Entries in creative (22)

Horizons - an Audio/Visual Landscape for iPad

Horizons is described as an 'interactive sound toy' for your iPad (and other iOS devices) combining mostly ethereal sounds with highly configurable shapes in a 3D space. It is 'an exploration of sound and colour' according to the app store description.

Playing with the shape and editing it is quite engrossing, and the audio feedback when using the buttons is quite satisfying but you may want to turn the sound down a bit as the audio loops can be a tad monotonous. A quick press of the randomise button changes both the sound and the colours being used though so it is fairly easy to mix things up and keep them interesting.

As well as being able to stretch and shrink the shape using multi-touch, it can be affected by movement of the device, but your shape will float in the environment space independently too, a bit like a large whale gently moving through the water.  We found it can be quite a restful experience using Horizons.

We think this may well be good fun for children learning about geometric shapes and 3D vectors, manipulating the shape in real time and seeing the effect of adding and subtracting points, or just as a simple distraction to play with.

It is also useful for creating wallpapers with the built-in screenshot feature, although we found the images captured with the app itself to be a bit pixelated. We actually got smoother looking results using the device's own screenshot feature (pressing the Home key and Power button at the same time).

Overall, it is a good, fun, app that provides an interesting experiment in interactively blending audio and visuals, and we are looking forward to the Mac version which is coming soon according to the site.

If you like what you see in the video Horizons is a Universal app and you will find it in the app store now for $1.19 (59p).

Light Painting with Holo-Paint - does it work?

The iPad Creative team grabbed a rare opportunity of meeting up in the real world last night and what did we do? Yep, we played with the iPad!

More specifically we looked at new Guitar FX app StompBox (more on that in a future post) and then, after annoying our wives and waking up the kids, we went out in the garden and played with the Holo-Paint app.

If you don't know what Holo-Paint is, it is a light painting app that uses some clever stuff which, when combined with a camera capable of taking long (30 second or so) exposures, can create 'holographic' text that seems to float in mid-air, down stairs, along walls, over tables or anywhere else you can imagine.

We posted about this app last week, and the developer has added a link to a tutorial video on YouTube (see below) and the new Flickr group for users to post their images created with the app, and there are already some interesting results there. We especially liked the musical notes floating above the piano.

So how did it go? Well, we didn't have much time, but after a lot of failed shots we finally started getting more acceptable results after about an hour of experimenting with app and camera settings. If we had more time we would of got it perfect, obviously, but here are our results, let us know what you think in the comments (don't be too harsh, it is just for fun!):

This was probably our best attempt:

iPC_Holo-Painting 1

We never quite got this right but this was our best curve shot:

iPC_Holo-Painting 2

Trying a different perspective along the top of a wall:

iPC_Holo-Painting 4

Although we didn't get anything like we saw in the Magic iPad light painting video, which obviously inspired the Holo-Paint app, we had a lot of fun trying this out and at the risk of being ostracised by the neighbours, we can't wait to try it again and get even better results.

If you have an iPad (or even an iPhone) you can't go wrong spending $0.99 (59p) on this app.  Try it out, it is great fun and we are sure you can come up with some imaginative results.

Once you have your results leave us a comment and feel free to link to them, maybe even join the Flickr group, we can't wait to see what you can do with Holo-Paint.

The video below is by the app developer and is a fairly lengthy walkthrough of the app's options and what it does, do check it out if you want to know more, we found a few things out we didn't know about Holo-Paint when watching the video:


Beautiful Painting with Light (and iPad) Video

Making Future Magic: iPad light painting from Dentsu London on Vimeo.

This video demonstrates an enchanting and mind blowing 'painting with light' technique that uses movies played on the iPad, photographed with stop motion and multiple exposure techniques to produce floating block shaped text.

The end result is beautiful and amazing, and fortunately the creators Dentsu London (a creative communications agency) and BERG (a London based Design Agency) have blogged about and explain a little of the techniques used a the beginning of the video. 

