Leaving aside for a moment the common argument that touch controls can't match the physical controls of dedicated games console controllers, we wonder how long it will be before iPad games look as good XBOX 360 and PS3 games.
Based on video preview of Real Racing 3 (seen above), the wait will not be a long one. Look at the detail level and the realtime reflections, it's impressive stuff, especially at a consistent 30 frames per second. The current iPad hardware is very close, in terms of raw power, to the current consoles and next years iPad hardware will likely close that gap completely.
Real Racing 2 HD is undoubtedly the best racing simulator on the iPad, Real Racing 3 could become an instant classic!
Further Reading: iPad Games
ScreenCastsOnline has been home to some of the most effective OS X and iOS video tutorials since 2006. Now, with his new ScreenCastsOnline iPad magazine, Don McAllister is expanding the scope of ScreenCastsOnline to include 'articles, hints and tips from some of the leading Mac OS and iOS luminaries in the Apple community'.
SCO Monthly is available exclusively through Newsstand and includes a free sampler edition that contains, among other things, truly first class introduction videos to both iMovie and iPhoto for iOS.
Don's friendly style mixed with his thorough knowledge of both of Apple's computing platforms makes for some impressive video tutorials that we think you're going to love. Don't be put off by the slightly dull design of SCO Monthly, the content really is some of best we've seen.
Newsstand Link: ScreenCastsOnline Monthly
You're working on a blog post in Blogsy and you want to quickly check a couple of references in Safari, how do you switch between the two apps? In iOS 5 (and 6), you have three options. You can either bring up the multitasking tray with a four fingered swipe up, swipe left or right to move through apps or, go old school and hit the Home button to return to the springboard. All these solutions work, but none of them seem quite right to us.
Mission Control for OS X is a quick way of switching between open applications and windows on the Mac, we think there is a way of implementing a cut-down version of Mission Control in iOS, Mission Control Mini, if you will.
Mission Control Mini
Since iOS 5, four finger swiping has become an important multi-touch gesture. Four finger swiping left, right and up all have important functions, but how about swiping down? We would like to see the four finger swipe down gesture associated to Mission Control Mini.
Mission Control Mini would, as shown in the illustration above, be a simple tray that shows the saved states of previously running apps. The screen shots associated with each app would be presented in chronological order based on when they were last accessed. Double tapping the screen shot would enlarge it by 600% to reveal more detail, while a single tap would open the app.
We think Apple is saving the four fingered swipe down gesture for something related to task switching. It could be something as simple as what we've described here, or it might even be a full blown version of Mission Control as it appears in OS X. Either way, we hope we don't have to wait until iOS 7 to find out.
You really should take a look at The Act, even if you're not a gamer you'll likely find the hand drawn animation charming and the play mechanics refreshingly different. It only took us just over a hour to complete and a couple of the play sequences (the term 'levels' just doesn't seem appropriate here) were most frustrating, but ultimately it's a satisfying iPad experience.
The Verge recently ran an article recounting the entire 20 year development of this interactive comedy. Though The Act isn't earth shatteringly exciting, we're so pleased that it finally found a good home on the iPad.
App Store Link: The Act
The iPad is currently out selling the Mac 4 to 1. Is there any doubt that for Apple at least, this is now the post-PC era? The iPad, especially since the advent of iCloud, is a perfectly capable personal computer for most people.
Google's new Android (Jelly Bean) powered 7" tablet has caused quite a stir in tech circles, with some even referring to it as 'the post-PC device for the rest of us'. While it remains to be seen if it can capture the imagination of the general public quite so completely as the iPad, it certainly seems to be off to a fine start.
The new TV commercial positions the device as a discovery and entertainment tool, somewhat different from many of Apple's iPad TV spots that highlight content creation. This is quite a smart move on Google's part. A 7" screen, especially one with a fairly narrow 16:10 aspect ratio isn't really optimal for content creation. It will be interesting to see how Apple tackles this challenge, should it decide to go ahead with the much rumoured 7.8" iPad mini. Will it also position the smaller iPad differently?
We've long held the opinion that a smaller iPad would make sense for the education market, but we are yet to be totally convinced that it's right for the larger tablet market. Perhaps one size simply doesn't fit all, perhaps we'll see larger and smaller tablets over the coming years?
What are your thoughts on the Nexus 7 and smaller screen tablets in general. Let us know in the comments below.
