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Entries in Mania (1)

"I've just touched the tip of what the app is capable of letting me create!"

You will surely remember the video that Shawn Harris created using Brushes on the iPad for Mania's super infectious 'Thank Each Mistake'. Shawn was kind enough to provide some extra detail about the making of the video. We are sharing Shawn's observations here as a way of inspiring others to push out into new creative territory with the iPad. Perhaps it's time to take a good look at the apps on your iPad and see if they can be used to create something entirely new?

Over to Shawn:

"´╗┐The iPad video using the Brushes app started with me just noodling around with the program, which I got because it was the one that Hockney and Colombo were using to paint the New Yorker covers... it is exciting because nobody knows the extent of our new tech toy. Nearly every project on the iPad, at this point, is pushing at a frontier.  It presents limitations, but then again, so does oil, or watercolor!  Part of the fun of art is letting the medium, with all of it's limitation, steer the creation and change the way the artist works, and the feel and look of the art. Being an illustrator obsessed with motion, I immediately gravitated away from seeing the app's potential for me in fine art prints, and toward toying with the painting playback feature, and the app's ability to export the brush stroke history as a .mov file.

I realized that if I could be deliberate about lifting my finger and creating a new frame, I could control a 2D stop-motion animation by pushing colors around the screen in small increments.  Most of my frames contain remnants of previous action, trailing behind my newly drawn frame, and one frame later, I erase the older actions and fragments, and then switch back to the brush and lead the action with a new drawing.  The technique I gleaned a bit from street artist BLU, who does graffiti animation by painting on walls, and blotting out previous paintings, photographing each advancing frame. (search his video Big Bang Big Boom) I got about 20 seconds into my experimenting, which by this point, I'd decided would be a video, and restarted the project, because it looked really fun, and I didn't want to pull any punches with that potential.

In essence, the handful of exports from brushes are just one painting, from beginning to end, that I kept painting over and over and over. I felt that surge of creative potential at the beginning, and now that I've finished, I feel like I've just touched at the tip of what the app is capable of letting me create!

I've directed/edited/created all of Maniac's video content, in part because we are an independent band (in the US. we signed to a label Stop Start in Australia, but they let us do our thing, and basically just try to work the songs to radio, which is still relevant down there, because they have awesome public stations, but that's another story). We work with funds we make from our self-screened t-shirts, painted CD's and vinyls on our webstore that we run ourselves. (You don't NEEED $40k to make something fun and pretty to watch with a good song!  This animated video was the price of Brushes -$7.99 I think...  And even if you want to throw in the iPad receipt, it still comes in under a grand.)

Mostly, I do this because I love doing it. I love writing a song and simultaneously conceptualizing a video, and the next day, starting the video, conferring only with my bandmate Jake. I love putting up progress stills and clips for our fans, and getting their feedback (which is mostly, 'whoa, cool - you're showing us stuff we're not used to being shown!', and I find the enthusiasm inspiring).  And then I finish the video and put it straight online.  It's fun."

You can support Shawn's creative endeavours by spreading the word about this video, his band and his other personal projects.