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Entries in painting (21)

Procreate - A Quick Look at a New and Unique iPad Painting App

Savage Interactive (SI) are making big claims about their new iPad illustration and painting app Procreate. We take a quick look at what the app does differently and offer our first impressions of its performance.

Artistic content creators have a whole raft of choices nowadays for the iPad but Procreate offers some unique features that the Developers believe will set it apart from these other apps, which is quite some claim given the following that apps like Brushes, SketchBook Pro, ArtStudio and ArtRage have already.

Here is what SI says about the app in their Press Release:

Procreate might just be the most exciting digital painting app on a mobile device. We've taken desktop performance, added professional features and squeezed it all into an iPad.

Blend colours on the iPad like never before. Procreate uses 64-bit colour sampling to mix paint together effortlessly, in a way that's familiar to traditional illustrators. The smudge tool has been finely tuned to react differently by adjusting the precision pressure slider-the more pressure you choose, the more colour will be pushed around.

Users will feel at home with a familiar (HSB) colour picker, eyedropper, and a smudge tool that goes beyond its desktop counterparts. On top of all this, you'll find comfort in a layering system that allows up to 16 layers, the ability to merge down and up, transform, and show/hide. Another feature we're proud to boast about is up to 100 undo or redo states. That's right. 100. Let your imagination go, knowing there's always a backup plan.

Inventing the Wheel

What really interested us about the Procreate app is that the small, four person, development team have created their own painting engine they call Silica. This is the secret to Procreate's amazing performance on the iPad.

Discussing this in a blog post and the year it took to develop a non-CPU reliant engine, SI said:

...the result is Silica, the Si painting engine written completely in OpenGL ES 2.0. And because Silica is created entirely in OpenGL ES, the performance is just astounding. Procreate can paint and push around a huge amount of pixels at a constant 60fps. Thats better than most desktop painting apps.

First Impressions - Super Snappy

We have had a quick play with Procreate today and our first impressions are good. It is really very responsive, with little to none of the horrendous lag shown by some apps on the original iPad (yes Art Rage, we mean you). The 16 layers are useful and easy to work with, merging up or down frees up layers and everything works quickly so that you can see immediately the effect of adding, hiding or reordering your layers.

Like the Paint tool, the Smudge tool is effective, infinitely variable and again very snappy. Procreate is probably one of the most responsive painting apps we have seen on the iPad. We still have the original iPad too.

Custom Brushes

Creating your own brushes is where real depth to the app lies though, we think this is something that will provide some of the most creative possibilities, especially as you spend more time and experiment with Procreate.

Brushes can be fine tuned to exact parameters, any image can be imported to define either the Shape or Grain of a brush, which when you think about it offers enormous creative potential.

Another great feature is that a brush is shared between the three main tools once created, so you make a new brush under the Smudge tool for instance and see it immediately in the Eraser and Paint tools too, a seemingly obvious but previously missing feature from most iPad art apps.

Input Options

We have tried Procreate with a stylus and had no problems at all, in fact it seemed to work better than using our built in digits but that will always be a personal preference thing. We hope to try it out with the Nomad Brush as well soon and will let you know how that goes as soon as we can.

Time to Buy

Procreate is available now at an introductory price of $7.99 (£4.99) in the App Store but if you want to find out more about the numerous other features we haven't mentioned here, before buying, there is a lot of information on Savage Interactive's website including a nicely presented PDF user guide which we found really useful to get us going with the app.

To see what can be done with Procreate take a look at the video below from SI showing artist Will Robinson at work with the app:

Steve Talkowski demos the Nomad Brush

Steve Talkowski of Sketchbot fame has also been playing with the Nomad Brush and seeing what it can do. With Steve's permission, we are posting here his video of the first iPad painting he produced with the Nomad Brush and the Brushes app. (If you're viewing this on an iPad go Fullscreen and Portrait mode for the best experience.)

We were both impressed and encouraged by seeing what an artist like Steve can produce with just the Nomad Brush as a stylus. The amount of creative control the Nomad Brush gives you is something that has to be experienced to fully appreciate.

We love it too and, as we said in our review and video demo, the Nomad Brush is a must-buy for any iPad artist.

How would you like to win your very own Nomad Brush just for being an iPad Creative reader? Enter our competition before 1900GMT on Monday 28th February and you might just bag one for free.

Nomad Brush - Hands On Review and Video

Image provided by and Copyright of NomadBrush LLCYou've seen the Nomad Brush promo video, you've read about it, you're curious and you want one. But is it really any good? Read on to find out...

When we heard about an iPad stylus that was actually a paintbrush we were cynical and thought 'That can't possibly work'. So we asked Don Lee (Artist, Architect and Creator of the Nomad Brush) if we could try one for ourselves. 

Don graciously agreed and promptly sent a review unit flying over the Atlantic to us. After using it extensively for a few weeks now we wanted to let you know what to expect when you buy yours (although hold off on that purchase for a minute - more details later).

