40 Wonderfully Creative iPad Apps

We all have the capacity to be creative, it’s in our very nature.

The iPad is a wonderful tool for creation is almost every sphere you can imagine, from expressing poetry to capturing artistic ideas, from exploring musical invention to manipulating captured light. Whether you consider yourself a creative professional, or are simply a person who loves to dream and imagine, there are hundreds of awesome iPad apps to help you do just that.

Exercise your mind, make something new today!

Artistic Apps

Procreate

Procreate touts itself as possibly the most exciting digital painting app on a mobile device, I think it lives up to that claim.

It features a great deal of functionality that’s packaged in an effortlessly intuitive interface, it can’t fail to appeal to the artistic among you!

Zen Brush

Zen Brush is a beautiful way to get involved and make your own art!

Rather than being a fully fledged painting app like Procreate or Brushes, the beauty of Zen Brush lies in the simplicity of the concept. Create delicious images using and ink brush to write or to paint, the textures and tactile feel of the app is just brilliant. The restricted concept makes Zen Brush compelling easy to pickup.

Brushes

Brushes featured prominently in our roundup of painting apps for the iPad, it’s one of the leading apps in its field.

Brushes has even been used by influential artist David Hockney to pioneer painting on the iPad as legitimate art – check out this article from the BBC. It’s fascinating the way technology is pushing the boundaries of artistic expression!

Art Rage

Art Rage is a painting app for the iPad that contains a huge variety of tools, paint that’s so real it’s almost wet to touch, and the opportunity to create dazzling beautiful and realistic pieces of art.

We reviewed it and gave it a stunning 9/10, the possibilities are endless!

Sketch Club

Sketch Club is an awesome app that combines standard digital painting and drawing tools, vector art, old school pixel art, and also new procedural tools which help you get amazing results even if you’re new to working digitally.

It’s built around its integrated online community and allows you to upload your sketches to let others rate and comment on them, as well as giving you the chance to enter daily challenges and fun competitions!

Sketchbook Pro

From the storied lineage of 3D Studio Max, AutoCad, and Sketchbook Pro for the PC and Mac platforms, Autodesk Sketchbook Pro for iPad lives up to all of the expectations. Integrating intuitive gestures into the app lets the viewport be as clutter-free of UI options as possible, while letting you call them up whenever you need to.

The features mirror the PC and Mac versions of Sketchbook Pro quite closely, and you have a wide range of digital versions to analog painting and sketching tools. The visual look of the tools are fantastic, and I really like the finished result. This app is one any serious artist should look into.

For a detailed look at Sketchbook Pro head over to our in-depth review!

Layers Pro

Layers Pro lets you do a lot more than just create and rearrange layers. It sports your average brush engine with all the usual choices, round, square, textured, and speckled. But, as any good artist will tell you, more brushes doesn’t mean a better painting. It just means more brushes.

Layers Pro also allows for the playback of the brush strokes that led to the creation of the painting, but expands it with an online gallery of other Layers Pro users, letting you learn from their techniques and methodologies.

Photographic Apps

iPhoto

iPhoto is a intriguing app, utilising myriad gestures and forcing you into a certain style of workflow, but I’m simply addicted to using it on the new iPad – the crystal clarity of photos is intoxicating! iPhoto itself is Apple bringing beautiful, if not professional, photo-editing to everyone.

We’re soon to have an official, and carefully considered, iPhoto review on iPad.AppStorm, but until then I’ll just say this;

iPhoto was the perfect app to launch alongside the new Retina enhanced iPad.

Luminance

Luminance is more than just another iPad image editing app. Its well considered features, intuitive design and flexible interface place it amongst the best such apps currently available for the platform.

We reviewed Luminance in February and gave it a strong 9/10!

Snapseed

If you love photography, then you’ll love Snapseed. It’s as simple as that!

Snapseed can help you make any photograph extraordinary and puts a fun high-quality photo experience right at your fingertips. It’s versatile and intuitive, but above all it’s enjoyable! It’s very gesture-heavy, will some people will absolutely love, but in a very different way to iPhoto.

Percolator

Percolator is a cheap, entertaining app that changes your everyday photos into mosaic masterpieces with ease in no time. We reviewed it right here.

Sure, it’s a novelty, but a little fun never hurt anyone! A key element of creativity is making the most of limitations, I’m intrigued to see what people will be able to create with Percolator.

Filterstorm Pro

Filterstorm couldn’t be more different from Percolator, it’s a robust, fully-featured mobile photography editing system for professional and prosumer photographers who need to edit large numbers of high resolution images.

