24 iPads + 1 Awesome Music Lesson = Must Watch Video

When we were at school, music lessons were just an excuse to muck around and, ever so occasionally, to actually play an instrument or learn a song. Needless to say we were generally bored out of our minds and completely uninspired by the whole thing.

If music lessons were like this though, using iPads and real instruments together to actually create something we would never have wanted to do anything else!

Neil Johnston the man behind Store Van Music, the company that made this song and video, is passionate about making music education fun and engaging. If this video is anything to go by we should all be listening to him.

This well crafted pop song will get stuck in your head, and if you really like it you should be able to buy it very soon from the iTunes store.

Let us know what you think in the comments.

Shawn Harris and the Making Of a Music Video on iPad

You have no doubt already seen the animated music video that Shawn Harris created in the Brushes iPad app for Pop sirens Blush. If not, please take a moment or two and watch it now:

Shawn created this animation frame by frame entirely on the iPad, painstakingly merging all his creations together until, 7000 frames later, he had the video you see above.

Of course this is not the first time Shawn has done this, we wrote a few months ago about a similarly created video for his own band Maniac's song Thank Each Mistake. We posted his comments about creating the video and using the iPad a few weeks later, which are well worth a read if you haven't already seen them.

But, as much as we enjoyed the final video, of great interest to us is how Shawn did it and while the talent/skill/patience it takes to produce something as creative as these videos is mind boggling, the video Shawn posted as a 'making of' goes some way towards explaining it, if tantalisingly short. We hope you enjoy it!

Amazing Extreme Sports Photography in Free Red Bull Illume App

RBil iPad Example1

Beautiful and epic photography combined with great stories and audio commentary from the Photographers makes the free Red Bull Illume app a must have for us.

Red Bull Illume (Flash heavy site) is "the world’s premier action and adventure sports photography competition" according to the website. The images are truly stunning, especially for fans of adventure/extreme sports.

Here is what they say about the contest and the app:

22,764 photos were submitted to the renowned contest by 4,773 photographers from 112 countries. Fifty-three expert photo editors from around the world assessed the 250 semi-finalist photos and determined its Top Fifty, which currently tour the world in unique outdoor exhibits.

This iPad App gives us 250 reasons to celebrate the world of action and adventure sports, the photographers and the athletes who inspire them.

App Screenshot - Image Copyright Rami HanafiViewing amazing photos is great, but reading about the story behind them and hearing the photographers themselves talking about how they took the photos and the challenges involved is such a bonus. Many of the Top 50 entries include a brief audio commentary from the Photographer.

Each competition entry comes with a technical section too for those of us who want to know camera, shutter speed, lens, etc. used in the shot.

Any of the photos can be saved as wallpaper on your iPad, but the image is saved to your Photos app with a caption showing the photographer plus some logos which makes it a little less useable in our opinion.

If you really like the photo and want to let others know about it, the usual social sharing routes are available (and MySpace - does anyone still use that?).

We have to recommend this app for the truly awesome photography showcased in this competition, the shots look fantastic on the iPad screen too.

The app is free, so go and grab it from the App Store.

Interview with Mark from Msavwah about GarageBand for iPad

Last Sunday we brought you news of the Daft Punk and Tron tribute song, 'End of Line' from Msavwah. 'End of Line' was created entirely in GarageBand for iPad, it's one of the first all GarageBand tunes to be featured as a commercially available song on iTunes. We caught up with Mark from Msavwah to get his thoughts on GarageBand for the iPad and further details on how he created 'End of Line'. Over to Mark:

"When I first saw the iPad 2 keynote, what I found to be most impressive was the GarageBand app. After using it on the original iPad I must admit that the iPad 2 is now looking better and better. More on why in a bit.

If you have any experience creating and recording music using any of the old 4 track personal studio units then you will probably recognize that the iPad could be sold in kiosk mode with only the GarageBand app and be fully capable of replacing, and greatly improving on, any product in that market. If you happen to already own an iPad, you can fork over a measly $4.99 and jump right in.

