic way every day. Sorry you don’t seem to feel the design approach we’ve taken, I agree it’s a departure from convention but people tell us that after a short period it becomes second nature. Development updates are given on our Support community, on Twitter, on Facebook and over a mailing list. If you have a specific question, you can contact me on!

    • Save? Duh.

    • El Ron

      I have it! And i also have read the history on their blog and also visited the support page!

      It´s an instrument – not a design app. Made for the moment – a live performance tool. If you play any instrument – you can never undo anything! You have to live with your mistakes and that´s actually great!

      And what do i need to save? – i can do it over and over again right or lefthanded!

  • Peter, I would love to use this on a gig and do a review!!!