KaleidoPaint 2022: Previous and New Interface

Quite a revamp of the KaleidoPaint app. Here you will find side by side comparisons, for a quick review of the new features. Menus have changed, as well as their location. And we finally have folders! And. And.

The newest KaleidoPaint, V3

In the new version, before you even get to the interface proper, when you tap the KaleidoPaint icon, you get to your files app on your iPad. (although some of you may be sent tumbling into the “Recent” folder, then use the back button, to get back to “On my iPad” and choose the “KaleidoPaint” folder) You also have access to your iCloud files, see those choices in the left hand column below. To create a new document, tap the PLUS SIGN, create document, standard now in many apps. It’s a good idea to already have opened the KaleidoPaint folder, just a bit less of a filing job after you finish your drawing. And. You don’t need to physically plug-in your iPad to a desktop computer (for Windows) and manually drag those .txt files from iTunes. Back-ups are much easier now.

Image 1: initial screen in KaleidoPaint

Initial drawing screen

Move the double arrow slider, in the middle of the split screen below, to see the old and new interfaces (Image 2). Starting from the top left, and working clockwise.

  • The GEAR icon is in the top left now, for you to change the resolution of your canvas. It will stay on the same setting as your previous drawing, till you change it.
  • The UNDO/REDO button has moved to the top of the screen. That took me a while to get used to. I still automatically send my hand down to the bottom.
  • The LOCK icon has stayed in the same location. I use this feature when I’ve completed a drawing, or if I lend my iPad for someone to view a tessellation, zoom and pan can quickly turn into extra lines added to your drawing if it’s not locked.
  • IF THE BOTTOM MENUS ARE NOT VISIBLE, unlock your drawing!
  • Quick start HELP fly-up menu: all gestures are the same as before, except the three finger skew has gone entirely and been replaced with an option called ASPECT RATIO under the symmetry menu, controlled by a slider.
  • The EXPORT IMAGE icon is next:
    • a choice of image sizes, 4096×4096, all the way down to 256×256 by half increments
    • a choice of a transparent background PNG, that’s new and could be useful to some artists
    • Save your image to a folder
    • copy the image to the clipboard
    • or save a tileable rectangle
  • The symmetry menu has a one new feature, the ASPECT RATIO button, to skew your drawing’s grid. It used to be accomplished with a three-finger gesture.
  • The toggle twins, DRAW / EDIT, in the same area, middle of the bottom bar. I’ll deal with their new edit sub-menu look below.
  • Once we get to the bottom left of the screen, we have four icons. Paintbrush, fill bucket, line thickness and line fidelity. That last one, the squiggle, LINE FIDELITY, is a new feature that lets you control how accurate the line follows your stylus, or how smooth you want the software to correct your gesture. I’ll cover the sub-menus below.
Image 2: The initial opening view for the old and new KaleidoPaint interface


Again, starting from the top left and working clockwise:

GEAR icon, before and after. It used to show up in the bottom right, when you first opened KaleidoPaint, the screen that had all your drawings, as thumbnails. The image resolution used to be selected before entering the new drawing. Now you can do it from within your drawing (see image 3 below). Higher resolution images and tiles are now available, to create huge printed surfaces. 😉

Image 3: Gear icon for your image resolution is in a different location

The UNDO/REDO button has moved to the top of the screen. See the image below, and move the slider to see the previous version (left) and new version on the right. I still instinctively go to the bottom to undo, after all, I’ve been using KaleidoPaint for 10 years!

Image 4: undo/redo has moved

Seven COLOUR selection methods

There are now seven ways to choose colours for your drawing. The paintbrush, fill bucket, background colour, and within the edit menu, all use the same fly-out interfaces. It just takes getting used to the new icons for the various features. A great many ways to colour your drawing.

The previous version of KaleidoPaint used an intuitive colour cube, and a fly-out menu of your colour chips within the drawing. The outside perimeter of the cube gave you the hue, the distance between the perimeter and the center white spot gave you the brightness, and the slider at the bottom gave you the saturation. This bottom slider was the best way to create shades and shadows on your characters, as well as true colours from our environment. (Spoiler – it’s gone, compliments of Apple’s less artistic programmers!)