Not too long ago I sold my $3,000 Roland electric drum kit, my bass guitar, and six of my electric guitars, keeping only my beloved Steinberger 6-string. When the GarageBand app was released I found that it easily replaced all of those instruments and also gave me more flexibility in a portable touchscreen device than using GarageBand on my MacBook Pro. Not without it’s limitations though.

About the time I started tinkering with the app, I was heavily listening to the Tron:Legacy soundtrack by Daft Punk. I enjoy a range of music from Slayer to Natalie Merchant (and nearly everything ever done involving Mike Patton). Video game and movie soundtracks, this one in particular, are what I’m most into at the moment.

When I fired up GarageBand on my iPad to figure out how it worked I decided on recreating the song End of Line, which was firmly stuck in my head, almost entirely from memory. Reading music is something I have almost no clue about. Usually if I can hear it, I can pick it apart and put it back together.

I don’t usually like to use a click track, so I started by laying down a simple drum beat. On the first track I recorded only the kick drum and snare hits onto an 8 bar loop. With that up and running I started sampling the many keyboard synth sounds. I had given the ‘smart’ version of the many instruments a very brief run and decided against using any of them for the sake of customization. After finding the sounds I wanted to use I began recording the instruments. This is where the learning started. I soon discovered the key limitations of using the GarageBand app. It began with trying to perfect the fuzzy sounding synth bass line. First of all, the keys are tiny. Second, there is no tactile feedback. The biggest problem I had with this part was that the individual notes were running together and I wanted them each have their own distinct attack. No matter how many times I tried it, it just was not coming out like I wanted. This is where I first duplicated an instrument track and started to piece all of the notes together. I found that I was able to record the first half of the notes on one track, and the second half on another to get the sound I was hearing in my head. Even still, there was one note that just would not play ball. So I duplicated the instrument on yet another track just to record one note. I soon found myself running out of tracks, while only having a few of the parts recorded. Once I had all of the notes perfected across the three tracks, I was able to join them together onto one track. Note that this can only be done if all of the source tracks are intended to be exactly the same as the destination track. In this case they were. To join multiple parts together you select pieces by tapping and holding the first, then tapping to add another. At this point when you release and tap the highlighted parts as a group you will get a new popup menu with the “join” command. After doing this I was able to free up those two duplicate tracks and delete the empty instruments, freeing the tracks for something else. I then returned to my drum track using the same methods. Create a duplicate track, tap out the high hat open and closed parts. Then join them with the original kick and snare drums on the first drum track, freeing up the duplicate drum track for something else later on. Note here that there are a total of 8 tracks available at any time. No more. Unlike the old 4 track recorders of the past, you cannot “bounce” or mixdown multiple tracks onto a single track to give yourself more free tracks. That is, not unless it’s done strictly as explained above using the “join” command. An example to better explain this limitation is to consider having 4 different instrument tracks. Let’s say you have a drum track, a bass guitar, an acoustic guitar, and a keyboard track. Using analog tape you could bounce all of those down to the drum track and have three fresh tracks available. Rinse and repeat. Here, however, if you try to mix down a bass, a guitar, and a keyboard onto a drum track you will get nothing but drums. Any of the built in instruments you combine will sound and play as the instrument and settings as they are on the destination track. This also means that you cannot live mix, which brings me to the next part of the song.

On the first half of the song I had a few of the instrument tracks dialed in just how I wanted them. But, for the second half of the song I wanted to use the same recorded pieces, only this time with tweaked sound settings, making the same parts sound a little bit different. Here, any alterations you make to any instrument track parameters are persistent for the duration of the track. If you want to duplicate a particular recording from one part of the song and place it onto another part of the song but with tweaked sound settings, then you will need to create a new track to do so. I decided to do just that, and by now I was about out of tracks.

Some other limitations of using the app: Optimizing. There will be several annoying wait times as the system is “optimizing”. There is no control over when this happens, and it happens alot. This is where you will be happy you have (or wish you had) an iPad 2. The memory and speed differences between the A4 and A5 chip are reason enough to upgrade if you will be using GarageBand often.

This pretty much sums up what I learned. I taught myself to use this fantastic app by recreating this song.

There was no intention of releasing this song, but after it was finished I decided that it was worth looking into it.

