Entries in James (427)

Creativity for the masses

I recently came across this thoughtful article over at Fast Company. It's well worth reading and echoes many of my own thoughts on where Apple might lead the iPad's creative community. There's still much that can be done by both Apple and iPad developers to expand the capability of the worlds leading tablet computer.

It's true that some of that initial fizz of excitement has evaporated over the last 12 months (and that's been reflected in the amount of content on this site), but I'm hopeful that Apple can shake things up again this year. The iPad has so much more to give and it would be a real shame to not be around for the journey.

Start something new. Apple hosts a gallery of iPad and iPhone art

Apple has kicked off 2015 with a gallery of productions created using its devices. It's a fine gallery featuring some our favourite artists and apps. The gallery covers video production, painting and illustration, photography and video editing, but we're more than a little sad that there's no mention of music production. Photography gets featured 7 times but music production not at all. Given Apple's commitment to music consumption with its iTunes music store, you'd think that it would be more keen to promote music creation.

Guitar solo from Comfortably Numb recreated with GarageBand

You simply cannot produce this kind of thing on a Mac or PC, not without extra hardware at least. Despite what some still profess, the iPad really is one of the finest content creation devices ever made, and we believe it's only just getting started. 2015 should be an epic year for iPad owners.

My thanks to Firmin for inspiring us with this stunning creation. One day Apple will have the good sense to invite you, and others like you, to demo your skills on stage at an Apple keynote.

Source: Laughing Squid


Duet Display, the app that transforms your iPad into a second screen for your Mac

I'll keep this short, Duet Display is the first iPad app that provides proper Mac second screen capability for the iPad when connected via cable. The caveats are few, but certainly worth mentioning. It only works with the Mac, running 10.9 or greater, and the iPad that serves as the second display via the Duet Display client app has to be running iOS 6 or greater. The iOS app currently costs $14.99 and the display server software for the Mac is free.

What Duet Display does that the others don't

Duet Display, when set to its highest quality setting, turns your iPad into a Retina class display running at a tidy 60 frames per second. The host Mac has to give over some of its available resources to accomplish this, but on a modern Mac the overall impact in performance will be small. I did some tests using my 2012 i7 based MacBook Pro. While displaying a static image, only 5% of the Mac's overall processing power was given over to the Duet Display server app. With the entire screen in motion, playing a video or scrolling through a website, this figure jumped up to around 35%.

One small annoyance

The developer claims that on a modern Mac there is zero lag. This isn't exactly correct. It's certainly true that the app does achieve a consistent 60 frames per second with no tearing or distracting image artefacts, However there is a tiny lag between mouse movements and screen updates. It's so small that you may not even notice it, but it's worth mentioning, if for no other reason than to temper your expectations a little.

Concluding thoughts

Duet Display is an essential app for anyone who finds they are often switching between applications on their Mac. As an example, it allows me to have Adobe InDesign open on my Mac display whilst slinging Photoshop out to the Duet Display app. It means a whole lot less app switching, hence saving me time throughout the week. I'm sure that I'll find more uses for Duet Display over the coming months, it takes a while to get used to having a second display, but just $14.99 it's worth giving it a try.


'Ripley' by Laurent Canniccioni, a Procreate masterpiece

Laurent has done a superb job of capturing the likeness of both Sigourney Weaver's character Ripley and the claustrophobic interior of the ship Nostromo. The original painting is a massive 4000 x 3000 pixels. That's 12MP! You really need to see the detail for yourself — pay particular attention to a post-it note on the far left monitor.

I used a photo ref of Sigourney of course, but I improvised the environment as a kind of love letter to the Nostromo spaceship set design, which is in my opinion still one of the most realistic sci-fi environments ever created on film. - Laurent Canniccioni

'Castle of Illusion' is currently just $0.99!

A beautiful game, with tricky controls. If you enjoy challenging platformers, you'd be nuts to pass this one by! Perfect lazy Sunday afternoon entertainment.

Theme from Dying Young, demonstrating the iPad GarageBand thumb piano technique!

"Trying to thumb my way through this piece with an iPad Mini. Turns out I can. Not smooth nor 100% accurate, but it's ok. Thumb arpeggios are tricky but it's like texting with music".

Great iPad musicianship from Francis, just as we have come to expect.

'Aug 19' by Andrey Malikh

Showcasing his incredible talent once again, Andrey Malikh puts the iPad and Procreate to work in this atmospheric painting.

'Summer Breeze' by Vincent Vermeulen

This new GarageBand groove from Vincent Vermeulen is a blissful reminder of the fantastic summer that we have enjoyed here in UK. Great work from Vincent, as always!

Osmo uses the FaceTime camera to merge real and virtual worlds

This clever mirror, stand and software combination effectively provides an extended iPad control surface. We can't help think how much more powerful this could be if the iPad had two cameras FaceTime, thereby providing depth perception of sorts.

You can preorder Osmo now and receive a healthy 50% discount.