After I have been asked by several people about how to set up the Nintendo DS (lite) to work with colors, I thought I'd rather post a HOW-TO here. I'm not an expert and had to work myself through a lot of Google pages and forum archives to make it work, so I'm not taking responsibility if you nuke your DS
Nintendo DS Lite
For those who do not know what the buzz is all about: The Nintendo DS (lite) is a portable gaming device that comes with 2 screens (DS = dual screen), WiFi support and a stylus. But you can use it as a painting device as well, something like a Wacom Cintiq, just smaller, cheaper and with a computer build in. You can use either the original DS or the DS lite, but I recommend using the DS lite. The LCD screens are brilliant, while the DS screen is rather dull and dark. And hands down, it looks hot, while the old DS looks as if a toaster mated a blender.
Selfmade, free appz for portables are called "Homebrew". There are about 5 painting applications at the moment, the best so far is Colors! It is equipped with the basic functions you need to paint digitally.
- 1024px wide document
- 2x/4x zoom
- a colorwheel
- hard/soft brushes
- pressure-sensitivity for both, opacity and size
- horizontal/vertical image flipping
- PLAYBACK function (see the whole process of a picture)
- Saving to up to 8 slots
- Uploading your pics to the official Colors! gallery via WiFi
Accessoires you'll need to get Colors! running on your DS
M3 DS Simply / R4 Revolution adapter cartridge
The DS has two slots that hold game cartridges. A big one at the front for old Game Boy Advanced cartridges (Slot-2), and a smaller one at the back of the device for DS games (Slot-1). It doesn't connect to a computer tho, as there's no way to plug it in via USB. The M3/R4 is an adapter cartridge that holds a microSD card to make the transfer from your computer to the DS. M3 and R4 are the same device, just by two different companies. I use the R4, it works fine.
This one stores the data. The microSD is tiny. I mean, TINY! It's hardly the size of my little finger's nail. You can connect it to your computer either by a capable card-reader, by converting it into a normal SD-card via adapter (first pic), or via USB-stick with a slot for the card (second pic). Make sure you have one of these. Most microSDs come with an adapter or USB-stick.
How to set it all up
1. M3/R4 Kernel
Plug the microSD into your computer. Download the "operating system" for either R4 or M3 and follow the instructions. Basically, you just put them onto your microSD.
2. Test Kernel
I was skipping this step and the programs didn't work. Put the microSD into your DS and turn it on. You should see the M3/R4 menu with 3 selection on your touchpad (Games, Multimedia, Slot-2 or derivates). Turn it off and put the microSD back into your computer.
3. Download Colors!
4. Install Colors!
Copy the .nds file to the root of the microSD. Put the card into your DS and start.
5. Patch Colors! Only if the step above doesn't result in a functioning application!
Usually, you can skip this step. If the application doesn't work, you need to download a so called DLDI-tool to patch all downloaded applications before copying them onto your card. Find them in the second list on the Official DLDI website. The file that has to be patched is the .nds file. It's the only file you need to copy to the card later. When you're asked for the medium that the application will be patched for, select M3/R4 or similar.
6. Run Colors!
Power-On. Select "Games" or "Applications" and choose the colors.nds. Press "A"-button to run the program.
7. Calibrate the stylus
I was shocked to find out that Colors! wouldn't let me paint with full opacity. Press the "Start"-button, choose calibrate!
The eMail function
It seems like Colors! uses the .drw file of the image as a base for the image that is created. It saves the strokes made and that data can be used to generate an image. With the build in eMail function, you can send a copy of your image to yourself. Why would you do that when you can actually just transfer the data via USB? Pretty simple: The eMail function uses a 1024px wide image and redraws your painting, while you can only transfer the 512px wide image from the microSD. You'll receive an non-interpolated 1024px wide image instead of the usual low-res .png file.
