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…
I have been a huge admirer of Aviary for a long time now. I don’t use their web apps often, but I’m in awe at them for showing the world what web apps are capable of. The range and quality of their toolkit on the web is praiseworthy. It’s no wonder that the developers have started licensing their toolkit.
Image editing in the mobile phone genre is largely powered by Aviary, and the most famous example of this is the recently launched Twitpic app. Not just comfortable being in the background, Aviary has launched its official iOS app in the app store. Let’s go check out how functional it is. (more…)
I’ve always enjoyed a good match of strategy. Tower defense games are one of the best ways to devise those nefarious tactical plans on a mobile device. I remember the days when Java games dominated the mobile market, and even though the selection wasn’t always great, the only way to get a game was to pay your wireless carrier up to $10 for it. You could then play it on your Motorola RAZR or other basic phone using the wondrous keypad to conquer the world. Those were the days.
Now we’ve become too developed for such devices and have moved on to Apple’s sublime iPad. Tower defense made it to the tablet as well, in the forms of Plants vs. Zombies, Kingdom Rush and Fieldrunners. Now we have the sequel, Fieldrunners 2 for the iPad, and I’ve been playing it since launch day. Is it good? Let’s find out. (more…)
Check. Check. Is this thing on? Hello everyone. If you’re a developer of iPad applications, then today, I’m talking to you. More specifically, the one’s who shouldn’t snooze through today’s address are the iPad game developers, but what I want to talk about applies to a wide range of apps.
I come to you today with a problem that I’ve been putting a great deal of thought into over the last few months. You see, I’m what the tech world might call a “dinosaur.” I got my iPad (the original iPad) around Christmas time the year it came out. This was, if you don’t recall, only months before the iPad 2 was released. I’ve watched as the new iPads and the apps developed for them have gotten better, and I can’t help but feel like I’m being left in the dust – specifically, regarding graphics.