We have made a short video review which you can see below but first, we wanted to describe how it feels to use the Nomad Brush stylus and what we thought of it.

Short version - it's awesome, seriously awesome! - See our video for more.

Image provided by and Copyright of NomadBrush LLCLook and Feel

When you first hold the Nomad Brush it doesn't seem like a revolutionary input device. Its wood and bristles feel, well, like a paintbrush. But what was immediately apparent about the Nomad Brush is the quality of its construction.

In our hand it felt like a quality paintbrush and the bristles were soft with a very gentle, light brush as we tried it on the back of our hand. There were a couple of loose hairs on the brush, but this was an early production unit and we expected this. There was nothing about this brush that seemed much different from any other paintbrush.

It works!

So it was with a sense of trepidation and some cyncisim we fired up our first test app on our iPad, ArtRage, which seemed to be an obvious choice with its multiple textures and natural media 'paints' and this is when the first pleasant surprise hit us, the brush is responsive enough to act as an input device for the user interface. We expected to have to use our usual input device (our index finger) to navigate interface elements, but that wasn't necessary.

Having made our selections we started 'painting' with the Nomad Brush and the smile didn't leave our face from that moment on, in fact all the time we were using the Nomad was such a pleasure and at each change of paint type or tool our excitement increased as we discovered what this brush could do.

It didn't take our brains more than a moment to adjust to using this stylus as a brush. Obviously, it is not exactly like brushing paint onto a canvas but it felt completely natural to use a realistic brushing action and depending on the tool selected some real-world painting techniques are possible with this brush.

Image provided by and Copyright of NomadBrush LLC

We also found ourselves quite intuitively switching back to using our finger if needed, e.g. for particularly fiddly UI elements or to blend/smudge some areas and then immediately back to the Nomad Brush without giving it a second thought. It really feels that natural to use. 

Durability

Regarding the durability of this stylus, we cannot really say, only time will tell, but apart from losing a few hairs at the outset we have no reason to believe it will last any less time than other styli or for that matter, brushes.

The construction seems to be very good, as we have said and perhaps the only other thing to expect is some shortening of the hairs over time.

Other uses

Although the Nomad Brush has been designed for use as an artists tool, it is obviously still a stylus, so check out the video below to see our review and also how else it might be used.

Final thoughts

If you are in any way interested in creating art on the iPad we think you will love the Nomad Brush and appreciate the care and thought that has gone into making it. Used with any of the current raft of Art creation apps on the iPad, or any touchscreen device, the Nomad Brush will provide you with a unique and more realistic approach to your craft.

You can pick up the Nomad Brush for just $24.99 via the website and now that there is International shipping available you can get one wherever you happen to be in the world.

Your chance to Win a Nomad Brush

So we have told you why you need a Nomad Brush, but how about getting one for free? Enter our competition for your chance to win one of two Nomad Brushes.

Carmela Hogan - UK iPad Artist

 

Carmela Hogan is a UK artist who specialises in Digital paintings, including iPad created portraits. This video is one of her shorter ones, a painting of a well known TV personality in the UK, Keith Chegwin (more affectionately known as 'Cheggars').

Carmela's work was recently chosen to be featured at Macworld 2011 along with some other prominent iPad artists.

What is interesting about Carmela though is that she's offering a few paid-for iPad painting packages on her website. We're not sure how successful this has been, but we thought this may be of note to some of our readers, particularly as the question of how to sell and deliver iPad art came up in our Flickr Group forum a while back.

Be sure to check out the rest of Carmela's work on her YouTube channel, where there are some much longer videos, and you can see more of her iPad and other Digital artwork by visiting her site here.

David Kassan uses a Nomad Brush Stylus

We came across this video from TechWebTV at this year's CES and the thing that stood out to us was New York based artist and iPad experimenter David Kassan using the Nomad Brush stylus we mentioned a few days ago.

David uses it with the fantastic ArtRage for iPad to paint oils onto his virtual canvas and you can see him blending in the oils, selecting colours, using the ArtRage interface, all with the Brush.

This gets us excited to think that the Nomad Brush can be used properly by a real artist as an input device on the iPad for painting. It looks like this may be the start of a new type of stylus for iPad artists.

If you have a Nomad Brush stylus or plan to get one, let us know in the comments.

How to Paint on the iPad

Continuing what seems to be a theme here over the last few days, we have found another look into the Creative process with a video entitled 'How to paint on the iPad' by Kyle Lambert

We have featured Kyle's work here several times before but this video we found particularly interesting as it explains a bit about the techniques he uses to create his amazing art on the iPad.

Woz by David Newman

You may have seen this already but we just wanted to make sure you hadn't missed this one from David Newman. As 'Silicon Valley's artist-in-residence', Newman has been using Macs since the early 80's and more recently the iPad to create some wonderful paintings and his latest subject, Steve Wozniak, is going to appeal to Apple geeks everywhere.

iPad Portrait Of Steve Wozniak at Work TodayWoz himself, on his Facebook page, said it is the "Best photo or painting of me ever!" and he is now using it as his profile pic. Woz also explains in another post that Newman took a screenshot of his SketchBook Pro workflow every 3 minutes to create key frames for the video above.