1. Set up WiFi on your DS
First you need an original, WiFi-enabled Nintendo game as there is no other way (of my knowledge) to set up WiFi on your DS. So get a cheap game that has a WiFi-function, e.G. for multiplayer mode. Most of those games have a "WiFi"-button in the main-menu or options-menu that lets you connect your DS to your local WLAN-network.
2. E-mail it to yourself
In Colors, open your painting, press the "Start" button and select "WiFi" in the lower right corner. You will be connected to your WLAN-network and you will be asked if you want to connect to the Colors! gallery. Accept, wait, and you'll receive a message that says that the gallery is not yet ready. Tap the screen and you will be prompted to type in an e-mail address. Enter your own and you're done. Enter a friend's e-mail to send love-letters made in Colors!
Frequently asked questions
Where's the f*** colorwheel?
It's mapped to the index-finger buttons on the back of the DS!
yAdam for pointing out the DLDI misunderstanding
donkeyslaver for telling the world that the images are actually 1024pixels wide.
sparth and again donkeyslayer for the email-function hint.
Last edited by Jabo; February 14th, 2010 at 09:08 PM.
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Nice one dude. Sketchling introduced the uk to colors and it's awesome... I tried to do the DLDI stuff first of all, but all you actually have to do is download the latest firmware for the m3 (not sure about the r4) and then all you have to do is add the latest version of colors to the micro card.
Here's a link to the firmware...http://www.kiwiclx.com/nds/
*Help a CA artist! Visit the Constructive Critique section! *
Also, if you have a Pocket PC there's a program called Pocket Artist that is around $50 and has direct compatibility with Photoshop. You can also set the resolution of the image pretty high (I haven't tried the highest settings but I made a 1024x768 sketch once).
It's another alternative to drawing tablets but if you already have the DS it might be cheaper to modify it as Pocket PCs run about $300 and up.
24-bit color editing, including transparency support and 23 blending modes
Open and save your PSD, JPG, PNG, GIF, BMP, TGA, J2K images
Painting tools, such as variable-opacity Paintbrush, Pencil, with sketch mode
Batch JPEG Processing: scale/rotate many images at once
IPTC/EXIF Support, Caption Editor: tag your JPEG images with metadata
Layer, masks, channels support
Gradient, Paintbucket, and quick shape tools
Color, Brightness, Levels adjustment, with grain reduction and color retouching
Pluggable Image Filters such as Noise and Unsharp Mask
Floating selections, Grids, Guides, Ruler, and Snap-to support
Pluggable brush packs and gradient packs
Animated GIF Wizard, with full palette support: HSB, Gray, Web-Safe color picker
Multilevel Undo, Virtual Memory Swapfiles Engine: load and edit large images
Thanks guys. Glad to hear it's useful.
yAdam: Thanks for pointing that out. I did a little research and it seems as if some applications, especially the ones that consist of just one .nds file, work without patching. Others need the patch to work, especially older ones.
Joshua Fountain: Nice to see that there are alternatives. I wonder, tho if there's a Pocket PC available with pressure sensitivity?
I use colors on my ds-xtreme 4gbit, and it works like a charm. Just thought i'd mention that as an alternative. It comes with a usb cable for easier transfer, if thats important to you.
its not working on my SC Lite.
Ill spend some more hours on this later today.
Thank you for making this thread and reminding me!
Hey, totally random question.
I heard that the DS lite's power button is on the right side of the syestem, and it slides on and off.
I'm left handed, and I'm worried I'm gonna get my new syestem and keep shutting it off with the hand I'm holding with!
And thanks for the Heads up Dile! For those of you who do have and run Colors, on your DS, what kind do you have so I can make sure without a doubt that what I order will work.
HOLY FUCK IT HAS ZOOM NOW?! *scuttles of for ds*
Sketchbook - http://conceptart.org/forums/showthread.php?t=186270
That's an awesome link Dile, now that's the power of the DS!
I want to thank Jabo too for the info he had here. Thanks to this, I am thinking seriously on getting a DS just as a portable painting program. It's a very neat idea, just have to do the math of about how much it will cost in total. During last thanksgiving, the DS was being sold for a $100 bucks only.