Here are the seven new methods, with screen grabs below:

A GRID OF PREDETERMINED HUES, which should satisfy most users. With a grayscale at the top on the grid of chips. Quite similar to Photoshop’s default colour palette. (Image 5 below)


A SPECTRUM INTERFACE, showing bright colours, but unfortunately it does not have a saturation slider like in the original cube. Ok to use for soccer jerseys, but not practical for the subtle reality around us. I’m disappointed in Apple. (Image 6 below)


The standard RGB SLIDERS (Red, Green, Blue), which I’m reluctant to use to create colours, but this might be my only way to get desaturated colours, I will have to learn to be a nerd and play with numbers rather than colours. It can be useful if you want to type in the RGB numbers if you have them from somewhere else, let’s say in a branding document.

About my comment above, Jeff says:

The good news is that you can ignore the numbers and use the sliders directly. Each slider gives you a modest hint by showing you what color you’ll get by sliding its button leftward or rightward.

The bad news is that you need to become a nerd anyhow, in order to take some desired change to your color and factor it into small increases/decreases of its red, green and blue components. Helpful tip: unsaturated colors have similar positions for the R, G and B slider buttons; saturated colors have wildly different positions for those three buttons.

similar button positions => unsaturated color

wildly different button positions => saturated color

And I’ll add, if your RGB numbers are identical, from zero (black) to 255 (white), a vertical stack of numbers, you get all the different greys from black to white. I still prefer pigment.


Those colour selection methods are found under the SUNBURST ICON, when you click either on the paint brush or paint bucket icon. Also in the edit menu. And the background colour option.

Image 8: How to access the various colour input methods, through the sunburst icon

The super EYE DROPPER TOOL, is available in those menus covered above, an icon in the top left of the fly-out menu. You can sample colours already present in a drawing. The eye dropper also works in split screen on the iPad, so you can sample colours from another image. Let’s say you have done a rubber ducky tessellation, and you’ve located a photo of a rubber duck that has the colours you are wanting to copy. Pull up the icon for your photos app, or Google images for that matter, from the bottom of your screen, and drag the window to one side of the screen. This way, in split screen view, you have both the duck photo and KaleidoPaint visible, the eyedropper tool lets you pick the exact colour you want for your drawing. Super!

Image 9: EYE DROPPER TOOL works in split screen

The HEX CODE input box is visible only on the RGB sliders colour input method. Hex is mostly used by web programmers, again, only useful if you’ve obtained the codes from another source. A series of 6 digits or letters.

Image 10: HEX CODE method

And not quite finally, the COLOUR CHIPS within, displaying all the colours used in this specific drawing; including the background colour (yes!) That’s found under the BACK IN TIME icon, beside the sunburst icon.

Image 11: COLOUR CHIPS present in your drawing

MANUALLY SAVED personal COLOUR PALETTE. Below all of these colour input methods, you can see the larger square, presently selected colour, as well as colours you can save from previous drawings or the one you are working on (the smaller circles). If there’s a colour you use often, click the plus icon at the bottom, the chip will be added. If you hold your finger or stylus for a bit longer on one of the chips, you can delete it from your personal colour palette. This palette follows you from drawing to drawing. Kinda cool.

Image 12: PERSONAL COLOUR PALETTE that follows you to your next drawing

Your BACKGROUND COLOUR, is in a new location now of the bottom right. It uses any of the above methods. Your background colour can be modified at any point during your drawing session. The background colour can be seen through any area which you haven’t already filled. If all areas are filled in your drawing, you won’t see the background colour peek through anywhere. In the example given below, only the whites of the eyes had no fill, so when I changed the background colour from white to fluorescent pink, it showed through as bright pink in the eyes. Use the arrows in the middle of the screen to compare, before and after.

