Since the advent of the App Store for iDevices, there has been an influx of apps that serve a very particular niche and perform a single, basic function. This trend has started to move towards the Mac in a very noticeable way, and the Mac App Store has facilitated the acceleration.
Many of these single-purpose apps serve a specific function, such as Caffeine, which allows you to temporarily deactivate your screensaver, or Boom, which squeezes more power out of your laptop’s wimpy speakers. Others don’t serve any real purpose, and are just for simple entertainment, and Mousterpiece certainly qualifies as frivolous app meant only for your amusement. Is it worth a download? Read on to find out.
What is it?
Mousterpiece does one very specific thing: it records your mouse’s movements and turns them into art. After opening the app, you choose which style you would like it to render, click start, and go about your work, gaming, or whatever else you feel like doing on your computer, (Mousterpiece won’t judge you). Whenever you’re ready to see what it has been doing in the background, you head back, check out your your image, and save it if you like it. That’s it.
As you’ve probably gathered, this is a very simple idea. It is meant to run in the background, and it will do just that. After you select your settings, you just leave it alone to do its thing.
You do have a few options for customizing the colors, as well as three styles: Tracks, Flower, and Grid. Tracks creates a dot when you click, and a line with you drag. The dots increase in size as you click in the same place, so double clicks stand out. The flower style creates a ribbon outwards from the center and moves around based on your mouse’s movement. The grid style divides the image into an invisible grid, and places a dot where you click. Clicking in the same area increases the size of the dots.
You also get some control over the colors for each setting. You can opt to go grayscale, monochrome, or multi-color. If you choose color, you can select a certain range, or just choose them all. You also get your pick of background colors, including transparent.
I was intrigued by the idea of Mousterpiece from the beginning. There are plenty of apps that can track your workflow and spit out statistics for you, but few can turn it into art. My results, however, were mediocre at best.
I started with the tracks style. I fired up my browser and did some surfing. I clicked through some articles, shopped on Amazon for a while, and spent some time of Facebook. I went back to Mousterpiece to see what I ended up with. The image was not exactly what I would call art, (although some modern artists may disagree).
Then I tried my luck with the grid style. This time a opened up Grand Theft Auto and played around for about an hour. I came back to find an equally average result.
Lastly, I tried out the flower style. I again just went back to browsing and came back to see a picture that could best be described as “meh.”
Comparison to Similar Apps
One of the first apps I downloaded when the Mac App Store opened was Gravilux. It’s tough to explain what Gravilux does, but as the creator explains, it’s a combination between “drawing, animation, art, science, and gaming.” Mousterpiece isn’t quite as complex as that, nor are the results as beautiful. It is appealing to be able to save the images, but the simplicity of a et-it-and-forget-it method of creating the pictures doesn’t compare to the fun of actively participating in the creation process.
Should You Buy It?
I was pretty underwhelmed by the app. If Mousterpiece was free, I would recommend giving it a go and seeing if you have better luck than I did. However, at 4 bucks I think it’s overpriced. It is fun and different though so if you’re really looking to turn your mouse movements into art, you should check it out.