This is pretty cool... The pictures look sorta like the pictures made with the Graffiti app on facebook. It looks like its a lil more advanced than Graffiti though.
BTW, have you guys found a way to connect to WiFi with your DS? I have bought my DS solo and don't own a game that supports WiFi. I can't set up my WiFi. I downloaded a homebrew called "DSOrganize" that has a webbrowser and an irc-client built in. Too bad I can't connect because I haven't set up WiFi yet. Any ideas?
Last edited by Jabo; November 3rd, 2007 at 01:29 PM.
My R4 should be hitting my mailbox today, if it does my afternoon is going to be non-work productive for sure.
==Begins to start fomeing at the mouth, and falls over, off of his chair, in a puddle of his own drool==
I'm so excited about this! Finally I can put down the kiddy pastels, and do some stuff like this! (to bad I have to wait closer to december!)
About these images, I have a question. How does the resolution work?
What if I wanted to print one out? or, what if I wanted to take a hand-drawn image, scan it, and then put it into my DS?
I just dont wanna make a image, and then find out that I can't do anything with it!
Add Edit: Just look at this one: http://colors.brombra.net/details.php?i=1340
Absolute madness! is that really possible on just colors DS?
why I don't understand is how is that one of the eye so much more crist than outher images that I have seen, like this one
I know this is a thread about the DS setup, so to bring this back to topic, I remember someone saying that colors now has a Zoom tool. Is the eye made useing that? I just wanna make sure what I'm buying! Most importentley, I'm going to be a little dissapointed is all the images that I make are going to turn out a little "pixiley" like that second samurai one, and not more like the eye if I really want to make something quality.
Last edited by Vhan Juju; November 6th, 2007 at 12:52 PM.
donkeyslayer: Thanks for the heads up, you're totally right, the Grip Pen is a lot better. Smooth and crisp. Too bad I can't make it fit into that hole in the DS
This is a sketching device, which means it's meant for quick sketches that come to your mind when you don't have your tools at hand. It's not a production tool, neither is it meant to be used for printing. The resolution of 512px will print you an image of about 4 centimeters width. Again, that should be totally fine, because that's the DS/Colors! is about.Originally Posted by Vhan Juju
To be honest, the second pic is a lot better than the first one. Drawing eyes is the first thing people do when they begin with something new, and that eye doesn't really impress me.Originally Posted by Vhan Juju
Maybe the eye is made using the zoom tool, yes. But that doesn't really matter. No tool on earth will make your drawings/paintings better. And again, to be honest, using fewer tools often results in better pieces.Originally Posted by Vhan Juju
So, eye-fan. This is what I can say about it. Cool down, get a DS if you want, but don't depend your results on it.
with the wi fi connection, you can email the png to yourself, and Colors! up-sizes them 2x without making the image jagged.The resolution of 512px will print you an image of about 4 centimeters width. Again, that should be totally fine, because that's the DS/Colors! is about.
Email it to myself? I just transfer the images when I put the microSD into my computer.
The upsizing thing is kinda weird. The 2x zoom is actually a 100% view of the image. The DS has a 256px wide screen, and the images seem more crisp when you zoom in to 2x. So, that's a wrongly named feature. The gallery doesn't upsize them, they're actually transferred 1:1.
Thanks Jabo, I feel dumb, but smarter at the same time (a sure sign that I learned something)
so thanks for pointing our some of the problems with my reasoning! Even as a sketching tool it still has a lot of appeal to myself! (but I still think that some of those images in that Colors gallary are mighty impressive!)
Thanks again jabo! =salute=
This is a good reason to get a DS. I might have to look into it.
My work: [link]
Who! ho! wiat, what? so you CAN do pics at a higher resolution? now I'm really confused! (If you link your comp to your DS?)no, jabo. with the wi fi connection built into the DS and having it set up to use with your router, the image that is sent to you will be 1024*768. i can upload a picture at that size if you'd like
Ps: Plz post a pic at that resolution! very much so!