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Art Software Reviews

Crayola Magic 3D Coloring Book

For Ages 3 to 8

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Art software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC only program.

Reviewed on:
Crayola 3D Magic Coloring Book Screen Shot Pentium133 with 16MB and a 12XCD

In the world of drawing and painting programs, this is the simple, bare-bones model. Think coloring book.

Crayola 3D Magic contains very few bells and whistles -- no animated storyline, no drawing instruction -- it doesn't even allow the user to create original artwork to paint and draw. It focuses on the basics: colors and textures. The added allure is the 3D effect that is programmed into each of the drawings so that 3D-shading is automatically added to each picture as it is colored.

The user is given a choice of 70 images arranged in 7 themed books, 21 crayon colors which can be used with or without glitter, 13 textures and patterns, crayon and eraser options (large for large spaces, small for finer details), and the added option of having the computer maintain all coloring within the lines of the drawing, presumably for younger users.

Overall, the program can be likened to the "Magic Pen" books found in many toy stores. The colors seem to magically appear as the user moves the crayons over the intended space. The 3D effect makes the final printed drawing attractive, but the actual act of coloring is disassociated with the outcome. The colors in the box don't really match the colors that appear in the coloring process, mixing of colors is not an option, and the drawings are, overall, rather uninspiring. Still, some of our child reviewers spent a fair amount of time with the program, especially liking the glitter crayon options.

Ease of Install / Use
This program installed without any difficulty on our test PCs. Instructions are minimal, but use is fairly intuitive.

Proxy Parent Value
3D Magic is extremely simple to use. Even the youngest child can take over and work independently after a brief initial run-through. Replayability is questionable, especially for the child who requires additional stimulation, but as a beginning coloring program it works well. Mouse use, and the use of program tools are simple, providing good practice for the beginner who enjoys coloring activities.

Best for...
This program is clearly aimed at the young child who enjoys coloring prefabricated drawings to print and display. Because it focuses on the simple act of coloring alone, it works best for children who don't appreciate the noise and distractions of some other drawing programs. It includes very little opportunity for creative exploration, and is therefore not for the rebel who wants to customize the pictures, mix the colors, and speed up the activity.

Creative quotient is low ( the user is basically bringing out, through the coloring process, the drawing that already exists in the program), but as a beginning coloring program, Crayola 3D Magic is an easy to use program. Completed drawings are readily printed (especially with a color printer) and provide pleasing rewards for the user's efforts.

See also the Summary Rating Table for comparisons with other Art software titles, and the SuperKids Buyers Guide for current market prices of this PC only program.

Children's Software System Requirements


Operating System Windows 3.1 or Win95
CPU Type and Speed 486/66 (Pentium 75 or faster recommended)
Hard Drive Space 10 MB minimum
Memory (RAM) 8 MB minimum, 16 MB recommended
Graphics SVGA 640x480x256 colors
CD-ROM Speed 2X
Audio Windows compatible sound card
Other Needs mouse; color printer recommended

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