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Brush Ninja

4 years ago I uploaded a video of an animation creator website I was building. Then mostly forgot about it.

A video of the original version of Brush Ninja from over 4 years ago.

The project was too much for my knowledge at the time. I was planning to make a full social network with accounts, and forums, and badges and everything. I had neither the time, or the skills to do this well.

Fast forward to now…

Snooty Cat

This February I remembered Brush Ninja and thought it would be a fun project to revisit. So I started coding and discovered that the old code wasn’t too bad and I would be able to work with it to make something new.

I stripped out all of the complicated stuff. It went from a social networking site powered by WordPress, to a totally static javascript app with content management powered by Jekyll. The new Brush Ninja website was quite quickly put online.

I had been thinking about how I could make the project sustainable and about a month in decided to create a premium desktop version that I could sell in the Mac App Store.

The Brush Ninja Mac App was finally launched last weekend.

MVP or MEP?

Throughout the whole process I have been trying to build the app as an MVP. Always going for the simplest thing that would work. But this didn’t quite ring true for me. So I decided I would focus on making an MEP – a Minimum Enjoyable Product.

Simplicity by Design

A running chick

Brush Ninja is purposefully simple when it comes to features. I have tried to focus on making things that ‘just work’ keeping options to a minimum. There are only a few colours, and a handful of brushes – but this was intentional. I think that keeping options simple will encourage people to focus on the craft of animation.

Brush Ninja is the most complex thing I have made with javascript, and it’s the first time I have made a Mac App. If people buy it then I have a long list of features I would like to add. They will make the code more complex, but I will always try to make it simple, and enjoyable, to use.

Examples?

Big Mouth?

When I was little I was always drawing, and my parents kept saying I should get a job at Disney. I’m nowhere near good enough for that. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy messing around with these types of things. Over the last few weeks I have made a few animations with Brush Ninja. Mostly to test the features, but also because it’s fun!

I’m currently posting them to Instagram on my Brush Ninja account – and you can see some examples throughout this article.

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Brush Ninja

Ben View All

Ben is a lifelong Nintendo fan who also likes to build websites, and develop games. He also buys way too much Lego.

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