Mental Canvas 3D drawing app is reason enough to buy a Surface Dial

Flat art is so 2015

Some software is so good that it alone makes a piece of hardware worth buying. If you've any doubt about that, ask around – chances are you know someone who snapped up a Wii U just for the latest Mario Kart and/or Smash Bros. 

Mental Canvas enables artists and designers to work in a 'virtual space'. Credit: Mental Canvas

Mental Canvas is like that, but for Microsoft's wildly ambitious Surface Dial. The $99 accessory was launched last month alongside the Surface Studio, but to date we haven't heard much from software manufacturers looking to take advantage.

You can easily zoom in and out of drawings using Microsoft's Surface Dial. Credit: Mental Canvas

This app "allows creators to illustrate ideas and depict design concepts freely in virtual space," which is a fancy way of saying that your drawings can now extend beyond a flat plane. Toss in a Surface Dial, and you can easily zoom in and out of a forest, building, or anything else you're drawing with depth. 

Mental Canvas is sold as being easier to use than CAD software. Credit: Mental Canvas

For now, a Player app is available in the Windows Store that allows people to explore spatial drawings created using the Mental Canvas authoring software. That piece – which is no doubt what you're truly after – will be released later this year.

You can explore drawings created with Mental Canvas using a free app. Credit: Mental Canvas

Artworks crafted within the program can be shared on any device with a web browser, and its key selling point is the ease of use when compared to complex CAD alternatives.

And to think – we had to express ourselves using sticks and loose dirt. Kids these days just don't know how good they have it. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Darren Murph has roamed the consumer electronics landscape for a decade, earning a Guinness World Record as the planet’s most prolific professional blogger along the way. His work has been featured in Popular Science, Engadget, BGR, Mazda’s Zoom-Zoom owner’s magazine, Oprah.com, Gadling, and Thrillist, and he has appeared on ABC, PBS, CTV and NBC. He is presently dabbling in quantum physics in a bid to construct the 30-hour day, and is also TechRadar's Global Editor-in-Chief.