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At the intersection of liberal arts and technology

Probably the most powerful Apple advert in a long while. Here Apple is once again promoting the iPad as a platform for creativity... as if we had forgotten!

Spacial computing, how the iPad will soon understand its environment

For a while it was looking as if 4K video might represent the upper end of high quality image capture throughout 2014. However, Occipital are looking to push way beyond simply capturing the world around us in flat slices of information, with Structure Sensor the iPad will be able to capture environmental depth data upon which the image data from the iPad's camera can be overlaid. The video above explains how this works in practice, and the official website goes into a lot more detail.

At the end of last year Apple purchased PrimeSense, the company responsible for the original Kinect camera for Xbox. Kinect is similar to Structure Sensor, so it seems likely that Apple is working on incorporating this kind of 3D capture technology into at least some if its products. Exciting times ahead, for sure.

iRing brings volumetric motion control to the iPad

Recent rumours suggested that Apple might include some kind of volumetric motion controller with its mythical TV. It turns out that IK Multimedia have beat Apple to it, also securing the iRing name, no less.

While we think that it's only a matter of a year or two before this kind of iPad gesture interaction will be possible without the need to wear any extra hardware. We certainly welcome IK's brave step into the next wave of computer/human interaction. IK clearly has music in mind with iRing, but it certainly recognises how iRig could be used in games and beyond. 

Tune-in Tuesday: End of Year Party - Made on an iPad

We haven't run a Tune-in Tuesday feature for a while, so we hope you like our small sampling below of music made or recorded on an iPad and shared via our iPad Creative SoundCloud group.  

As it is the last day of 2013 today we thought a lot of you will be in party mode, so here are a few dance-ish tracks to get you in the mood, enjoy!

Dark Valley by FFFChico

Fuzzy Logic v.3 by REVIV3Я

Love the wubbly bass in this one!

An Unexpected Moment of Joy by pantsofdeath

We think pants means something slightly different in Australia than it does here in the UK, but great track nonetheless - a real builder to get lost in.

Mur de Huy by Kolstad

We're not sure if this is named after the infamous climb featuring in the pro-cycle race La Flèche Wallonne, but it is a very bright and bouncy tune that we wanted to share anyway.

Apocalypse Ni Hao by JINXPADLOCK

A monster of a track created in NanoStudio, with multiple connected parts and full of joyful beats - we love it.

Bonus: Smile by stereobia

Not necessarily a dance track but we still wanted share this track with great sounding vocals recorded with the internal mic on the iPad. Nice!

There you go, a few tracks to get you started and hopefully in the mood for whatever you are doing later today.

If you liked this selection and want to hear some more of the great music people have created on their iPads or iOS devices check out our other Tune-in Tuesday posts.

Send us your (iPad) tunes

We want to hear what you can create on your iPad and here's how you can get your sounds to us:

  • Join our iPad Creative SoundCloud group then click on the 'Share a Track' button on the group page
  • If you're on a computer, click 'Send us your sounds' in the Social section in the sidebar --->
  • Leave us a link to your track on SoundCloud in the comments below

We're looking forward to hearing you soon.

Video: 'Reignite' Procreate iPad Painting by James Julier

Here's a nice warming iPad painting for those of us in the grip of Winter.  Painted by James Julier in Procreate for iPad, it is an interesting look at the creative process of someone who admits they are still learning how to get the best from this great iPad app.

See more iPad art created in Procreate

50% Off (Almost) Everything From IK Multimedia

If you have been holding off on purchasing that iPad app from IK Multimedia or if you have a new iPad that needs loading up with some of the best audio apps available for iOS, then now is the time to grab a bargain with 50% off everything except their two newest apps.  There is also 50% off in-app purchases!

Video: Building an Orchestra with Music Studio

At the moment we are battening down the hatches here in the UK whilst a massive storm is on it's way in - so we are stuck indoors.  This is a perfect time to get creative with your iPad and try out those projects you've been meaning to have a go at for a long time.