It is fun how Newman deconstructs the picture at the end of the video too, reminding us of the steps he took to get there (and how he starts with Woz's name as the background).

We love seeing the creative process in action like this, showing how an artist layers up an image and creates light and shapes to construct their image. It is something that we could never appreciate fully from just looking at the final piece and we are grateful to all the artists who are sharing their creative processes for the rest of us to wonder at.

Newman's work is amongst the 4,700 plus images submitted to our iPad Creative Art and Design Flickr Group, check out the rest of the images too, there are some amazing pieces there.

MobileArtCon in New York this weekend - You Are Invited

We would dearly love to be in New York this weekend! Starting tomorrow 22nd October and continuing through to Monday 25th the first ever iAMDA (International Association of Mobile Digital Artists) Mobile Art Conference will be held at will be held at New York University's Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at the Tisch School of the Arts.

The focus is on art and music created on handheld touchscreen devices, our favourite topic.

The Conference itself is on Saturday (23rd) and Sunday (24th). The Conference programme looks amazing with live demonstrations and hands-on sessions from some of the leading lights in iPad (and other mobile device) painting including David Kassan.

Healing Touch by Mia Robson (created on iPad with Brushes)There will even be a session with a live link to London where Paul Kercal (a UK based art teacher, iPad Creative Flickr Group member and, we hope, still reader of this blog) is leading a 'Team Teach' with a group of students, as he informed us about in his comment on our recent post.

We are very excited for everyone who will be involved in MobileArtCon and wish everyone the best for this weekend's activities, we are sure everyone will have a lot of fun.

Here is a bit more detail about the Conference from the Press Release, for more information and to see what it is all about check out the MobileArtCon website:

The free event features artist presentations, app demonstrations, and forums hosted by the world's most prolific artists and app developers. Topics range from publishing and printing options to theoretical discussions behind the evolution of digital art and its community. There will be hands on and interactive workshops including a Master Class demo by noted New York figurative painter David Kassan, whose Gizmodo-featured iPad demo became a 1 million-viewer internet sensation.

The conference also features multiple outside activities including a private artists' reception on October 22nd, plein-air painting sessions throughout the city, and a large scale group exhibition, "Illuminated Touch", displaying artworks generated by the attending artists on October 24th. The exhibition is open to the public and will be held 7pm-10pm at Openhouse Gallery in Manhattan.

If you are fortunate enough to be attending, or are in New York this weekend and decide to drop in on the exhibition, do let us know what you thought, we would love to hear from you.

SpinArt Studio - save the mess and 60% for a limited time

To celebrate the second anniversary of the original iPhone version of SpinArt by Brian Smith (7twenty7), you can save 60% off the iPad version, SpinArt Studio, for a 'very limited time'. This makes the price of the iPad app just $1.99 (£1.19). The iPhone version is on sale too with 50% off at $0.99 (59p).

This app is great fun and such a fantastic way to keep the kids entertained on a rainy Autumn weekend (we think a few of those are on the way).

You can even share your wonderful creations (once your head has stopped spinning) in the SpinArt Flickr group or on the SpinArt Facebook page and browse other users' creations there too.

If you get this app let us know what you think of it in the comments below, we would love to hear from you.

In the meantime, here is a rundown of the app's features from the iTunes description, and don't forget to check out the review of the app in the video above:

• Full 1024x768 HD resolution
• 15 canvas shapes!
• 54 colors!
• 3 brush types and 5 brush sizes.
• Multitouch painting with up to four fingers at once.
• Improved glitter from the iPhone version.
• Use in any device orientation.
• Ability to offset the canvas to create even more amazing designs!
• Save to your Photo Library or email directly to a friend.
• Undo

Kyle Lambert's 10 out of 10 iPad paintings

UK based artist Kyle Lambert posted on YouTube yesterday the last in his series of 'Ten Celebrity Portraits in Ten Days'. These have all been painted on his iPad using just his finger and the wonderful Brushes app.

Beginning with Cheryl Cole and ending up with Rusell Brand, via Madonna (in the video above), Megan Fox, Will Smith and David Beckham plus others, this series really shows off Kyle's fantastic artistic ability. If you would like to see the whole series here is a link to all 10 videos.

Kyle Lambert's work, among others, also helps to demonstrate how the iPad enables visual artists to create wonderful content, given the right combination of talent and iPad app.

As we mentioned in a previous post, Kyle has been getting quite a bit of media attention recently which is also helping people see the iPad as more than just a 'consumption' decice. Kyle's Beyonce image painting video currently has more than 290,000 views on YouTube.

We would like to congratulate Kyle on his series of celebrity portraits and look forward to seeing more of his work on the iPad in the future.

Don't forget to check out what other talented artists are creating on their iPads amongst the more than 2700 pieces submitted to the iPad Creative Flickr group.