Image 13: BACKGROUND COLOUR peaks through any “unfilled” area

Enough rubber duckies eh!

PEN THICKNESS also has a new menu. We used to have to remember a string of digits in order to use the same thickness pen. And if you didn’t remember, you had to go into the edit menu and look at an existing line’s attributes. Now the brush thicknesses are represented along a slider, showing a progressively larger diameter. The selected brush size now has a handy black highlight line behind it. The left side of my brain can now take a break LOL. Use the double arrow sliders in the middle of the image to see the before and after interfaces.

Image 14: PEN THICKNESS menus compared

LINE FIDELITY / SMOOTHING, that’s a new function that can be controlled in the new KaleidoPaint version 3.0

In the example below, I’ve done the exact same gesture with my stylus, but I’ve modified the line smoothing slider. To the left, gives you lots of nodes on your line and more accurate reproduction of your gesture. The other end of the slider, to the right, straightens it, smooths it as much as possible. It’s nice to have the choice. Adjustable parameter for less vigorous or more vigorous line smoothing is how Jeff explains it. If your hand jitters a lot, it can be corrected by the software. If you need more nodes, even on a slightly curved line, you can control that too. Typically when I start a tessellation, I need lots of nodes to test the perimeter elasticity pull here, push there, insert limbs and bulges to create characters. In the image 15 below, the first column has top fidelity (count the nodes), and the last column has the most line smoothing (less nodes). Test it and see what fits for you.

Image 15: Line smoothing is now possible in KaleidoPaint version 3.0!

The SYMMETRY MENU has also been revamped.

  1. SYMMETRY METHODS for your drawing are the same 17 classics. Only the menu has changed. The left side image shows the previous interface. The dashed lines are the parallel glide reflections, for this examples symmetry group Pg. On the new interface, at the right, I’m showing you symmetry group P31m, one mirror repeated around a three way rotation.
  2. The SYMMETRY PATTERNS are divided into categories (Manta Rays screen grab):
    • on the top left, those with mirrors
    • below that, groups with rotations
    • at the bottom left, mixes of mirrors and rotations
    • the top right, translation only
    • below that glide reflections
    • and lastly, mixes of glides and mirrors
  3. The NOTATION that you prefer to use. See image 17 way below, for a comparative list of ways people have tried to make sense of mirrors, glides, rotations and their translations, or repetitions. I’ve been coming up with my own descriptors as well.
  4. The REALIGN button resets the original base grid set-up, when you first started your drawing. (you can undo this operation). I use it often, when I want to show a progressive animation showing the creation of a tessellation in my classes.
  5. There are only a portion of the symmetry methods where you can skew the plane, the surface. It used to be accomplished with a three-finger gesture on your screen. Now it’s a slider under the symmetry menu ASPECT RATIO. The table of symmetry groups below has a column showing if it’s “skew-able” or not. Work in Progress.
  6. Turning the GRID ON/OFF It’s useful when you start a tessellation to have the grid turned on. It helps you understand the relationship between the repetitions of your lines. Draw a curve and it is rotated around a point, or reflected in a mirror, etc. Once your drawing’s perimeter is complete, you can turn off the grid, for the sake of clarity, and get down to the job of completing the details. The grid legend is as follows:
    • straight lines are mirrors with a reflection
    • dashed lines are glides, the reflected part shows up farther along the line
    • single dash is a 2 way rotation (180°)
    • stars with 3 arms are 3-way rotations (120°)
    • stars with 4 arms are 4-way rotations (90°)
    • stars with 6 arms are 6-way rotations (60°)
  7. COLOUR BY SYMMETRY, which I’ve hardly ever used, but it can be useful to see the relationships between the repeated strokes on your drawing. Let me know what you use it for, I’d be interested. Jeff says “the COLOUR BY SYMMETRY option isn’t really intended for art. It’s more a pedagogical aid for math classes to help student understands the structure of symmetry groups. What’s going on is that if you have, for example, a symmetry group that includes rotations, then all the red copies of your motif will be rotated the same way, all the blue copies will be rotated the same way, etc.”
Image 16: comparing the symmetry menus, use the middle arrows to move the split screen