If you like the video and/or want to know more about the techniques used please follow the links above, they make fascinating reading.

For now though, take a moment, sit back and watch this in HD at Full Screen, it is sure to make you wonder.

The iPad - Even Babies Can Use It

Children and toddlers, even Babies, love the iPad and other touch screen devices. The touch interface is entirely natural to them because they use their sense of touch (and mostly taste with Babies) to explore the works from birth onwards.

It is no surprise then that a number of iPad apps are appearing that appeal to this natural exploration but also that are visually stimulating using the large screen of the iPad.

Interactive Alphabet for iPad is one such app recently released by Piieka Street. Using gorgeous visuals and soothing sounds to create a very comforting and relaxing learning environment for pre-school children (and Parents too).

Each letter of the alphabet has its own page which fills the iPad screen. The letter is also spoken in a nice soft voice with some bubbly background music, which can be changed.


Something Special

The most engaging feature for children though is the interactive element of each page. There are different ways of interacting with each letter. Some animations are triggered by touch with accompanying sounds, some offer a creative element, for example the letter Q (Quill) becomes a drawing page and the X (Xylophone) lets little ones create music.

It is a lovely way to use your iPad to occupy any young ones and help them learn their letters. Don't worry about them hogging your iPad, you can play with the app once they have gone to bed!

For its launch price of £1.79 ($2.99) up until 16th September, you can't go wrong and would probably be hard pushed to find anything in printed form that could match the fun and interactivity of this app at anywhere near that price point.

A very good preview of the app is provided in the video below, giving you an idea of the interactivity within the app.  

As always, let us know what you think, especially if you have the app yourself, in the comments below.


Real artists use an iPad

One of the most impressive things about the iPad so far has been the way that artists have taken to it as a creative device. Our Flickr group is growing fast and there are some excellent examples there of iPad produced art using various apps.

If you have ever wondered how an artist goes about creating their art on an iPad, have a look at the video below from New York based artist David Jon Kassan. It is a 3 hour sitting condensed down into just under 8 minutes, and it is amazing to watch how David builds and blends the portrait with the wonderful Brushes app.

Apparently the sitting was broadcast as a live stream last Monday, 21st June from David's studio, during which he chatted and answered questions about using the iPad for creative purposes. If you saw any of that live stream and heard what David had to say we would like to hear what you thought in the comments.

In the meantime, grab a drink, sit back, and watch an artist at work:

iPad Case Roundup - Portfolio Style

For Photographers, Designers and other visual artists, one of the most exciting things about the iPad must surely be the potential to use it as a digital portfolio.  Some have tried this on the iPhone with varying degrees of success, but the small screen size is not really up to the task of replacing a proper printed portfolio in the hands of potential clients and/or employers, and there are some who say that the iPad cannot replace a physical, printed portfolio either.

Having seen how beautiful original artwork and photography can look in the iPad, we think it does have the potential to replace a printed portfolio for the more receptive client / employer, with the screen size being a close proximate to the form factor when held in the hand(s). These cases may also appeal to those wanting a more business-like way of transporting their iPad.

So here are our top 3 Portfolio style cases at the moment:

Marware Eco Vue.jpg

Marware Eco-Vue

A quality case made from Eco-leather (involving a tanning process that impacts less on the environment), the Eco-Vue holds the iPad fairly securely inside a lovely suede (non-scratchy) interior pocket which fits all around three sides of the iPad with an open top side where you slip the iPad in.

The case is kept closed by an elastic strap, evoking memories of those portfolio cases many have carried around, or the desirable moleskin notebooks.

This is one of the most portfolio-like cases we have seen so far and the Eco-Vue looks like a class product, you can get a detailed look in several video reviews on YouTube.

As you can see here, the Eco-Vue cover also folds back so that the iPad can be stood up horizontally and used for viewing your media, held with a built-in hand strap, or even used with a little kick stand that flips out so that you can type on the iPad in 'table-top computer' mode.