Queen of California is a great track and we think that Jimmy has done a fantastic job with this animated music video, especially given the limited brushes and colours available in Draw Something. Jimmy's animation work got recognition from John Mayer himself, with John even featuring it on his official blog. Great stuff!
App Store Link: Draw Something
Like every other superhero fan on the planet we are pulling on the reins in anticipation for the release of The Dark Knight Rises at the end of the week. If early reviews are accurate, it looks like it will be a fitting conclusion to Nolan's powerful trilogy.
Both The Dark Knight Rises and the recent Spider-man reboot have provided inspiration for some stunning paintings by David Chong. Over on Deviantart David explains the challenges and rewards of painting with the iPad.
"First of all, painting on the iPad is pretty much the same as painting on traditional media except for (1) the difficulty in control, (2) the addition of a "redo" button, and (3) the ability to zoom.
I suppose one of my strengths is with the precision of control. So (1) wasn't really difficult for me to overcome. But it is (2) and (3) that makes painting detail on iPad possible.
While I can paint the general outline and even to a fair amount of detail without zooming in, it is simply impossible to achieve very fine details given the difficulty in finger control. The redo function helps with this because I can draw a stroke, and erase and draw again if I find the positioning problematic. This pretty much helps me to achieve a fair bit of detail. But I would usually zoom in for the really fine parts such as the eyes and lips.
All in all, I have been taking about 3 hrs for my most recent paintings such as the one on Kaneshiro Takeshi, the Catwoman, and Emma Watson (with her chin tilted upwards). Hopefully I can cut down more on the time as I practise more.
Other than that, drawing on the iPad really isn't so different from doing my pencil sketches"
Be sure to subscribe to David's YouTube Channel for future paintings.
We've seen plenty of applications, both on OS X and iOS, that claim to covert regular photos to watercolour paintings. Most produce results that are disappointing. After seeing Popsicolor in action however, we're starting to think that perhaps those other apps simply try too hard to capture all the detail and colours of the original source image.
Popsicolor produces watercolour painting that are based on only a handful of tonal values and just two colours, one for the top of the image and another for the bottom. Like an actual ice popsicle the colour gradually transitions between both colours.
The results, as can be seen in our example image below and the demo video above, can be very effective. The key is to select a source photo with high contrast and recognisable shapes.
Popsicolor has a simple interface with just the right number of options to play with. Give it whirl and let us know what you think. If not to produce final images, you may find it handy as a starting point from which to build a more detailed painting in one of the more classic painting apps for the iPad.
App Store Link: Popsicolour
This image stood out to us though because it is not quite in the normal vein of futuristic/other-worldly art that Nikolai usually draws on his iPad.
Painted using the Procreate app, for his son Felix who has just turned 4, 'Dad n Son' is a beautifully detailed and touching portrait of the most magnificent example of Father and Son.
As Dad to a Son called Felix who is also 4 years old, it struck a chord and I just had to share it with you.
Nikolai added his picture to our iPad Creative Flickr group, where you can find more than 20,000 other images created and/or edited using an iPad. Be sure to check out the fantastic artwork there and feel free to join the group and add your own artwork to the pool.
Pages is probably one of the most underrated iPad apps. It's much more than a Word compatible word processor, Pages is almost a fully featured desktop publishing app. I have access to some of the best page layout and design tools available on OS X, but I wanted to see how practical an iOS page layout workflow could be.
With that in mind, I decided to design, create and share a party invitation using Adobe Ideas and Apple's Pages.
Step 1 - Sketch out ideas
Every good page layout starts with a pencil sketch. You'll no doubt already have your favourite sketching app in mind, I decided to use Adobe Ideas, as I find it provides a fluid sketching experience. You can see the results of my brainstorming above, nothing too detailed, just a rough layout.
Step 2 - Gather resources
As you can't add new fonts to the iPad, by resources, I actually mean photos and illustrations. I quickly found a large photo of a bright red stage curtain on the web and I looked on my friends Flickr account for a pleasing group shot of all the family. The curtain photo was good to use as it was, but the family photo needed a little lightening in Luminance.
Step 3 - Create the page design
This is where the fun really begins. The first thing I had to do was get the red curtain to cover the entire page. The easiest way to do this is via the Document Setup page under the Tools menu (top right). Document Setup is primarily for setting the headers, footers and margins of the document, but media, tables, charts and shapes can all be added here too. The next trick with the Document Setup page is to add your sketch as a transparent layer. You do this by adding your sketch in much the same way as the background imager. The key is to make your sketch semitransparent. Do this by tapping on the sketch image then tapping on the paint brush icon. Tap Style, then tap Style Options, then Effects and set the transparency to about 30%. Now you can use your sketch as a reference as you place your text, photos and boxes in the usual manner within the main page layout view.
