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Future/Canvas - iPad Art Showcase (plus video find)

iPads displaying beautiful refractive Prisms; Artists creating images live on their iPads; members of the public interacting with music creation apps and fractal models projected onto the walls with creativity oozing out of every corner - this is Future/Canvas an exhibition currently taking place in San Francisco.

It opened a few days ago, on 6th June, to coincide with this year's WWDC and is a showcase of all things creative to do with the iPad.

The exhibition features the work of several iPad artists from our Flickr group (an awesome pool of talent you should really check out) such as David Newman, Julia Kay, and the super talented Benjamin Rabe, as well as other artists.

The video below of the current Future/Canvas exhibit was posted by Leo Laporte's TWiT network and gives a nice sampling of the event for those of us that can't be there. We wish there was a bit more video of the artists at work but we're sure you will enjoy it anyway.

iOS5 iPad Feature Preview from 9 to 5 Mac

For those who are curious to see the new iOS5 features running on the iPad, 9to5mac.com have posted this video of the Developer Beta in action. Looks good!

'Just Like Heaven' by TelevatorMuzak

Wow! We absolutely love this! Dare we say that the intro sounds better than the original classic by The Cure? It just sounds a bit more epic to us. Francis admits that his vocal performance might need some work, but keep in mind that it was recorded using the mic on his iPhone headset. Also note that not one single external instrument was used, it's all GarageBand native.

We are hoping to speak to Francis (YouTube user TelevatorMusak) about his experiences with GarageBand for the iPad, but in the meantime here's some information directly from the YouTube link.

"Here's my full song recreation on the iPad 2 featuring of one of my favorite songs growing up, The Cure's Just Like Heaven.

Everything was done in the GarageBand app from scratch. No external instruments were used. For the voice, I just used an iPhone headset's mic, which worked adequately but not the best. It would have probably sounded better if I were a better singer. haha

There were a few bugs I found out while doing this. Some notes will cut out after the app "optimizes for performance". I discovered that the fix for this was re-quantizing the tracks.

The guitar also has a lot of limitations (esp. on the range of the fretboard) which is annoying.

The interface is also not as intuitive as it should've been ( no level envelopes nor automation) but hey, this is the first song I've mixed partly on the toilet.

Anyway, it was a fun first attempt and the iPad GarageBand app is definitely a great creation tool!"

Discover Music History with 'On the way to Woodstock' iPad App

On the way to Woodstock is the new reference/coffee-table iPad book from 955 Dreams, the developers of the History of Jazz, which became one of our favourites earlier this year.

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Much of what we said about the History of Jazz in our review applies to the Woodstock app, it utilises a similar UI, integrating with YouTube and iTunes in the same way.

If you take the time to read through these extra pages it adds a whole new level of understanding of the topic and this is where the reference value and depth of this app make it a unique experience.

For those too young to remember this era and/or with a passion for music and its history, it is a fascinating read!

Being such an interactive experience, it is difficult to explain exactly how the app works in words, so we made this video for you. We hope you enjoy it and if you have had a chance to try 'On the way to Woodstock' be sure to let us know what you think of the app.

Create Great Looking Photo Albums on your iPad with Album App

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We have been waiting for the Album App by Dreamix Studio to receive a much needed update because in our opinion it was missing some key features at release.

Following the recent 2.0 update though we feel the Album App is much more accomplished app and we recommend you have a look at it.

The app now includes essential features such as deleting pages (added in 1.1 to be fair), re-ordering pages, sharing to Facebook and Twitter, plus, importantly for us, AirPrint (so that we can create PDFs of our albums).

Whilst some of the UI interactions are still a little quirky, it is a great app to use for building personal albums that you want to display on the iPad or share with others, including some useful page layouts and fairly straightforward page editing tools.

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If you skip some of the more gimmicky bits and pieces and stick with a fairly plain theme you could even use the Album App to create your portfolio and share it with potential customers.

We have been playing with the app for a couple of weeks and the nicely produced video below from Dreamix Studio is a good representation of the app in action.

As always, we are interested to hear what you have to say, especially if you have tried the app yourself. Check out the video below, and let us know what you think.

How to future proof your iPad paintings

Yesterday we highlighted the new high resolution canvas options in both ArtRage and SketchBook Pro (4 and 3 megapixels, respectively), if you missed that article it might be helpful to read it first and come back here to follow the discussion.

Because of the performance hit when painting with these new multi megapixel canvas options the doodler might find the standard resolution a more pleasant painting experience. However, if you plan on keeping your artwork and presenting it at the highest possible quality then surely the extra detail is worth the slowdown.

Preservation in print

If you were to present your ArtRage painting in print, at 1024 x 1024 you could just about get away with an image size that was no bigger that 12cm square. Go for the high resolution canvas and you can print up to 24cm square. That's enough data to allow your painting to be printed in a glossy magazine without the reader noticing the pixels. Certainly at that resolution large inkjet photo prints will surely shine.

Retention on a Retina class display

Most iPad artists might only ever display their paintings on the iPad screen, but that doesn't mean you should forego the megapixel canvas option. The next iPad is almost certainly going to come equipped with a Retina class display, that's 2048 x 1536 pixels. Any paintings created using the standard canvas options will look soft and perhaps even dull on a Retina class display, whereas multi megapixel paintings will fulfill the full potential of such a display.

Unleash the GPU

Of course, Procreate fans might just be able to have their cake and eat it. By enlisting the mindblowing power of the SGX graphics processor Procreate can run at speeds that ArtRage and SketchBook Pro can only dream of. The Procreate high resolution update can't come soon enough.

Painting Credit: Shaun Mullen. A fellow Brit and one of the best iPad artists we know!

App Store Links: ArtRage, SketchBook Pro, Procreate

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.