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ArtRage gets a whopping 4 megapixel canvas option, meanwhile SketchBook Pro hits 3

Recent updates to both ArtRage and SketchBook Pro have finally pushed through the multi megapixel canvas barrier. SketchBook Pro struck first on May 13 with an optional high resolution canvas of 2048 x 1536, but then ArtRage hit back on May 27 with an unprecedented 2048 x 2048 canvas. That's a whopping 4 million pixels!

Both multi megapixel canvas options are limited to iPad 2 users and both have a performance hit. We haven't done any exhaustive testing to see just how much of a performance hit is present on each app, but it might be enough to make some of you think twice.

That in our opinion would be a shame. Head back here tomorrow when we'll explain why these new multi megapixel canvas options are so important and why we think you should consider using them.

Many thanks to reader ´╗┐Bill Pham for the heads-up regarding the SketchBook Pro update. Much appreciated Bill.

App Store Links: ArtRage, SketchBook Pro

NodeBeat: Create and View Musical Soundscapes

The NodeBeat app by Affinity Blue has been out for the iPad (and iPhone) for a few weeks now and we have been experimenting with it and returning to it since the app was released.

Why we liked it

What makes NodeBeat more than worth the $0.99 (59p) asking price is the range and depth of the sounds that you can create with it. The basic premise is the same for any tune, but the configurable options are what make the app so interesting.

As an instrument, NodeBeat is not something that can be relied upon to play the exact same sounds, exactly the same way, every time. It is far more organic than that.

But it is this that keeps us coming back to it. We found it very relaxing to use and to experiement with.

A few tips

Try for instance running the app in 'gravity' mode so that the notes fall towards the floor (usually the default), then turn your iPad slowly around from landscape to portrait mode, see how this affects the sounds generated as the nodes fall at different rates and collide with each other.

You can just watch the nodes interact with each other as they enter a configurable proximity field, or you can take control and move the nodes around, forcing interaction and actually 'playing' NodeBeat as an instrument.

Our biggest tip: dig into the setup and really experiment. Like any synth, you can dramatically change the sounds generated using the Attack, Delay and Release controls, plus the Echo and Pulse settings. You get live sound previews so you can make your changes organically, on the fly.

Go and get it

For $0.99 in the App Store we would definitely recommend you get NodeBeat on your iPad. Spend some time with it, experiment with the settings, get to know how to sculpt the sound and we think you will love the creativity this app gives you. Check out the promo video below to see the app in action.

NodeBeat - iOS Music Sequencer from AffinityBlue on Vimeo.

This Week on iPad Creative - 23rd to 28th May 2011

Here is what's popped up on the iPad Creative radar this week:

Trubadour iPad Case Made For Musicians (and other awesome people) - A guitar strap, your iPad plus your favourite music making app = 'live performances are go' - check it out, they need your help to make it a reality.

Comic book artist and illustrator Eric Merced reminds us of the potential of vector based iPad art - Awesome illustrations and a video demo from artist Eric Merced using the Adobe Ideas app.

George Lambro's seriously slick shredding skills - Fantastic guitar solo and great rock song using GarageBand, don't miss this video, it really shows off what you can do with the iPad as a music creation device.

An interview with artist Rob Miller - Find out more about the man behind the art and watch a video of Rob in action.

Fulfilled Dream by Charlie Greenberg using Zen Brush and GarageBand - Charlie uses two iPad apps to create the visuals and audio for this video, plus how you can help victims of the recent Japanese earthquake and get creative inspiration at the same time.

AdoramaTV's Excellent Video Review of Photosmith for iPad - We found this really thorough video review of our favourite photography workflow app Photosmith and thought you should see it. A must for photographers using an iPad.

AdoramaTV's Excellent Video Review of Photosmith for iPad

If you haven't seen our review of the Photosmith app already, or are still undecided on purchasing it to enhance your Camera to Adobe Lightroom (via the iPad) workflow, then Adorama's 10 min video review showing the app in action may be just what you need.

They cover all the main features of Photosmith and the few limitations that it currently has in the great video review below:

AdoramaTV cover quite a few photography related apps for the iPad, so be sure to check out the rest of the reviews on their YouTube Channel.

Fulfilled Dream by Charlie Greenberg using Zen Brush and GarageBand

Charlie Greenberg is an author, musician and all-round creative fellow. Charlie has recently been trying his hand with Zen Brush – a interesting Japanese brush painting app from PSOFT – and GarageBand, combining the results of each app into one pleasing video.

It's good to see this trend of combining the output of several iPad apps into one creative piece. There are still significant gaps in the process that can often only be filled by reverting back to a Mac or PC, but those gaps are likely to shrink significantly as Apple beef-up iOS and introduce its iCloud service later in the year.

On a related note, the developer of Zen Brush, based in the Japanese city of Sendai, is offering iPad owners a chance to support those effected by the recent earthquake through their Zen Brush Art Book app. It's well worth a look.

App Store Links: Zen Brush, Zen Brush Art Book, GarageBand

An interview with artist Rob Miller

We recently featured two iPad paintings by artist Rob Miller. We were so impressed with Rob's paintings that we decided to dig a little deeper into the mind (and heart!) of Rob as he brings his impressive oil painting skills to the iPad. Rob was kind enough to share some of his latest paintings with us, including this superb demonstration video (seen above).

Tell us a little about yourself, your background and your passion for art?