The real key to making your design come alive is to experiment with some of the gorgeous fonts that Apple have supplied with iOS and to get creative with transparency. If you look at my final design you'll see I've use Hoefler Text with a slight drop shadow and Bodoni Ornaments. I've used a couple of boxes with varying levels of transparency to give the design a little depth and to darken the background so that the white text stands out nicely. As you build your design you'll no doubt need to keep a close eye on how the layers are stacked in the Arrange menu. It's all too easy to assume that you've deleted an element when in actual fact it's simply under a photo or a box.
I cannot express enough how important it is to experiment with the options that Pages offer. By tastefully combining boxes, shadows and images, all with varying transparency levels, pleasing designs can be quickly created.
Step 4 - Share
By far the easiest way to share your invitation with your friends is to email them a PDF from the main document selection screen. Just tap the Edit button on the top right, tap on the preview of your invitation than tap the Share button on the top left.
Another, more traditional option, is to email the PDF to yourself and then print off the invites on your own printer or at your local print shop. The PDF files that Pages creates are of a high quality. They don't have bleed or printers crop marks and they are in the RGB not CMYK colour space, but most printers will be able to print from your PDF without much trouble.
The whole process, from sketching out the idea in Abode Ideas to sending the PDF file to the printer took a little over 2 hours. Not bad for a device that so many claimed would be for content consumption only.
Why not have a go yourself? Do you have a summer garden party planned, or perhaps a family get together? With the iPad and couple of cheap apps you have all the tools you needs to create a professional looking invitation or business flyer.
The official trailer below shows what some of the equipment included in this special edition sounds like (we're loving the OctoBlue):
IK Multimedia are rightly proud to note that Slash apparently uses the iRig and the iPad / iPhone Amplitube app on the road to capture ideas and practice his riffs.
Check out this overview with Slash himself demoing the sounds:
What more can you want? At a fairly reasonable £6.99, we're off to the (in)app store now.
Nothing will hone your iPad skills quite like rising to a creative challenge. I wanted to get a better understanding of GarageBand's new Smart Strings section, plus I still felt that there was more to explore with the new iPad's camera.
With the in mind, I decided to shoot, edit and score a short film about a pleasant subtropical garden that's not too far from me. Abbotsbury Gardens is lovely this time of year, I knew that there would be lots of colour on show and that all the extra pixels of the new iPad, both in the display and the camera, would help me get those macro flower shots just right.
Smart Strings turned out to be extremely powerful, deceptively so in fact. Getting just the right expression of each note was tricky at first, but once I realised that there are three ways of playing the instruments using the onscreen controls, things began to fall into place. For example, when playing chords, you can either tap to play pizzicato, swipe up and down to bow slowly, or quickly swipe to get a chord with much more attack, it's genuinely ingenious.
Why not set yourself a challenge over the weekend. Shoot, edit and score your own movie - perhaps just some footage of your favourite local spot - you'll be surprised how quickly it all comes together. When you're finished, be sure to let us know and we'll share your film with our readers.
It's about time we did another round-up of some of the tracks we've been listening to over on SoundCloud. Here is this week's trio of tracks. We think they really show off what can be done now with the raft of music creation apps we have on the iPad. See what you think:
'Forever I Know' by onwardvoyageur
This song is just beautiful and sounds great. Played using a Ukelele, and the Pocket Organ / ThumbJam / GarageBand apps on the iPad, plus (presumably) onwardvoyageur's 6 year old Daughter on piano, we think you'll like it.
'Thursday, Two PM' by Victor Lams
We're not sure if it is the cute vocals, kooky instruments or just the number of apps used to create this song that makes us love this track, but love it we certainly do. Our only criticism, it's too short, so we have to keep playing it again. Great job and great production Victor!
'Sonic Vibrations (Original Club Mix)' by Sensadark
A change of pace now. Sensadark contacted us to let us know about his tracks on SoundCloud that were all created with Korg's wonderful iMS-20 app and we are glad he did.
This kind of uplifting club sound is just what we need pumping out at full volume on a dark, dreary wet day in England's so-called Summer. We're not so sure our work mates agree, but we're much happier now. Turn it up loud!