Just something I’ve been working on. It’s a work in progress. Many of the symmetry notation systems that people have devised in order to understand the differences between symmetry methods. The different translations, mirrors, glides and rotations, and how they all work together. It can be overwhelming to try to understand their way of thinking. Truthfully, I don’t comprehend fully any of these methods, some of the logic eludes me. So, I’m coming up with a lay(wo)man’s system. I haven’t fully completed my column yet, might take me a while, but my system is definitely not scientific, LOL.

Image 17: Chart comparing the 17 different symmetry methods, in various classification notations

EXPORT IMAGE: Export image menu — OMG — where to find your images!

All images used to show up in the Photos App. Now it’s a different story, most apps now follow the same methods. So if you’ve gotten used to saving documents in other apps, use the same procedure within KaleidoPaint. The first image at the top of the post, (image 1) shows you the access point to either your iPad files or those you’ve set-up in your iCloud space.

By default, this is where your saved images go.(slide series below, figure 18)

  • Your iPad (1), vs. in your iCloud drive space, know how to differentiate between those two locations, took me a while! Choose the KaleidoPaint folder (2). KaleidoPaint will create a sub-folder the first time you export an image, a folder called “EXPORTED IMAGES” (3) on your iPad, directly beside any other folders you may have set up for your drawings.
  • Within this folder (3) when you click on it, KaleidoPaint will create sub-folders, named the same as your tessellation drawings Contortionist for this example (4).
  • The drawing’s icon will be a faded thumbnail (5), if you access it from within the KaleidoPaint app, because KaleidoPaint does not open PNG files. But if you open your FILES app, that’s the blue folder icon (6) among all the other apps on your iPad. I’ve stuck my Files folders app on the bottom bar because I use it quite a bit. Yours might be somewhere else, look around if you’re not familiar.
  • Within the Files folders app, choose the KaleidoPaint folder — then Exported images again — and the folder with your tessellation’s name. Within will be your drawing, saved as a PNG file (7), and any other variations you may have saved. If you get a message asking what to do with a second export, click on “KEEP BOTH” (8). You can also export a tile (9) of your tessellation, quite handy if you want to recolour it in another app, and tile a magnificent print for your wall!
  • If you hold your finger on the drawing’s thumbnail, you will get a menu of actions pop-up (10).
  • Get info shows you the file type and size, you can also tag it, move it, share it… (11). Look at the size of the export, way at the bottom, quite respectable at 4096×4096 pixels!
  • There are other resolutions in your export menu (12), from that monster size, down to 256×256 pixels, As well, you have the option to copy to your clipboard, possibly to paste it in an editing software. If part of your image has unfilled areas, you have the option to tick the box for a transparent PNG file.


Major changes here too, for the interface and new options too. No longer at the bottom right, it’s been shifted to the middle of the bottom bar (A). Once you click on the edit menu, you get into the nitty gritties of KaleidoPaint. This is the function that make this app a powerful tool, not a toy; it’s been around for a while, but now has new added functions.

Slide 2 shows you the edit menu if you tap on a fill node.

We see the same colour menu interfaces explained previously. Here, I’ve tapped on the palette that shows all of the colours used in this drawing as chips. A few new items below all this. “Change everything of same colour” (B) is a checkbox, if tapped, does exactly that. Very handy if you want to modify every single filled area of the same colour. Quick for different colourways of your tessellation.

Likewise, we have below the delete fill button, “Delete everything of same colour” is also a checkbox (C). No more tedious searching and panning and zooming around to find the hidden fluorescent pink fill hiding in your drawing. Just kidding.

The edit line menu has the added feature to “Change everything of same thickness” (D), as well as the above features for colour changes and deletions.


No need to select the FILL BUCKET tool, you simply double tap an area to fill, same as before.

LOCK icon, if activated, the bottom menus disappears. Your drawing is protected from any changes.