Tuff-Luv multi-view

Available in several materials and colours, this case admittedly looks a little bit odd with all of the studded poppers on the front, but these poppers are part of the case's unique design which enables your iPad to be set at one of five viewing angles, between 20 and 70 degrees.

By detaching the strap around the front, folding back the cover and snapping one of the poppers back in you select the angle you require.  It is a nice implementation of the multi-view model.

The black Napa leather version is £39.99 at i-nique (with Free delivery!), but we quite fancy the Saddleback version pictured here, which is being sold for £54.99.


The Wallet

Whilst not actually available yet, The Wallet by Happy Owl Studio is aimed towards those iPad owners who need to carry a few more bits and bobs along with them. A bit more 'business-like' in its stylings, The Wallet will be available around late June and yes, they are accepting International orders, although their site FAQ does say that they are talking to International distributors for their cases.

From the website:

The Wallet has pockets for cash and change, credit cards, business cards, pens, a stylus, a passport and a mobile phone. Plus, you'll still have plenty of extra space in the larger pocket for your MiFi, keys and more! Style and function united.

Happy Owl Studio is taking deposits of $15 towards the introductory pricing of $64.99 for this case which can be used in the usual landscape stand orientation and there is a version aimed especially at Female users of the iPad called The Clutch, available in Red or Blue, for the same price.

Deposits made are being used to determine the initial run quantities, so this might be a bit of a risk, but Happy Owl Studio have been promising these cases for a while now and demand seems to be high, so there is a good chance that you will get your case, but you have been warned, they are not real just yet.

Have you used, or are you planning to order, one of these Portfolio cases?  Any thoughts about the cases we have chosen? Let us know in the comments.

Don't miss the other posts in this iPad Case Roundup series:

iPad Skins and Shields

iPad Slip Cases and Pouches

iPad Bags

iPad Wooden case, Book style case and a DIY book option

Tapped-in look at Creative drawing apps for Kids

Along with some of the stellar drawing and painting apps for more serious artistic endeavours which we have covered here previously, there is a healthy stream of creative iPad apps specifically for children to engage with, and some of them look great.

If you are brave enough to let sticky little fingers touch your iPad, then Fox News' Tapped-in team have a nice little round-up of four drawing/colouring apps for kids in the video below.

There is a new episode of the Tapped-in podcast every few days, some iPad app and some are iPhone app focussed but the episodes are only ever a few minutes long so it worth a watch usually.  You can subscribe to the video podcast here or on YouTube here.


Making Music with the iPad - Groovemaker (Loopers, Synths and (Drum) Pads-Part 2)

We have been playing with Groovemaker on the iPhone for a while now, it has been great fun and we have really enjoyed it.  The interface on the iPhone is well thought out and responsive, but there are times when the smaller screen area of the iPhone makes it necessary to leave the main screen to access other functions of the app.  That's why were really excited to hear about the release of Groovemaker for the iPad.

The UI

IK Multimedia have taken advantage of the extra screen space available on the iPad to open up the user experience and make more of the interface and app functionality available to the user on the same screen. The main controller view that forms the basis of the iPhone app is now top and centre of the iPad interface (the area inside the yellow rectangle on the picture below) and is called the 'central control zone'.  It is literally like having the iPhone placed on the iPad screen with the other screens unfolded out around it. It really is a lovely looking interace.


If you have used the iPhone app then much of the interface will be familiar to you already. The extended controls in the iPad version, give easier access to the Solo, Mute and Lock buttons for each of the 8 tracks, along with volume control sliders including integrated VU meters and Pan controls.  Another new control tweak is the up and down buttons for each track which scrolls through the available loops, but you can still access a list of all the loops via the Loops button in the central control zone as in the iPhone interface.