Over to you
We hope you enjoyed listening to our picks this week, be sure to leave a comment either here or over on the tracks at SoundCloud and let us know what you think.
As we always say in these posts, we want to hear from you too. So, if you have your own iOS created sounds (preferably with the iPad, but we won't hold you to that) here's how you can get them 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' at top of the sidebar to the right of your screen --->
- Leave us a link to your track on SoundCloud in the comments below
We're looking forward to hearing from you soon.
It's like a heartfelt letter from an old friend on a fun adventure. That's the overriding feeling I came away with upon completing Paul Kercal's joyful book on the relatively modern art of screen painting. As a regular reader of iPad Creative that description may well be all the review you need to convince you to purchase your own copy of Stylus t. Frog and the Weapons of Mass Construction.
This iPad book follows Paul on a journey. The path takes us via memories of his early childhood, like the moment when he realised that drawing was something that he could do rather well, and past recollections of other drawings and movies from the 80s that inspired his passion for art. Along the way Paul narrates, in a most affable style, his first contact with computer generated art which ultimately led him to screen painting using an iPod touch and later the iPad.
As we move to present day, in chapter 2 (playfully enitiled 'Appy Days), Paul takes the time to review key screen painting and imaging apps for iOS. This chapter alone may well be worth the purchase price for those new to the iOS creative scene, as Paul quickly strips away all the marketing blurb to reveal each application's true strengths and weaknesses.
The book includes an inspiring gallery of Paul's award winning work. It's here that you get to see, among other things, the result of an ace mash-up between 'a Rembrandt study, an Aubergine and a robot'. Yes, that's exactly that kind of random chap Paul is!
As an educator, Paul loves nothing more than to get young people enthused about art and design, and much of the last half of the book delves into the details of some recent projects that have accomplished exactly that.
The books finishes off with a brief styli review. Stylus t. Frog, it turns out, is actually a styli holder, lovingly crafted by Paul's wife to keep him company at the World Skills Festival in 2011. Even this wide-mouthed frog has a hard time holding all the styli that Paul's uses on a daily basis. Chapter 7 reveals just how engaged screen painting has kept Paul in the last few months. In the UK and even beyond, Paul is considered quite the authority on the subject. I have a feeling that Paul has only just begun to unleash his weapons of mass construction.
A rich visual experience
Besides Paul's friendly and fervent writing style, what really hits home are the splendid galleries and videos scattered throughout the book. I've followed Paul's work quite closely over the last year, but many of these paintings are new to me. The videos show each brushstroke of some of Paul's more famous images. Even without the witty and endearing narrative, the book represents a fine collection of screen painted artwork that is both refreshing and inspiring.
There is yet another reason why Stylus t. Frog will be of interest to many readers. Paul created and published the entire publication himself, using nothing more than Apple's own iBook Author application for the Mac. In many ways Paul is trailblazing the route by which artists might get their work published and hopefully make a few pennies along the way.
As you can probably tell by now, I really enjoyed Stylus t. Frog and the Weapons of Mass Construction, I think you will too. Each one of us will have our own story to tell about how the iPad has enabled us to create new and wonderful things. This is Paul's story (so far), I can't wait to read yours too!
iBooks Store Link: Stylus t. Frog and the Weapons of Mass Construction
If you follow us on Twitter then you may already have seen the beautiful painting below by Roz Hall, of fellow artist Benjamin Rabe, but we wanted to mention it here as it really stopped us in our tracks.
When you look at the brush strokes, colour, light and shade in this portrait it is hard to believe it was painted on an iPad, but it was! It just makes you say "Wow!".
Roz used Procreate (second time we've mentioned that app in as many days) and a healthy dose of talent to create this image, we are sure you'll love it too.
Be sure to check out the rest of Roz Hall's artwork on his Flickr stream.
Educators are always seeking the 'Holy Grail' of teaching - engaged learners. It's even better when students don't realise they are learning but do so through having fun and being creative. That's where the iPad comes in.
Children especially are naturals at wanting to interact through the touch interface, many computer owning Parents will testify to that after repeatedly cleaning smudgy fingerprints off their screens.