I did some research and settled upon TuneCore.com to get the track on iTunes. They had it live within just a few days. Also, since I did not write this song I had to look into the legal hoops and jump through those. There is a licensing deal pending with Disney Music to ensure they and the Daft Punk duo get their rightful royalties."'

'End of Line' can be purchased on iTunes. We love it and can't wait to see what Mark turns his hand to next!

SnapSeed: Your New Favourite iPad Photo Editor?

We thought there wasn't really room for another iPad photo editor in what has become a fairly well saturated market, but SnapSeed has made us think again.

Developed by Nik Software, a very well known developer of high-end Desktop photo editor plugins, SnapSeed brings with it some interesting and unique User Interface (UI) elements.

About the UI

We've found the UI of many photo editing apps over complicated and a bit inaccessible. Although some of these apps are really powerful and show off what the iPad can do, we don't use that power because it is too complex to get at quickly (which is usually how we use our iPad, for quick editing).

SnapSeed takes a different UI approach and it is one we like a lot. Take a look at the overview video below to see what we mean, and notice how fast the UI is to access.


SnapSeed should have been called SnapSpeed it is so quick. It really is the fastest iPad photo editor we have seen. Edits are made instantaneously, saving is very quick on iPad 2 and so is exporting to the most important photo-sharing sites, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook plus e-mail.

Creative Spin

Whilst SnapSeed has a standard feature-set that can be used for straightforward edits such as crop, rotate, HSB, auto correct, etc., it is the creative adjustments that really extend the apps reach.

Similar to a previous favourite of ours '100 Cameras in 1' which we reviewed a few weeks ago, SnapSeed offers a raft of  creative adjustments that can also include texture overlays to add another dimension to your images.

As always, this can be overdone, but SnapSeed provides a handy shuffle feature that randomises the effects and textures applied to give you a starting point for your own creations. Similar to 100 Cameras, these can then be fine tuned as much as you like but we found the swipe left/right controls for adjustments very intuitive.


We've been playing around with SnapSeed's creative adjustments for a while now, so we thought we would show you what we have come up with. Here are a few examples of some of the more radical changes you can make.

Original image (previously adjusted via Desktop app)

SnapSeed version: Our first go, a bit too dark really

Original previously edited in Desktop app    Going for that old photo look


Original previously edited in Desktop appSnapSeed version, heavy use of texture

To see how these effects are done, here is another video from Nik Software showing the creative possibilities of SnapSeed:

Creative and Fun

In the blurb on their website, Nik Software describe SnapSeed as "The only photo app you'll want to use every day", and we have to say that in the time we have had the app this is certainly the case.

Running a photo through SnapSeed on your iPad is always a creative and fun experience, one which has made us import photos to our iPad just so that we can use this app on them. We think you will like it too and recommend you try SnapSeed out, even if you already have lots of other photo editing apps on your iPad as we do.

You can get SnapSeed for $4.99 from the App Store. If you do, be sure to let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Is this the Ultimate iPad Accessory for the Gigging Guitarist?

Wow - this thing blows us away! A full-on floor based Pedalboard with an iPad dock and a Free DSP app made especially for it by DigiTech. This monster is designed for live gigging when connected to your iPad and guitar amp/PA.

Set for a 'June 2011' release, although it is not out yet (more likely July now), the DigiTech iPB-10's main problem for some will be the price, at a SRP of $699.95 (we've seen it on pre-sale here in the UK for £522).


We know that these multi-effects units go for a lot of money, even without the iPad functionality and this looks like a very solid metal chassis unit including a chunky expression pedal. For a professional musician this might be affordable but we still feel that it is a lot of money. Combined with even the cheapest iPad you're looking at over $1000 of kit to place on the floor and then stamp all over with your hefty size 10's.

Well connected

We will let you read all the detail on the DigiTech website, suffice to say that the iPB-10 has plenty of connection options for live, studio and practice setups, check out the back panel below (select the image to see a large version). And that's not to mention the software involved on board and in the iPad app.

We want one - look at the Specs!

We are definitely drooling over the iPB-10 and the accompanying iPB-Nexus app and we would like nothing better than to get our hands (or boots) on one but we will just have to look at the pictures and dream.