Enter this very impressive video demo from Xewton on how to make a stunning orchestral soundtrack on their Music Studio app for iPad.  There is even a free Lite version you can try out first.

At the moment Music Studio is on sale for 33% off at $9.99 / £6.99 and the in-app instrument packs are also on sale at 50% off, so if you like the Lite version grab the full app now during the holiday period.

'No further' by Nikolai Lockertsen

It's always a pleasure to share Nikko's work.

Further reading: Nikolai Lockertsen

Waterlogue, a strong contender for the best app of 2013

We've been keen to try Waterlogue, the auto watercolour app, ever since it was first announced. The early example images shared by Tinrocket looked almost too good to be true. Surely these images have been 'improved' by hand, we thought. But no, after playing with Waterlogue for a few hours, it's clear that Tinrocket has produced something quite remarkable, organic, living watercolour paintings through clever software only. That's not to say that you don't need an eye for a good composition, or an understanding of watercolour, both help massively.

The interface is simple. Pick your photo, then pick from one of 12 presets and leave the rest to Tinrocket's amazing code. The results can be fine tuned before sharing. It's very simple, but the results are like nothing anything else we have ever seen.

Is this the end of the road for hand painted watercolours? No, not at all. As remarkable as Waterlogue is, the artwork that it produces has a Waterlogue look. We think that Waterlogue is best used as a tool for artists who have yet to explore the wonders of watercolour. As such, Waterlogue is an invaluable aid.

Be sure to check out the official Waterlogue Flickr group for many more wonderful Waterlogue paintings.

App Store Link: Waterlogue

Video: BIAS and GarageBand Play Nicely Together

Positive Grid are doing a good job of sharing tutorials and demos on YouTube of their new BIAS amp modelling app. If you don't know much about BIAS check out our review.

This video shows how to use your carefully crafted BIAS tone with Apple's Inter-App audio feature built in to the marvellous GarageBand. We hope you find it as useful we did.


'Morgan Freeman' by Kyle Lambert

When a painting looks like a photo, you know you are looking at a something special. 285,000 brush strokes and more than 200 hours went into creating this astonishing likeness of Freeman. As a technical demonstration it's unrivalled. However, it's Kyle's inspiration that really appeals.
"One of the big reasons I decided to do this painting was to inspire other budding artists to embrace digital art. A friend of mine who is a school teacher explained to me recently that whenever he plays one of my painting videos in class, his students become noticeably more engaged and excited about creating art. The idea that more people are engaging in art because of something that I have created is amazing to me."

"Happy Ogre" by Andy Ellis in Procreate

Andy Ellis is an Illustrator who loves using Procreate to capture ideas and pre-production sketches on his iPad. Andy recently posted a review of Procreate on his blog telling us why he prefers using it over other apps, which is an interesting read.

The video above is one of Andy’s recent illustration sketches but to see more of his work be sure to visit his portfolio site too.

'Caroline Winberg' by Paul Vera-Broadbent

This one stopped us in our tracks this morning whilst browsing the iPad Creative Flickr Group. Paul Vera-Broadbent's style is futuristic, polygon-based and awesome!

We've mentioned Paul's Sketchbook Pro for iPad work before but it does no harm to re-visit Paul's Flickr stream and check out the rest of his artwork.

While you're there, be sure to give some consideration to the rest of our super talented group members and feel free to add your own iPad created artwork to the group.

We try and feature new images whenever we can, but it is definitely worth subscribing to the Group's feed.

Giveaway: Win a Copy of the Epic BIAS Guitar Modelling App

BIAS Logo

A couple of days ago in our review we told you how we were blown away by Positive Grid's new infinitely tweakable sound engine, BIAS for iPad.

Well, if you really fancy trying BIAS but haven’t yet splashed out on the app yourself, we have one free copy to give away.