I am a high school art teacher (fine art and computer art) who loves to paint and draw. I returned to the easel three years ago after a 15-year hiatus during which I was raising two daughters. When I started to paint again, it was difficult for me to put into words how I felt after so many years of being away from the process, but it was like coming home. I guess that's the best way to put it. Reflecting and rediscovering the essence of who I am has been quite a journey. My medium of choice is oil, with the still life as subject matter. I excel in the mastery of light, space, color and attention to detail. The opaque and translucent properties of oil enable me to achieve stunning results ranging from atmospheres full of air and depth, to warm and inviting colors that reflect a knowledge of light and space. I create these atmospheric effects without the benefit of photographs providing an underlying structure, preferring instead to draw and paint solely from life. Though the inspiration for my work is drawn from eighteenth and nineteenth century artists (Chardin, Latour, Fabritius, and Manet), my approach is fresh and modern. My paintings are technically adept and emotionally engaging. I feel that a successful work of art connects with the viewer, stirs the imagination, and touches the soul.

What were the primary challenges you faced in moving your skills to the iPad?

One of the main challenges I faced when moving my skills to the iPad was finding the right app. When I started painting on the iPad, it wasn't a very serious commitment; I would just doodle to explore the capabilities and possibilities of the available apps. I started with "Sketchbook Pro," (an amazing app) however, it wasn't exactly the right fit. I then started to explore the possibilities of "Brushes." The interface felt more intuitive, and though there were fewer options to choose from, they were the right options for me and what was starting to happen with the doodles.

The doodles went from abstract experimentations to realistic imagery. I started to explore some real possibilities of how I could use this as tool. This all happened while sitting in a Starbucks. I decided to tackle an interior scene to see if I could capture space, depth and atmosphere. Three hours later I ended up with this piece, "Busting up a Starbucks." I then started to draw my students (Portrait 1, Portrait 2 & Portrait 3) while they were working on their assignments during class. After several sketches of various students, I began to realize what an amazing tool this is for the visual artist. I will be exploring the landscape next. I want to create a sketch on-site with the iPad, then take the sketch and use it to create an actual oil painting on canvas using the iPad sketch as my study.

How can Apple and third party developers improve the richness of the iPad painting experience?

I think the only thing left to do to improve the richness of the iPad painting experience is to enhance pressure sensitivity. I just recently ordered the Nomad Brush, and I'm really looking forward to experiencing the feel of using an actual brush while painting on the iPad.

Many thanks to Rob for taking the time out to share his thoughts on iPad painting. We look forward to seeing what Rob thinks of the Nomad Brush, it's certainly a favourite around here.

Be sure to check out Rob's 'Painting Journal'.

George Lambro's seriously slick shredding skills

We have often said that GarageBand is a true killer app. Will Android, webOS or BlackBerry Tablet OS ever be home to a music creation app of quite this quality? Honestly, it seems extremely unlikely.

Sure George's guitar solo isn't as organic as the real thing, but this is his first attempt at transferring his real world skills to the iPad and on a platform that is only just over a year old, running an app that is still on version 1!

Exciting times...

Via: Cult of Mac

Comic book artist and illustrator Eric Merced reminds us of the potential of vector based iPad art

Adobe Ideas isn't an app that we feature too often. We fully admit that we have all but ignored vector based drawing apps, focusing instead on bitmap tools such as Brushes and ArtRage. It's time to address this bias and we can think of no better way of shifting the balance than to highlight the gorgeous illustrations of American comic book artist and illustrator Eric Merced.

Eric was kind enough to provide us with some samples of his work and a video demonstration (we know how much you love those!) of his illustration and inking method using a Targus stylus and Adobe's Ideas app.

In addition to Eric's obvious talent for character illustration we noticed just how natural he makes the whole process seem. Apple's 'pinch to zoom' control technique has never looked quite so intuitive.

Follow Eric's creations on his blog, or why not show your appreciation for his work by following him on Twitter. Be sure to check back here for more of Eric's work.

Trubadour iPad Case Made For Musicians (and other awesome people)

An over the shoulder iPad case, made especially with musicians in mind, attached to a guitar strap?

It could be a reality if a new Kickstarter project gets off the ground. This video for the Trubadour iPad Case (very much a prototype at this stage) says it all and it could be yours if you pledge $40 or more.

What do you think, is this a good idea?

(via Wired Magazine)

This Week on iPad Creative - 15th to 22nd May 2011

This is what we have been talking about this week on iPad Creative:

Castlerama. A demonstration of the Unreal Engine 3 for iOS - A brief look at the iPad's gaming future.

'Cannonball' and 'Pipes & Pottery' by Rob Miller - Two videos showing off Rob's brilliant Brushes artwork.

Review: New iPad only KidsMag is Gorgeous, Fun and Great Value - In this review we cover a great kid's magazine that could save you money in the long run, it is a hit around here.

'Morgan Freeman' by Albert Lewis, Jr. - Another amazing video showing just how much skill and talent goes in to these iPad paintings, again using the Brushes app.

Unleash your cat's artistic potential with Paint for Cats - If it is artistic and creative and involves the iPad we try and let you know about it, no matter who the artist may be!

David Kassan painting from life with the iPad 2, using the Nomad Brush and ArtRage - This promtional video for our top stylus recommendation the Nomad Brush shows one of today's master artists at work.

The Frisco School of Music presents 'iBand' - This video shows how much fun we would be having if we were back at school right now.

'Make You Feel My Love' by Joshua E. Yoon - A great voice and a lot of nerve (plus GarageBand and an iPad for both audio and video recording) went into making this music video - be sure to check it out. 

Gears. A stonkingly good game and a sumptuous audio visual feast! - This apps 3D visuals and gameplay have divided opinion from our commenters. We love it, what do you think?

We guarantee you have never seen an iPad painting quite like this before - A little bit of fun, and actually a great image, but would you do this to your iPad?