There I am, working my way through the Dreams tutorials, ever the eager student (I wasn’t ever an eager student, I talked too much) when unexpectedly I am taken aback.
Up until now, my syllabus had been functional. I moved blocks around and made bridges, and that was about it. I hadn’t made anything worth showing anybody, but this was different. I was learning how to make something look beautiful – which is something Dreams does really well. I had just assumed this was very complicated and would take ages to learn but no, quite the opposite: in a matter of minutes, beauty lay before me and I had created it.
The tutorial is a lesson on coats, effects and styles – not the kind of coats you wear. The task is simple: beautify a landscape – a landscape of grass verges, trees, a stream and a dinky little house. But it’s a scene stripped bare, missing any colour and texture, as if moulded from perfectly smooth, grey plasticine. Step one: colour it in. Select the tint tool, a colour, and then hold R2 to tint. Objects are grouped together for ease so dum-di-dum-di-dum, a few minutes later it will be done. Now it looks like colourful plasticine.
Then comes the magic: looseness. Everything in Dreams is made up of flecks, which are tiny, painterly brush strokes. It’s why it always looks so nice. The looseness tool, well, it loosens the flecks. Hold R2 and the object you’re hovering over begins to unravel, flecks appearing to grow, and grow unruly, as you do. Loosen smooth grass blob and all of a sudden spiky shards emerge and it starts looking like grass. Loosen trees and they become bushy.