Here's the specs:

  • Drag and drop pedalboard design
  • Arrange pedals in any order
  • Touch screen control
  • 87 pedals
  • 54 amps
  • 26 cabinets
  • Drag and drop footswitch assignment
  • Real-time view of pedal settings with direct access to pedal control
  • Up to 10 pedals, 1 amp, and 1 cabinet can be added to a setup
  • Unique setup assignable to each preset
  • Infinite number of presets, 100 footswitch accessible
  • Store, organize, and rate presets using My Tones library
  • Compatible with iPad2 and iPad

More details on the iPB-10 and the iPB-Nexus app (including a rundown of the pedals, amps and cabs modelled) can be found on the DigiTech website.

Win the Chance to be a real DJ with RGBSOUND

Last week we reviewed a new iPad audio app RGBSOUND and we thought it was great fun to play around and get creative with.

Now we have been sent the details of a competition by the app Developer Francesco Cricchio. The grand prize is a chance to DJ at one of the parties they are hosting around Europe, as well as plenty of copies of the app for your friends so you can have your own DJ party. 

Here is what Francesco had to say in his email:

RGBSOUND Music App Contest: upload your video on YouTube while you are playing your rhythm with RGBSOUND; insert in the title the tag "RGBSOUND Music App Contest", email us the link at rgbsound@gmail.com and participate to the contest. 
The first 10 classified, ranked based upon originality and musicality, will get 5 copies of RGBSOUND each to play together with friends.

The winner will have the occasion to play as DJ at one of our "RGBSOUND parties" organized around Europe.

Stay tuned and TAP YOUR SOUND!


Here's a video example:

So if you fancy being a real DJ for the night grab a copy of RGBSOUND for only 59p ($0.99) and get your videos up on YouTube.

This Week on iPad Creative - 13th to 19th June 2011

Here's what you may have missed this week on iPad Creative:

OscilloScoop - Carve Your Own Synth Sounds - Have you tried this novel soundmaker on your iPad? We think you should. Check out their video and our review.

OnLive to stream console quality games directly to your iPad - We are very excited about this one, cloud computing gaming on the iPad is coming!

Colour your iPad Tunes with RGBSOUND - With a UI that is strange but great fun and a novel take on the DJ app, RGBSOUND is well worth checking out for a change of pace.

8 Great Etsy Finds For Your iPad - We love Etsy and have to chain our credit cards down whenever we visit the craftiest site in the world. Here's some of the best iPad stuff we have recently found on Etsy, hopefully there's something in here for you.

'Kilgore Falls' by Robert Miller - A beautiful iPad painting in a beautiful setting plus a great video showing how Robert did it - be sure to check this one out. 

Song created entirely with GarageBand for iPad now available on iTunes - If you liked Daft Punk's Tron soundtrack don't miss this one.

Apple Highlights Apps for Art Lovers - See what Apple have put together for Art Lovers in the iOS App Store.

Apple Highlights Apps for Art Lovers

'Apps for Art Lovers', that's the title of a link we just spotted on the featured section of the App Store. There's some cool stuff in there, much of it for free.

Highlighting Gallery Exhibition apps, classic Artist portfolios, Photography Book apps, Art creation apps (like ArtRage) and other really cool stuff it is a nice little collection to browse through in a spare moment.

Now we're struggling to squeeze even more apps onto our already over capacity iPads. Check out the collection.

Song created entirely with GarageBand for iPad now available on iTunes

Mark of Msavwah has created a rather superb tribute to Daft Punk and Tron entitled 'End of Line' using nothing but GarageBand for the iPad. Isn't it amazing to think that using nothing more than an app that costs no more than a trip to the cinema it's possible to create and publish music on a commercial basis.

We have been in touch with Mark and look forward to sharing his thoughts with you later in the week. In the meantime why not show Mark your support and purchase his tribute song.

We have heard from quite a number of our readers who have used GarageBand to create part of a commercially available song, but we would love to hear from those of you who have followed in Mark's footsteps and released a track made entirely with GarageBand or other iOS app.

Further Reading: Jaw-dropping Daft Punk cover using the KORG iMS-20 app