Massing, values, and proportions app

About a year ago, I was looking for a mobile app
that could help me size up a plein air scene and
paint in a rough sketch. I couldn’t find what I
wanted, so I started developing a 'swiss-army-knife’
app for painting composition. I’ve published it as
a free Android app in the Google Play Store named
Scene Sketcher. Here’s a link that describes what
I came up with:
I hope you find it helpful!

  • Robert

I installed the Value Viewer app on my iPhone. It doesn’t help with rough sketches, but it’s great for plein air painting. In addition to values, it has notan, and gray; it also has separate controls for framing and grids to assist with composition. Images can be saved to Camera Roll. I love the app.

Thank you Robert. I do struggle with painting outdoors. I have downloaded it and look forward to using it. I’ll keep you posted.:slight_smile:

Great - please let me know if you have any ideas to make it better!

Great app. However, a comment about your description - ‘free.’ I spent 20 minutes trying everything I could to use the Palette view and only by chance discovered that it was a for-pay option.

You might want to edit the callout on your first picture on your site (“Simplified palette view - optional extra” or some such). Also, though I have no idea how hard this is, maybe have Palette greyed out on the selection menu until the user purchases the option.

Your app is so well done and should be hugely useful, but, since I really wanted Palette View most of all, part of me ends up feeling as though calling the app “free” was just a come-on. I’m sure you don’t mean it that way, and $3 is a tiny amount for such usefulness, but… anyway, I’m hoping I’m not upsetting you in any way. I just think there might be a better distinction between what’s free and what’s available only by upgrading.

I’m sorry to learn you felt mislead. I’ll change the items you mentioned to make the pricing more clear.

As to whether it’s truly ‘free’, I’ve tried to be careful that the app fulfills its main functions without the upgrade. The paid ‘palette view’ was an afterthought after I developed the app to my satisfaction.

I’m comfortable charging a little for the ‘palette view’ because it’s a unique design. I think it compares very favorably to comparable Photoshop and Photoshop Plugin filters. Actually I think it’s better, because those filters generally feature distracting ‘artistic’ swirls and textures. ‘Palette view’ also runs very fast, about 30 times faster on my tablet than the prototype design on my PC. Because of the speed and wide range of abstraction it covers, I often bounce around between different settings depending on whether I’m blocking in or focusing on detail.

Thanks for your critique.

  • Robert

I fully agree that the added functionality is worth the upgrade cost. It’s very close to an old, old utility that used to come with Corel Draw, Corel Trace - and in fact it’s better because yours has more functionality.

I didn’t feel 100% mislead… probably shouldn’t have brought it up. You’ve created an app that excels in user interface and functionality compared to the vast majority of Android apps.


Hello - I was trying to look at my Value Viewer app and found I could not open it due to the developer not updating the app! Have you or anyone else had this problem?
Thanks! I do love and use this app so please let me know if you know about it.

Unfortunately my Scene Sketcher app is Android only, so I can’t help you with your iPhone. I’ve kept it up to date on Android and added several features in the last couple of years, so you might borrow a friend’s Android phone and check it out. Android tablets start at under $100, so you might consider one if you like the app.

I have the same problem. It happened after I upgraded to the new operating system on my iPad. I sent the developer of the app an email and never heard anything back . While it’s not the same, I have been using an iPad app called Notanizer. It was relatively cheap.

Thanks for responding Robin. I hope the ValueViewer developer gets their act together! I will check out Notanizer. I also use Snapseed which I like for certain things.

I tried your free version on my old Samsung Tab 4 and it works great. Love the ability to snap a photo and instantly see the value pattern. I am a great believer in Notan…

I’ll be releasing an update next week that adds a couple of new notan features. The update adds the ability to set a tint-tone range so notans can be skewed light or dark, set to maximum contrast, or restricted to a muted range. Also, a custom color can be mixed to show the notan as either grayscale or monochrome. As before, touching the screen toggles value bands back and forth between the notan and the source photo. With the update, I’m finding it easier to see how values in a restricted range monochrome underpainting will translate to the full-range values of the source. I hope you’ll like it!


Looking forward to it. My weakest art area is in pushing the value contrasts hard enough as I personally find high contrasts irritating visually. I used to cut paper to study the value structures, but that is soooo slooowwww. Your app is delightfully instant.

Is the update available yet? I am anxiously awaiting.

I bumped it to 50% rollout on Google Playstore this morning. I’m always a little cautious about new releases - watching for bugs. It looks clean so far. It will probably be fully released next week. I have to say, playing around with colored notans is pretty fun! - Robert

I bought the update and am trying to improve my ability to navigate. I am more of a pc person than a screen touch person, so using it is not yet intuitive. I really love the posterization in color! Or would that be notan in color? Especially interesting to use on faces.

Thanks for creating such a cool tool.

Thanks! I’m glad to hear you like it. I like the poster view too. I’m starting to plan hue shift and color substitution tools that will expand its graphic design potential.

Thanks for the tip. I am just learning about all this stuff.

Worth buying an Android tablet so I can use your app. Thank you for creating such a useful tool!