Here are a couple of videos demonstrating how the iPad is being used to engage and teach children through fun and creative learning.
iPad Pilot Project - RCEF
This video from the Redwood City Education Foundation (RCEF) shows how one elementary school is using the iPad to help children get involved and interactive with learning, mainly in Maths and Literacy lessons:
Using DoInk to envision the future
This video, one of many from the Clay Animation Network, shows what children from the Lawton Elementary school think the future will be like. Apparently in 50 years time the world will be full of aliens, robots, teleportation and floating people. Sounds about right to us (apart from the aliens probably).
The elementary school students used the brilliant iPad animation app DoInk to create their vision of the future:
At Lawton elementary 66 students are creating animations in groups of 2 and 3 students using the animation program called DOINK. Each group will create a 10-15 second animation showing a scene that could happen in a school 50 years from now.
There are a lot of ideas in this video, it's quite a long one, but stick with it, we think you'll enjoy the animations:
Share your story
We love hearing about how the iPad is being used in the Education field, so if you have any good examples of creativity in the classroom with any age group, young or old, please let us know about it.
Dip into our iPad Creative Flickr Group on any given day and you will find many examples of paintings, sketches, photographs and even some animations that have been created or edited with an iPad.
The painting below from Dan Hoffman was made with the stunning Procreate app. We loved the colour, light and style of Treasure Trove, it really stood out to us, we hope you like it too. Be sure to check out Dan's other paintings on his Flickr stream.
Ridley Scott is nothing if not ambitious. His latest Movie 'Prometheus', looks to be quite astonishing. For weeks we have soaked up the steady torrent of promotional material. From the clever Peter Weyland TED viral to the audacious international trailer, one thing is clear, Prometheus is visually stunning!
You can join in the Prometheus fun on your iPad with these themed iPad wallpapers. If you're feeling a little more excited by the prospect of Ridley's semi-prequel to his 1979 classic 'Alien', you might like to encase your iPad in one of these Prometheus cases. It's also worth noting that the soundtrack is available on iTunes.
Please be sure to check out more of Eric's stunning illustration work in his book available from the iBooks store.
iBooks Store Link: Cartooned, The Illustrative Works of Eric Merced
PressReader has become a part of my daily routine. Every morning I fire up PressReader and download the latest copy of my chosen newspaper to read during my train commute to work. All the formatting is preserved, everything appears exactly like it does in the print edition of the newspaper, this is a key benefit of PressReader, especially on the new iPad.
I've dabbled with various newspaper apps, but few seem to preserve the character of the original publication. There's something quite comforting about the familiar tight column based layout of a regular printed newspaper or magazine that seems to be missing from many newspaper apps. PressReader is an elegant solution for those looking for the instant delivery of digital technology without having to abandon the familiar pleasure of flicking through traditionally formatted newspaper pages.
Retina display support
PressReader recently gained full support for the Retina display. If you have reasonable near sight vision, even a page of a large tabloid with be fully readable without the need to zoom in on a particular article. This makes the reading experience much closer to a regular printed newspaper reading experience. As shown in the two images below, in many ways the quality of the text and photos is superior to the printed editions. Newspaper print, though higher in resolution than any computer display, is often printed on cheap paper and suffers as a consequence. Those same pages look vibrant and and pin sharp on the new iPad display.
Your very own newsagent
Once you have subscribed to a newspaper, you'll receive a notification every time a new edition is available for download. New editions are downloaded as soon as the app is launched. On a reasonably fast connection, I found that entire newspapers downloaded in under a couple of minutes.
Perhaps more importantly for those using the app without the latest iPad, PressReader can reformat the content of any newspaper, though this means you'll lose much of the feel of picking up a regular newspaper. However, it does mean that those with a non Retina display iPad can read even the smallest of text without eye strain. It's also worth noting that PressReader can read many articles aloud. The quality of the voice synthesis is very good indeed, not the best I've heard, (that accolade belongs to the stunning Ivona voice synthesis) but certainly better than anything else I've heard on the iPad of late.
Room for improvement
PressReader isn't perfect. Even though it offers 2,100 newspapers, It needs a bigger library of publications. Also, the user interface is not as slick as it could be. But even in its current form, it could well be an ideal solution for those looking to read their favourite newspaper on the iPad.
PressReader is free and you currently receive 7 free issues with each download, so you have nothing to lose from giving it a try.
We mention PressReader on iPad Creative simply because we feel that it represents an important milestone in the life of the iPad. With the Retina display Apple is providing the hardware to compete with the quality of traditional print, PressReader is the app that bridges the gap between the old and the new. You get the best of both worlds, near instant delivery combined with traditional page layouts.
App Store Link: PressReader