Despite its mobile nature, it may even be able to replace a laptop-based workflow for some – it’s that powerful! We gave it a 9/10 in our comprehensive review.

Photogene

Photogene has been one of the front running photo editing apps on the iPad for a long time, you may have already heard about it or have it in your arsenal. It comes with a vast array of photo editing tools, most of which are incredibly intuitive, with actions happening in real time.

Photogene now has localised effects, a collage maker, and comparison mode. It helped pioneer some of the features that are now a staple of solid photo editing apps.

PhotoForge2

Photoforge2 is a feature-packed photo editing app that really stands out above the rest. I loved using this app for editing photos and creating more intricate projects using layers and adjustments.

It’s not only a great tool for creative professionals on-the-go, but also for people who love to edit photos and share them. Read our review to help you make your mind up!

Video Apps

Avid Studio

Chris reviewed Avid Studio earlier this month and gave it a solid 8/10.

While it won’t likely replace your regular editing machine, Avid Studio shows a lot of promise for video editing on the iPad. It’s a significant improvement on iMovie and should only get better as iPad specifications improve.

We have a detailed How-To on Avid Studio that you can check out here!

iMovie

You can’t have a roundup of Video apps on the iPad without including iMovie. A stalwart of video editing on the iPad, iMovie is a fast and fun moviemaking app that puts everything you need to tell your story at your fingertips.

It’s very similar to iPhoto in its love of gestures, and is decidedly less versatile than Avid Studio, but it was updated for the launch of the new iPad and is as superb an app you can get for $4.99.

8mm HD

8mm HD allows you to give your videos a gorgeous retro chic, with 42 aged and stylistic looks your videos will never be the same again.

The great thing is that, although you can film videos straight from the app, there is also an import feature that gives you the ability to apply and adjust effects while they are playing, like you are filming them for the first time.

Musical Apps

Garageband

It’s a must-have app for any respectable iPad owner! Apple have succeeded in creating a gorgeous and effortlessly enjoyable music app that appeals to people of all ages and abilities.

With the new updates, Garageband is an effortlessly enjoyable app that encourages you to be creative. There are obvious limitations, but that’s part of the creative process!

Animoog

Animoog is as close as you can come to a professional grade synthesiser on the iPad. Check out our review here to dive into the true functionality of this superb app!

I love the sheer depth of functionality and the gorgeous synthesiser interface, it’s expensive at $29.99 but worth it as a great example of a professional musical instrument on the iPad.

djay

djay is simply an amazing achievement. The power that lurks beneath the surface of its slick interface is immense, and a great example of the potential of the iPad. Whether you’re an aspiring amateur or a professional music maestro, djay has something to offer everybody. It’s vastly entertaining but with great potential for much more advanced and serious use.

Check out our review for an in-depth look at djay!

Bloom HD

Bloom HD has been developed by legendary ambient music pioneer Brian Eno and sound artist/developer Peter Chilvers. The app is a mixture of sound design and interactive computer synthesis, able to create simple patterns with the tap of a finger, which are then translated into lush, beautiful tones.

DM1

DM1 is an advanced vintage Drum Machine that turns your iPad into a fun and creative beat making machine. I love the inclusion of classic drum machines such as the Roland TR-808, inspiring you to find new ways to use vintage sounds!

The interface is simple enough for anyone to pick up, but versatile enough for use in more professional settings.

Soundrop

Draw lines and watch as Soundrop uses them to create music!

Soundrop uses lines, curves and shapes to create musical patterns and algorithms that can be created intuitively at your fingertips without the need to spend hours inputing data in sequencing software. We looked at it briefly in our post about Bjork’s adventures in iPad music-making.

Tonepad Pro

Tonepad Pro is a very simple music-making app which derives its inspiration from specialist (i.e. expensive) music hardware like Yamaha’s Tenori-On. The user is provided with a dark 16×16 grid which can be filled in with white circles at the touch of a finger. These circles denote a tuneful tone and, as an invisible pulse moves from left to right on the screen, Tonepad Pro will play the current pattern.

Guitarist

Guitarist is something of a hybrid music app, in that it will appeal to both the experienced musician and complete novice. Moo Cow Music have done a great job here visually and, though it’s very playable on the iPod Touch and iPhone, Guitarist truly shines on the extra screen space available with the iPad.

It’s the “Manual Fret” mode which most closely resembles real guitar playing and, with the range of effects available, can produce very impressive results.

Looptastic HD

Is it the most fully featured digital music app available on the iPad? Of course not. But its price point is also much lower than that of professional apps.