Sequence tempo is also easier to access now without needing to press and hold the Tempo button.  Although none of the interface interaction on the iPhone was overly annoying, in fact we think IK Multimedia did a fantastic job, as we have already mentioned, it is much nicer to see all the controls laid out on the iPad screen and access them quickly without having to remember where things are hiding.

Making Music

This is not a sampler program, you rely on the pre-loaded loops to build your sequences, but even the free version comes with 120 loops pre-installed and also a free song called Juice (a song is really a bunch of loops that can be used and remixed together, almost infinitely).  You can get another free song when you register the product too.

These songs are a great way to get started, and in seconds you will be creating sequences that can be saved or exported (more on that in a minute).  The instant creation of music is what impresses us about this app. There are four buttons to the right of the central control zone labelled A-D and these give you different random mixes of the current song using the built-in loops which can give a very different feel.  Button A gives you a 'Mild' version, B is 'Perc' for a Percussion only version (useful for taking things down to the basics for a sequence), C is 'Inst' or Instrumental, focussing the sound on the instrument samples, but the most fun one is D 'Random' which gives a completely random mix of your track, with great results sometimes that are useful starting points for creatively using the loops.

Even with no previous experience, you can dive straight in and start making 'grooves', which is really quite satisfying.  Just don't start doing this having promised to follow the other-half up to bed 'in a minute', because half an hour, or longer, can quickly disappear once you start experimenting with different loops and getting into mixing different sequences together, it can be addictive.

Mute, solo and grouping

Being able to group tracks together simply by sliding across them, using numbers 1-8 in the central control zone, is great for muting, soloing, or changing the volume of all of these tracks at once.  This lets you, for example, solo just the drum loop and bass for a bit, which you can record as a sequence by pressing the Groove Snap button, then bring the rest of the groove crashing back in by releasing the solo button if you are playing 'live'.  It really is great fun to play with.

Sequencer and Song Export

Up to 15 of these groove snaps can be saved, then you can move to the Sequence function to build your final mix with a simple drag and drop interface.  Grooves can be previewed before you add them, and used repeatedly so that a complete song with different sections can be built up, which becomes your final mix. This mix can then be exported, via Wi-fi, to your computer as a full quality 44khz 16bit WAV file.

Grrovemaker download track.png

The export works via a browser interface, the app tells you the IP address to enter into your browser address bar, e.g. 192.xxx.x.xx etc., and then you can listen to your mix and/or save the audio file by right-clicking on it.  It works quickly and very easily and the quality is really good.

In just a few seconds our mix was on our Mac and opened up right away in iTunes. From here we could convert the file to an AAC version.  Interestingly this reduced our 10.4MB 1 minute audio file down to 986KB file with no real noticeable loss in quality.


As we have already said, the Groovemaker app is great fun to use and pretty much anyone can get down to creating mixes and acting out DJ fantasies as soon as it is started.

The interface is very straightforward to use, even the creation of the sequence with drag and drop grooves makes production of the final mix a breeze.  All this relative simplicity however belies a very powerful tool for music creation.

If you need to create a soundtrack for one of your movies, chilled, manic, or somewhere in-between, Groovemaker can do this for you.  If you want to play DJ at a party, Groovemaker is there.  Or even if you just want to get the kids interested in putting loops together and making their own creations, Groovemaker will enable you to do it, and you can get started for Free, so you have nothing to lose, except the hours that may disappear as you get embroiled in groove making.

Groovemaker is supplied in several paid versions too.  With the Free version you get 1 song and 120 loops, but there are also House, Hip-Hop and D'n'B packs at £5.99 ($9.99) each. These paid-for packs include 4 songs (plus another track on registration) and 315 loops, flavoured appropriately for the category you have chosen.

We think you will like this app.  If you do, let us know in the comments.  Check out the videos below for actual footage of the Groovemaker app in action.  There are quite a few more on the Groovemaker channel at YouTube.



