When inspiration strikes, out of the blue, as you’re making coffee or walking the dog, the feeling of uplift and excitement is hard to match. For most of us, these are purely chance moments, when events and surroundings combine to create a spark. But for those in the creative professions, it can’t be like that. There simply isn’t time to wait around for the mental light bulb to flicker into life. For creatives, inspiration needs to be engineered, manufactured even, and most achieve this by collecting inspiring stuff and keeping it nearby.
The scrapbooks and swatches once used for this purpose have now been replaced by digital formats. Some folks go for social (Pinterest), some for private (Icebergs & Ember), but the recurring theme is the clipping of digital files into virtual pinboards of creative ideas.
Strangely, the iPad, a device that seems so suited to visuals and is intuitive in its operation, has yet to see much love in the scrapbooking genre — a fact which an aptly named new app, Curator, wants to change. With a sleek, minimalist interface and simple controls, Curator will certainly appeal to creative folk on an aesthetic level; but what about on a practical one?
For the computer artist, pixels are the medium of choice. They provide every simulated brushstroke, every subtlety of shading, and every colour on the digital palette. Yet, in the majority of modern digital art, pixels are barely visible, much in the same way that individual particles of dyed water are imperceptible when spread across a canvas.
This wasn’t always the case. Once upon a time, individual pixels played a major role in the overall look of a picture. Initially, this was due to the very limited graphical computing power of which early home computers were capable, particularly when such artworks were used together in games, but it was later adopted as a style of digital art in its own right. It was called pixel art.
To this day, pixel art is popular, both for its bright colour schemes, and for its games-related retro coolness. If you find, as I do, that a 16-pixel Mario or Sonic provides irrational visual appeal, then you’ll be pleased to read about Pixaki, a new pixel art creation studio on iPad, retailing at $6.99. Packing retro console template sizes and PSD output, Pixaki is billed as being a professional-level offering. But can a touchscreen app really improve on the pleasing, inherent simplicity of pixel artistry?
Tablets — the iPad in particular — have revolutionized how we browse, communicate and work. Where only the humble graphics pad used to provide a physical human-to-computer interface, large, sensitive touchscreens now enable us to interact directly with our content. This has provided hobbyists, and artists who are used to using physical media, with the first practical tool with which to create digital art.
Initially, many iOS scribbling apps were focused on note-taking, and on handwriting recognition — the business end of things, in other words. Then, along came Paper by FiftyThree, which pretty much blew every other drawing app out of the water. It provided simplicity and beauty in equal measure, allowing artists to unleash their creativity in digital form, and making doodling a joy.
A similar ethos seems to be behind a new drawing app, named Tayasui Sketches. One of the first notable creative app releases in recent months, Tayasui Sketches is designed to be beautiful, and to be the very best app option for those wanting to create stunning illustrations.
Is Tayasui Sketches merely very similar to Paper by FiftyThree, though, or is it closer to being a clone? There’s only one way to find out…
To be honest, I typically only use my iPad for Reeder, streaming videos and my email, but every once in a while an app comes around that I get a little obsessed over; Foldify is such an app. Foldify is a really clever (and addicting) combination of Papercraft (it’s a real thing!), your iPad and Apple’s AirPrint. I seriously spent hours doodling on this thing over the holidays … hours!
Ready to get hooked? (more…)
There is an incredible range of drawing apps available for the iPad. Some apps have just a few color choices and one drawing tool while others are full of tools, making for essentially limitless possibilities. I have tried out a lot of these applications in the few years that I’ve owned an iPad and while the feature-filled applications are often my choice, at times I just want a simpler app.
Autodesk’s newest application, Sketchbook Ink, has helped to meet that desire. Sketchbook Ink is a vector-based drawing application in which you have access to 7 different pens and all the colors you can think of. It’s definitely a simpler application, but I’m really enjoying it so far. Read on to learn more about the app and what I think about it.
There are plenty of apps available on the iPad for doodling, sketching, and drawing. Ever since the App Store was introduced people have been looking for the best apps that incorporate drawing on the iPhone and iPad without a stylus. While those apps have been reviewed over and over, there are not nearly as many great apps available for vector based drawing on the iPad.
Enter iDraw. Now in version 1.3, this reasonably priced app ($8.99) seeks to replicate the features of the well-known Adobe Illustrator software and bring those tools to the iPad. Although I have little experience with Illustrator, from what I can tell those who have used it will be able to quickly pick up iDraw and begin creating masterpieces. You can use iDraw to do a variety of things, from projects that involve graphing and blueprints to creating works of art.
Before we continue I should forewarn you – I was not an art major and the drawings you’ll see in these pictures probably wouldn’t even make it onto my mother’s fridge. If you can appreciate “abstract” art or you’re simply just intrigued, by all means read on!
From time to time, software can surprise us. Once meant only as a tool, software can take us places we never dreamed, and help us do things in ways we never thought possible. But in some cases, software does even more than accomplish; sometimes software is simply beautiful.
Paper is beautiful software, created to give us something we lost when we moved from notebooks to tablets. The design and function of Paper is unlike any iPad app experience I’ve yet had, giving back so much of what I remember from years of filling up Moleskine journals. To see what beautiful software like Paper can do, read on past the break!
I’ve learned two primary things in the brief year I’ve owned an iPad 2; an iPad isn’t really a good substitute for a computer in everyday work, and iPad’s are brilliant supplements to everyday work. There is much I do on the computer that is significantly more time consuming with the iPad (if it can be done with it at all), but because of the plethora of specially designed productivity tools and business oriented applications, it’s perfect for taking into a meeting, having on my lap at a conference, or even presenting from (when that necessity arises).
Sketchshare is one of those apps that strives to make the iPad a perfect companion and supplement for your “full-time” computer. It’s designed to do one thing well, collaborative sketching, with added features that make it attractive for a variety of different work and business environments.
There was a time, when I considered myself an aspiring graphic designer, that I would fire up Photoshop, create a new canvas, and immediately find myself hating every single aspect of the software. From the laggy controls to the half-assed interface, everything about Photoshop has, from my experience, felt like a letdown.
Still, I found myself downloading Photoshop Touch shortly after it was released. Why did I feel the need to do this to myself? Well, because I had heard good things about the software, and at $10 the touch-optimized version is less than one-thousandth the price of the original desktop version. Is it worth a download, or will you be better off with another tool? Let’s find out.
Since the introduction of the iPhone, iPad, and the App Store there have been a number of apps released that serve for quickly editing photos and applying fun and artistic effects. It seems you can now buy any collection of apps at low prices to edit images and apply filters similar to those offered in Photoshop. Of course, Photoshop is a one stop shop for doing just about anything with images, but the learning curve and the price are both quite steep.
For all those out there who don’t want to take the time to learn or just want to apply effects fast there are apps like Percolator. This unique image editor provides a number of options for turning photos into mosaic images in no time. So, let’s get brewing!