Looptastic HD gracefully walks the line between professional grade audio software, and affordable, fun software. This makes it fun for sitting around and jamming, interesting live performance, or even as a tool to use in the studio. We reviewed it right here.

Symphony Pro

Being musically creative on the iPad isn’t limited to making actual sounds, Symphony Pro is simply the best way to note down your ideas in score form. If you’re interested you can check out our review.

Currently, this is the best music notation app for the iPad. It has many professional features that rival some high-end desktop applications. With its many input methods and notation elements, Symphony Pro is a must-have for any composer who wants to write on the go.

Fruity Loops Studio

An awesome touchscreen translation of the well loved DAW, FL Studio Mobile HD raises the bar for other similar iOS music apps.

FL Studio Mobile HD is another step toward iOS devices leaving their status as secondary, or backup, music creation platforms and into real instruments in their own right, with many loops and beats to get stuck into and a depth of instrument which will compel repeated use.

Virtuoso Piano

I, personally, quite like the piano instrument in Garageband, but if you’re looking for a free piano app to play chopsticks on then Virtuoso Piano is a good way to go.

The piano sound is great, and it even uses the accelerometer to give you expressive license – hard taps are louder and soft taps are quieter.

AmpliTube

While AmpliTube doesn’t really compete with Garageband when it comes to overall recording functionality, it’s still a valuable application in the creative sphere.

It does require that you purchase an iRig adapter, but for anyone whose eyes light up at the word ‘Flanger’ it’s probably worth it. For all budding, and professional, guitarists out there AmpliTube gives you a wealth of effects and tones that can really help to ignite your imagination!

KORG iElectribe

KORG iElectribe is a dance drum machine for the iPad that tries to make sound creation easy, fun and intuitive. You simply choose a part (or sound) and touch the 16-step sequencer to quickly build a groove.

However, I’m not a huge fan of the skeuomorphic interface, analog dials may look pretty but they’re not anywhere near as useful on an iPad screen.

Audioprom

Audioprom is an audio sequencer and live performance application for the iPad. It’s beautifully different from almost all other sequencers on the iPad because it’s built from the ground up to be intuitive using gestures and touch.

KORG iMS-20

iMS-20 is an analog synth studio; a complete recreation of the Korg MS-20 synth, an analog sequencer, a drum machine, and even Korg’s Kaoss Pad technology.

It’s powerful, but again uses a real-world interface that doesn’t translate hugely well to the iPad. Still, the depth of functionality opens up new worlds of creativity to the musically-minded – I’m excited to see what will happen when companies start developing apps with the iPad interface in mind.

Writing Apps

iA Writer

There is a wealth of simple writing apps in the App Store, but iA Writer is one of my personal favourites. It takes all formatting decisions out of your hands and allows you to truly focus on what you’re typing. Its focus mode shows you only the last couple of lines, taking editing distractions away from you, while the extra keyboard functions allow you to type quicker than you ever thought possible on your iPad.

Daedalus

We reviewed Daedalus last year and gave it an excellent 9/10. Daedalus is an excellent rethinking of the text editor, which focuses on keeping you in sync.

It’s an awesome text editor, beautifully crafted for the future.

Phraseology

Phraseology is a text editor that offers a powerful set of language tools. Phraseology allows you to easily rearrange text, look up words, and inspect word usage for repetition or reading difficulty.

It’s an absolute joy to use. The app’s unique and powerful features are game changers for anyone looking for an app that does more with language. On top of Phraseology’s innate features, its tight integration with Terminology provides users with a powerful language tool that is unmatched by any other top sellers in the App Store.

Pages

The App Store is overflowing with minimal writing apps, but if you’re creating something more detailed in terms of formatting then Pages is definitely the way to go.

It’s one of those apps that many people take for granted, but that helps make the iPad useable as your only device.

Blogsy

If your a blogger of any kind, then Blogsy might just be the perfect tool for you.

It’s far superior to the WordPress app itself and is gaining more and more functionality as each month goes by! Who says the iPad isn’t great for writing and communication?

Byword

Byword provides an amazing environment to write Markdown on your iPad, and have your documents seamlessly synced between all your iPhone, iPad and Mac devices using iCloud or Dropbox.

It’s only recently come to iOS and is getting a lot of praise, we have a review coming in the next week!

WriteRoom

For those of us who love to write on the iPad, be that on the glass or using an external keyboard, WriteRoom is the original distraction-free writing environment.

It attempts nothing more than to create a quiet place for you to write, and succeeds with aplomb.

Your Thoughts

We made it! As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts – tell us what your favourite creative app is on the iPad?

Whoever said the iPad was for content consumption…

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