Having enjoyed the Tintin movie when I saw it in November, I was intrigued by this rather tasteful book when I saw it in Forbidden Planet. Loads of pictures, lots of background information on how the movie was created, character designs, casting, scenery, and more. I thought about buying it, but even at Amazon’s price, it was a bit expensive for the kind of thing I’d look through once and then leave on the shelf. So I decided to forget about it, until a link from somewhere led me to an article on Techcrunch – TinTin iPad Art Book Blurs The Line Between Books, Movies, And Apps, which alerted me to the fact that the book was also available as an iPad app, and that it was a lot cheaper than the printed version. Having read that while I was away, when I got home I bought the app – it was just £3.99, which seemed like a good deal.
The first thing I noticed was that this was a moderately large app – the download is 697MB. Once it was installed, I gave it a try, and I was impressed. There’s a video intro from Stephen Spielberg, then a quick tutorial, and you can then play with the book.
You get all the pages from the book, with added features – all images can be zoomed to full screen, there are 3D models you can rotate and examine in great detail either by sliding a finger or rotating the iPad. Some of these contain links to more models, and more information. There are video clips, a nifty navigation area that slides up from the bottom of the screen, and quite simply loads of cool stuff to discover.
Something that struck me as I started playing with this was that this is what multimedia CD-ROMs were trying (and largely failing) to do back in the 90s. This is an excellent example of what can be done with a touchscreen interface, and I have to agree with Techcrunch. Don’t buy the book, buy the app. Unless you don’t already have an iPad, that is. Though you could use this as the perfect excuse to buy one…