Corkulous - Organise Creative Ideas visually

When you have a creative idea that you want to capture, it is usually essential (for us anyway) that you capture at least the essence of it there and then. In days gone by, writing it down with a traditional pen/pencil and paper was reassuringly tangible, if very analogue. But it was not long before that piece of paper was lost amongst the tens, maybe hundreds, of other scraps of paper we have in our 'filing' system, unless we pinned it onto our little office cork board that everyone had hanging on the wall.

We have fond memories of the Stickies desktop app on our Macs (in fact it is still included with the latest Apple OS). Stickies would let us quickly record all those little thoughts, ideas, and 'to-do' things on different coloured digital versions of the sticky notes, posted all over our computer desktop. Whether we actually did anything with those scraps of information or not is another matter, but it was great to be able to capture these thoughts and arrange them.

Enabling us to do this digitally on our 'take everywhere', larger screened portable device seems to be the goal of a number of developers, and there have been a few 'corkboard' apps released since the iPad launched, so the idea is not necessarily new to be honest, but Appigo seem to have created a lovely looking app in Corkulous, which is a little bit more than just a stickies creator.

Appigo call Corkulous 'an ideas board' app and say that they have 'many awesome features planned', but their first release is fairly impressive and looks like a nice way to capture creative ideas before they vanish. Cork boards can be added to group ideas together, and you can even embed one cork board into another. You can also add Labels, Photos, Contacts from the iPad address book and even Tasks, all from a gorgeous roll out filing cabinet drawer interface.

From their site:

Corkulous follows the metaphor of a cork board where users can arrange notes, labels, tasks, contacts, and photos to visualize ideas. Related ideas can be easily placed together and aligned using automatic guides which help to snap items into place. Also supported in the app are multiple boards. As ideas grow, users can create new boards and group related ideas in separate virtual spaces.

At the moment the app is focussed on individual use but Appigo are planning to introduce more collaborative features in the future for sharing ideas, which we think can benefit designers, artists, photographers and other creatives who are working with others.

The video below demonstrates these features very nicely so check it out. Corkulous has introductory pricing of $2.99 (£1.79) with free upgrades to the added functionality promised. It looks like a lot of thought and careful design has gone into this app and we think this may well find a place in our creative planning process in the future.

CreativeLIVE - Free Skills and Software Training From Top Creatives

Chase Jarvis is an inspirational pro photographer and visual artist who has a really great attitude to sharing his knowledge and experience with other Creatives to form a community spirit around creating art, especially in the fields of photography, and more recently, video.

Chase has just launched a venture in conjunction with CreativeTechs which they are calling CreativeLIVE.  CreativeTechs have already established themselves as providers of free, live streaming, software and skills instruction in the creative field, and we have recently benefitted from some of their free courses including Lightrooom, iPhone application programming, and Photography instruction.

Now they have upped their game by including free instruction from some of the leading names in the creative fields, and the list is impressive.  From Chase's blog:

On the photography side of things, we excited to announce in quarter one featuring Vincent LaForetDavid DuCheminZack AriasScott Bourne, Art Wolfe, and many others. Wanna learn how to have vision in photography? We've got the instructor. HD Dslr Cinema, we've got it. Lighting? We've got it. Software? We've got that too. And if we don't have it? Tell us and if there's demand, we'll create it for you.

There are some great photographers featured here, but other areas will be covered too, there is a Watercolor 101 class starting on 28th May for example. This is something we are really excited about and we wanted to let you know about it too.  The live streaming courses use WebEx Webinar software, and we usually join the webinar on our Macs, but the release of the WebEx client for the iPad has us wondering if we can join these classes from our iPads.

We know you can watch the paid-for course downloads, which are great value, on the iPhone or iPad, but the iPad seems the perfect device to watch and learn on whilst sat on the sofa instead of having to get the laptop out and plug it all in.

Chase Jarvis has made an introductory video which you can see below, and the iPad makes a brief appearance at 1:07.  We recommend you definitely check out the new CreativeLIVE website.