All you have to do is:

1) Ensure you follow us on either Facebook or Twitter

2) Leave us a comment below that includes

a) Your favourite feature of BIAS (hint: check out the BIAS homepage)

b) Your email address in the comment form so we can contact you if you win (don’t worry, we are the only ones who see your email, it isn’t made public)

Important Info.

That’s it.  You must meet both criteria 2a and 2b above or, in fairness to other entrants, we cannot consider your entry.

We’ll randomly select one of the commenters below after 1900 GMT on the closing date Wednesday 20th November 2013.

Video: Fantasy Speed Painting with Procreate

It is always fascinating for us to view and examine the creative process and how others use apps like Procreate on their iPads. With that in mind, we enjoyed this video by Danny Glasgow, we hope you do too.

Video: How to Make a Green Screen

Just a quick video find in case, like us, you were looking for a cheap DIY solution to use with Do Ink’s Green Screen app we mentioned a few weekends ago.

Artist Ryan J. Rhoades (aka @iAmAHero613 on most social networks) offers a couple of useful tips in this short video. For us especially, using taped together boards, as our initial tests hanging a sheet of material have been less than professional to say the least. We hope it helps you too.

BIAS Blows Us Away

“…We threw out convention and focused instead on how to create the most delicious tone in as many flavors as possible. The result is BIAS... - Calvin Abel, BIAS Product Manager

BIAS Logo

In our last post we told you about the upcoming release of BIAS and what amazing tone control was promised by the team at Positive Grid.

Well, we were invited to be in on the Beta program for BIAS and Wow! BIAS really does live up to that promise.  

BIAS has now been officially released and we think Guitarists are going to love this app, especially those searching for the perfect tone,.

If you care about your guitar tone and want professional results right there on your iPad, you will run out and get BIAS now. Here's why you should:

Infinitely Tuneable

As the above video demonstrates, BIAS makes your guitar tone infinitely tuneable to the finest degree possible. You have complete control over every part of your tone including:

  • preamps
  • tone stacks
  • power amps
  • transformers
  • cabinets
  • panel controls
  • mic selection 
  • mic placement

BIAS 05 Transformer

The great thing is you don’t need to be a sound tech or audiophile to understand this app and dial in your perfect sound.  We found it intuitive and easy to drag/tap our way to a sound we were happy with.

BIAS 07 EQ

You can do things with this app that would take a long time to do or that would cost you a lot of money in the real world.  For example, you may not  bother to change a whole set of tubes or be able to switch to a different head or cabinet setup to fine-tune your sound, but you can do that in a couple of seconds with BIAS, all whilst constantly monitoring the sound as you make even tiny adjustments.

BIAS 06 Cab

Sound Launchpad

To get you started, BIAS comes loaded with 36 amp presets (28 guitar, 4 bass and 4 keyboard/vocal), including a lot of the most popular and well loved amps.  These sound fantastic as they are, but they are also a perfect launchpad for building your own sound, especially as they are categorised so you have an idea of what to expect.  Here’s the categories you get: 

  • Clean
  • Glassy
  • Blues
  • Crunch
  • Hi Gain
  • Metal
  • Insane
  • Acoustic
  • Bass
BIAS 01 Home
 

The quality of these amp models is very impressive.  Positive Grid’s USP for us is the warmth that their sound engine produces in comparison to the often harsh, digital, sound of some other iOS amp sims.  

The clean amps especially sound beautiful as long as you pare down the input from your guitar, but with our Epi Les Paul (no we can’t afford the real thing) the Metal and Insane amps ripped apart our speakers with the lovely, screaming yet smooth, distortion that you would hope to hear.

It is a bit embarrassing to admit, but there was a massive smile on our face as we heard these amp models for the first time, even excitedly chuckling at how awesome they sounded.  BIAS really does sound that good.

Custom Looks

It’s not just about the way your unique amp sounds either.  You can completely customise the look of your new unique amp setup.  You have control over every aspect of your amp’s design whether you want that traditional Marshall rock stack look or a classic Fender Tweed blues vibe, or a mash-up of both, you can do it with BIAS.

