Entries in Creativity (17)

Painting With Time on your iPad

Here's an interesting and educational creative concept. Painting With Time is a free download and uses a simple idea to make you (and if you have them, your students) think about the changing landscape of our planet and the people on it.

The Concept

The basic idea is that there are a number of images for each scene in the Gallery. You choose your scene, then decide how you are going to paint in the detail, for example which season for landscape scenes, an age range for the portrait of a woman, or the time of day on a scene of San Francisco.

Instead of painting in the detail you can select the 'Slice' mode which splits the image up into preset and customisable slices so you can really mix up your image and get carried away exploring the effects of time.

It is a very interesting idea that is a lot of fun for the curious mind. It does get you thinking about the passage of time and its effects on the world around us.

Dig Deeper

The app is a spin-off from the Exploring Time project and US television special on The Science Channel. On their site you can watch the 2 hour special in segments, there are Teacher resources and other ideas to explore around the concept of time from billionths of a second to billions of years, it is well worth a visit.

App Store link: Painting With Time (Free)

Kids Making Apps and Inspiration

You have probably seen the video below of Thomas Suarez, a 12 year old student from the South Bay of Los Angeles, who recently spoke at TedxManhattanBeach.

In his presentation Thomas speaks about how he loves computers, how he has been fascinated with them from an early age, how Apple's SDK resources helped him get going to create his first app and even how Apple staff at the App store have encouraged him.


Perhaps his greatest inspiration though can be seen in Thomas' on-stage mannerisms. Take a look at the video and see if you are reminded of anyone (recently departed and sorely missed at Apple) in the way he speaks, poses questions, and even the way he shrugs when the audience is laughing at his comment about students knowing more than their teachers.

Inspiration and Aspiration

Although we have to be honest and say that we probably wouldn't buy any of Thomas' apps (we're not really the target audience), we do think Thomas' approach and attitude is an inspiration, both to other students who are thinking of giving App development a go and to adults who have been dabbling or are doubting that they can do it.

Thomas is obviously a very bright and talented young man, with his own company CarrotCorp and big plans for the future. His example though shows that with a bit of creativity and a passion for developing, age is no barrier to what can be achieved.

Teachers / Educators also have another example to help support investment in subjects such as Computer Studies, App development and including IT in the Curriculum.

What do you think about Thomas' speech?

Beautiful iPad Art from Teacher Jenny Oakley

School of Excellence

If you have been reading this blog for a while you may remember us mentioning that Cedars School of Excellence was the first school in the UK (and pretty much everywhere else) to roll out a 1:1 iPad program to their pupils.

We have been following their challenges / successes via Frasier Spiers blog for a while now and we have been enchanted by what the pupils and staff have been creating and sharing via their Flickr feed (and more recently in our iPad Creative Art and Design Flickr Group).

Jenny Oakley - iPad Art

Dawn by Jenny Oakley

Leading by example Cedars' Art Teacher (and Head of Guidance) Jenny Oakley has been prolific, using her iPad to create some beautiful pieces that we really love.

Jenny's use of colour and texture is inspiring and really shows what can be created on the iPad with a very healthy dose of artistic talent. Using iPad painting apps such as ArtRage and Brushes, Jenny achieves results which are sometimes light and playful, often stronger, darker and emotive.

What's the Story?

We are always fascinated by the creative process and the story behind an image. Jenny has been kind enough to provide us with some of her thoughts and comments about her artwork below and using the iPad with her students. Over to you Jenny...

Tree of Knowledge

I painted the 'Tree of Knowledge' just after we had implemented our 1:1 iPad programme. There was a lot of debate at the time about allowing pupils such a high level of access to the internet for fear of all the dangers and negative content they might access.

I was trying to explore this theme by suggesting that the internet is like a digital version of the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden and, for our pupils, their access is through the iPads. There is all the knowledge of all that is good as well as all that is bad out there on the internet.

Education should not be about hiding this from pupils but about educating them to make right choices in what they access and guiding them as they learn to navigate this environment. It should not be prohibitive but should prepare them for choices they will face as adults.

Box of Delights

"Box of Delights" was also painted on this theme. It shows a girl opening a box with the streaming light of many delights pouring out.

The box is decorated with computer circuitry as, in a similar way to the Tree of Knowledge, it represents the vast potential and opportunity open to us in the digital environment.