All of the text files generated by KaleidoPaint used to have the extension dot txt. Now, with the new version 3.0, KaleidoPaint saves the text file with the NEW EXTENSION DOT KALEIDOPAINT. This is only important to you if you’ve saved, transferred, backed-up, those files somewhere else than your iPad. Case in point — me. Well over 3,000 text file. I was not about to manually rename each file before reloading them on the iPad. For Windows PCs, I was able to batch convert them in just a few minutes. Here’s the link on how to do just that: https://www.thewindowsclub.com/how-to-rename-all-file-extensions-in-a-folder-at-once It’s a good idea to make copied to a new folder before undertaking this. Just in case.

That’s it for now.

Quite an upgrade from the previous version of KaleidoPaint. It’s my NUMBER ONE tessellation app on the Ipad. Thank you Meister Jeff Weeks for all your extensive work on this app, truly appreciated.

Send me a note if I’ve omitted any possible explanations and I’ll add these to the help page, with credit to you of course.


(an anagram of the name Escher)


If you’re a “Learn by Seeing” “Learn by Doing” kind of person, I’ve started creating videos on “how-to” create tessellations. I’ll be covering each of the 17 symmetry groups, one class at a time. And like all artists, we need to make a living. So. I’ve uploaded these to the Skillshare platform. I’ll get paid by minutes watched.

You can take the classes for free. Skillshare offers anywhere from 2 weeks to a month for free if you sign up, even temporarily.

You can register for just a month and cancel anytime. It’s less than the cost of a Netflix subscription! And you can still stay put on the couch. There are over 40,000 classes on topics for creative persons just like you. Join my mailing list, either here on my blog (in the sidebar), or a at this link for a specific list I use to announce new classes.

I’d love for you to join me on this wonderful learning adventure.

If you prefer, you can follow my progress on social media, I always announce my new class:
Facebook: Franc Champagne, and Vancouver Island Tessellation Artist
Instagram: champagne.francine
Twitter: FChampagne1
Linkedin: Graphic Design, PowerPoint and tessellations
Youtube: Video animations and class intros

My classes have received an independent rating of 9.7/10, placing these Skillshare classes in the TOP 2% of classes reviewed by CourseMarks!


Rekindle your Love of M.C. Escher Tessellations, draw your own tessellations using a free iPad App rating

Here is a list of the classes up so far:

  1. Rekindle your Love of M.C. Escher Tessellations, draw your own tessellations using a free iPad App. In this class I introduce the concept of tessellations, show you the work of M.C. Escher as well as other artists. Then we dive into a first symmetry method, P4g, accomplished by drawing only one line to create the perimeter of your tessellation.
  2. Just like M. C. Escher’s Tessellations: Draw Using a New Symmetry Method and Your iPad. We tackle the Mirrored Triplets symmetry group, aka P3m1.
  3. This UP/DOWN, LEFT/RIGHT Tessellation method was M. C. Escher’s favorite. It is also the symmetry method, P1, most taught in schools. Probably the only way most artists have tried to accomplish a nested shape. We will push it a tad farther, but also easier than scissors and cardboard.
  4. M. C. Escher Tessellations: The Three Cozy Buddies Symmetry Group, know as symmetry group P3. Lots of examples, from many different tessellation artists. One of my favorite ways of creating tessellations.
  5. Digital Patterns: Super Simple Quickie Patterns. 20 patterns in 30 minutes! I will show you how to draw and assemble your pattern design elements in four different and unusual ways. Come explore the possibilities, from a different point of view using your iPad and the free KaleidoPaint app. There is more to symmetry than rigid repeats, half-drops and tossed layouts.
  6. My next class with deal with a symmetry group I have named: “This way — that way”, aka crystallographic notation Pg. That Koloman Moser video above, is part of the series.

2 thoughts on “KaleidoPaint 2022: Previous and New Interface

  1. Pingback: KaleidoPaint iPad App Help | Tessellations by Francine Champagne

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