You can even change the panel style (behind the controls) and add your own custom image as the bezel for your amp head. 

BIAS 08 CustomPanel

Share It

Once you have found that killer tone and designed your amp’s look, you can tell everyone else about it by sharing it with them on Facebook. 

BIAS 09 Facebook 

This is what it looks like when you share it on Facebook:

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Use It

When your sound is finalised and ready to go Positive Grid have made it a one-tap operation to send your whole amp (including its unique look) over to JamUp XT (Free) or their Pro version to jam live with.

BIAS 10 JamUp Integration

BIAS is also Audiobus compatible so you can use your unique amp sound in any app that integrates with the fantastic Audiobus platform, including GarageBand which you may already have for free if you have a new iOS device, an essential but still very welcome interaction.

Getting the Sound In

Of course, BIAS is compatible with pretty much any manner of iOS instrument input device, not just Positive Grid’s own JamUp Plug. A full list of the compatible iOS audio interfaces can be found at the bottom of the BIAS webpage.

We had no problem using it with iRig, Apogee Jam, GuitarJack 2 and of course the JamUp Plug.  All gave great results with only the difference between the devices themselves affecting the input levels (but that has nothing to do with BIAS). 

Recommendation and Win

We could go on, but it will come as no surprise that we are highly recommending BIAS for iPad.

Yes, it is on the expensive side for an iOS app at $19.99, but at the price of one decent tube for your amp BIAS will open up a world of easily achievable tone and we don't think you'll ever regret purchasing it.

You can find out more about the BIAS for iPad app at Positive Grid's website or go and grab it from the App Store now.

Plus, stay tuned over the weekend for your chance to win a free copy of BIAS - more soon.

BIAS Promises to be Epic

It is hard to imagine how the crowded Guitar Effects / Amp Simulation field could be improved upon, apart from perhaps the realism and authenticity of the sounds or tone of the amps.  Quite a few of the current batch sound very ‘digital'.  

Positive Grid (makers of JamUp Pro) seem to be thinking along the same lines.  We liked the more resonant and authentic sound of their Amp Simulations when we reviewed JamUp Pro a while ago.  

Now they are on the verge of releasing BIAS which promises “Tone revolution on an epic scale”.  A bold claim indeed!

We hope to be getting our hands on a copy of BIAS very soon and we will be giving it a thorough run through, but in the meantime check out the teaser video above.

Real Green Screen Effects on your iPad from Do Ink

Check out the above demo video for new app Green Screen from Do Ink.  We think it will be a massive bonus for iPad content creators, especially in the Education field.

We have covered several times already Do Ink's brilliant iPad Animation app widely used by Educators. They released Green Screen a couple of days ago for just $2.99 / £1.99, we think it is going to be a big hit.

We are downloading the app now and will be roping in the iPad Creative kids to test it this weekend.  More on that soon!

In the meantime, grab your copy of Green Screen and be sure to share your results with us in the comments. 

Snapseed Makes HDR Easy

It isn’t going to satisfy ‘proper’ photographers or HDR proponents we realise, but the latest version of Snapseed (now offered for Free under Google’s ownership) has a new tool in its arsenal, known as HDR Scape.  

Now iOS photographers can have a stab at HDR photography whilst editing their photos in one of our favourite iOS Photography apps. 

Grey card test

To show just how powerful this new tool is we took out our iPad 3 on a very dull and grey November day here on the South Coast of the UK, and we grabbed one of the dullest photos we could, without giving it too much thought.

Live demo

Then we brought that photo into Snapseed on the same iPad and ran it through the HDR Scape tool to see what happened, recording it as a little screencast for you at the same time.

Whilst the results are far from great, we think it is pretty amazing what Snapseed was able to pull out of this dull, flat iPad photo and the potential is clear.  Check out the video and let us know if you have achieved any results with the HDR Scape tool in Snapseed that you would like to share with us (links to any examples would be nice too).