The box is a direct reference to Pandora's box but I didn't want to call it that as only dark, negative things came out of her box.

What comes out of the 'digital' box can be used for good or ill depending on the user.

Is it a box of delights or is it a Pandora's box? We need to educate pupils about these issues.

Gone Swimming

"Gone Swimming" was my first ArtRage painting. I wanted to experiment with a wider range of art apps, especially those which simulated real materials - ArtRage was the most realistic I found.

I really loved using ArtRage, especially with all the textures that I could create, the vibrancy of the colours and realism of the interaction of the simulated materials.

I have been using it ever since.


Instrument was one of my first experiments with the app 'TypeDrawing'.

I was fascinated with the possibilities presented by using text (or in this case musical notes) as a brush - it seemed so expressive.

I wanted to see how far I could develop this and used TypeDrawing and the musical notes again to paint "Cello" whilst in a Vivaldi concert in St Martin's in the Field Church, Trafalgar Square, London.

About Painting with the iPad

I love using the iPad to paint as i feel it has opened up a whole new world of creativity for me. I hadn't really done much of my own artwork over the years until I got the iPad in May 2010.

All of a sudden all the barriers of time, materials, space and possible failure were taken away and I was enabled. I could paint anywhere and at any time - I didn't need a large area in which to work or have to spend a lot of money to set myself up and find my 'niche'.

Neither did I have to set aside large blocks of time which, to be honest,  I didn't have - I could paint on the bus, before I went to sleep, in my classroom whilst pupils were working or while waiting for a doctor's appointment.

There was also no price attached to failure - it was so easy to try things out and experiment with the undo and redo facility and of course there were endless canvases and materials available.

And due to the size and portability of the device, and the immediacy of the medium, no one had to see any artwork until I was happy with it.

My favourite painting apps are ArtRage, Brushes, Typedrawing as well as Moodboard for my sketchbook. 

Painting on the canvas of the iPad with digital media is just another branch of art - it is neither more nor less important than traditional methods, it is just different. It requires the same creativity, imagination and level of skill to manipulate the media and develop work as does more traditional materials. It is a different media with different nuances, techniques, possibilities and limitations.

On using iPads with Students 

I have found creating artwork on the iPad very successful with pupils. It provides a safe, structured environment in which to experiment and develop their skills, confidence and creativity and takes away the fear of the 'blank page'.

The 'undo' feature is very significant as it allows endless experimentation and thus improvement. I have found that the skills and creativity developed on the iPad do transfer over to traditional materials - pupils have more confidence and are more willing to try.

The increased expectation of success enables them to create a more skilful piece of work. This further boosts their confidence and encourages them to try harder again and so their artwork continues to improve.

Thank you Jenny, for sharing your thoughts and experiences and also for letting us include your images in this post.

One Man iBand (Video)

We mentioned before Neil Johnston (Store Van Music) and his super creative iOS projects when he was working on a music education lesson with Kids and iPads.

His latest venture is another iOS affair, using an iPhone to record the video below, plus iOS apps like GarageBand to record and even play the theme tune for new game Tiny Invaders, which looks like a lot of fun.

If you really like the tune you can download the track as an iTunes Ringtone for $0.99 (69p). Check it out:

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.

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.

Getting Creative with iPad 2's Camera

By all accounts, the iPad 2 camera is fairly useless for anything but the lowest quality and generally unusable stills, we have to be honest. But what if you chuck a healthy dose of creativity into the mix?

John Biehler (officially an E-Business analyst, but also has his fingers in other pies) has done just that with his new iPad 2 and the Photo Booth app's Kaleidoscope effect. He posted some of the results to his blog and uploaded a few of the photos to Flickr.

Image courtesy of John Biehler via Flickr (click image to see original)

John said:

"I think the results turned out pretty cool, if not a little Inception-esque. Being on top of Vancouver probably helped too... A little low resolution but interesting art nonetheless."

We were quite captivated by these images and would agree, they are quite artistic and definitely have an Inception quality about them.

Whilst your average point & shoot doesn't have anything to worry about from the iPad 2's stills ability, John's post goes to show what fun can still be had with any camera and a bit of creativity.

Image courtesy of John Biehler via Flickr (click image to see original)

You can read the full blog post on John's site and be sure to check out the rest of John's photos on Flickr.

Image courtesy of John Biehler via Flickr (click image to see original)

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