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"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:

1426604 10152088970331018 1631701762 n

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).

Is the iRig BlueBoard the One We've Been Waiting For?

After being announced back in January at NAMM by IK Multimedia, the iRig BlueBoard was released a few weeks ago and we think this is probably the solution guitarists have been waiting for.   

For a long time we have been extolling the iOS Amp Simulation apps as a viable, more portable, alternative for gigging/recording musicians and we think iRig's BlueBoard takes a big leap closer to that reality (and it also works with your Mac!).

Switching it up (and down)

One of the most essential requirements of any guitarist's pedal board is the ability to switch effects on-the-fly and, to be honest, this was the least practical element of using a touch device in a live situation.  

Changing effects just before a solo in a darkened room was a hit-and-miss affair at best, especially when trying to quickly switch from a rhythm to a solo sound.

We haven't been able to try it ourselves yet, but we are hopeful that the BlueBoard, as seen in the video above, will enable us to do this with any MIDI compatible iPad app, including GarageBand, AmpKit, JamUp as well as all of IK's own apps.  

Likes and dislikes

We like the small and portable sizing that makes it likely to slip into a cables bag. The adjustable backlit pedals are going to be really useful in a live situation and we are fond of the blue too.

If we were being picky, the pedals themselves look a bit small, especially if you tend to wear clodhopper boots on stage.  We would have liked twice as many footswitches really (e.g. one row to switch Banks and another row for the effects switching) but the BlueBoard may have been less portable with 8.  

As it is, with some forethought into the patch setup and ordering of the Banks plus the use of one or two external expression pedals, e.g. a Wah, this will suit most guitarists.

Bluetooth 4.0 is supposed to be more efficient but we are not sure how long a set of 4 AAAs are going to last, although they should see you through at least a few gigs if not several more.

What do you think?

Are you a guitarist or other musician looking to use Amp Sims or iPad Instrument apps live?  Would you use the iRig BlueBoard in your live or studio performances?  Let us know in the comments what you think.

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