I was watching the opening ceremony for the Commonwealth Games recently and the geek in me was interested to see what technology the athletes were brining into Celtic Park to record the momentous event. There were the standard tablets, phones, head mounted GoPros, DSLRs, some weird blue ring things which I’m still not sure what they are (please enlighten me if you know in the comments at the bottom). The vast majority of the nations were doing a great job filming their evening, and then New Zealand made their entry. I almost choked on my cornflakes to see that nearly all of them were holding up their iPhones and iPads and filming in VERTICAL VIDEO! Horror of digital horrors. Continue reading
As a young wannabe film maker (or nerd as it’s more commonly referred to) in the early 90s, I used to love grabbing the family camcorder and knocking up some quality Hollywood remakes. My greatest hits included remakes of Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters and the criminally underrated original production “That Army Bloke II”. I’m still waiting for an offer for the screenplay for that one. Me and my sister had to be pretty creative with our movies as special effects were limited to fade to white and macro. Nowadays with the iPad, the world is your digital celluloid oyster and Do Ink’s excellent Green Screen app is a fantastic addition to the amateur film maker’s armoury. Continue reading
ArtStudio for iPad is an indispensable app for a wide range of artistic practices. Its accessibility, comprehensiveness, and wide-open capabilities inspired me to make images for the first time in decades. The app is marketed for sketching, painting, and photo editing purposes, but it is flexible enough to be used in a variety of ways. Features include a flexible canvas size, portrait and landscape orientation, sixteen tools, 150 brushes, palm rejection, favorite brush settings, customized stroke settings, open/closed shapes, layer options, bluetooth stylus support, import/export options, undo/redo buttons, forty filters, image resize, and comprehensive adjustment settings.
The app’s layout is logical and tidy. There are toolbars on each side of the screen, a menu bar across the top, and a toolbar along the bottom. The bars can be made to disappear with a tap of the ‘full screen’ button in the top left corner. Tools can be accessed on the left, colors on the right, and on the bottom, favorites, layers, brush size and opacity, and undo/redo settings.
One can learn to work with ArtStudio in an organic fashion, as well through a User’s Manual, Forums, and Tutorials. The manual’s illustrations are accompanied by captions. The instructions are short and to the point, and aren’t always helpful.
Back in those halcyon days of long summer holidays (now sadly gone, oh wait, I’m a teacher!) I used to love remaking summer blockbuster movies with my Dad’s state of the art, 5 kilogram camcorder. One particular summer, I roped my Sister, Mum and dog/velociraptor into re-making Jurassic Park. For the T-Rex attack scene we emptied out our recently deceased gerbil’s cage, packed the bottom with mud and used mood lighting and a watering can to create the scene with a model of a T-Rex (free gift – thanks PG Tips!). However, we had no method of making the scene look good without physically holding the T-Rex toy, which ended up looking a bit rubbish. If YouTube, the iPad and the StopMo Studio app had been invented in 1993, all my problems would have been solved and I’d now be calling the shots in Hollywood.
However, back to reality. I have used a couple of other stop motion apps on the iPad, most notability the excellent Stop Motion Studio, and one of our teachers at school has used iMotion with fantastic results. I must say however, the NFB’s StopMo Studio (NFB standing for National Film Board…of Canada) is the best that I have used so far. It seems to be an app that has been very well thought out and it’s very slick as a result. Continue reading
TitleFx is a new iPad (and iOS) app that brings excellent titles and text to your photos. It’s from East Coast Pixels, the developers of the stellar PhotoToaster app – which was one of our picks for Best iPad Apps of 2011.
Here’s a slice of the App Store description for TitleFx:
TitleFx allows your pictures to tell a story by adding broadcast quality titles. You can turn any picture into a magazine cover, and then share it with your friends.
Pick from a collection of beautiful fonts and colors and apply stunning effects. The interface allows you to see the result before you select it, with a series of unique live lists.
The possibilities are limitless and the results are stunning.
Create multiple text objects with full control over size and position. If you make a mistake you can undo and redo until you get it right. Compositions are saved to a recent list so you can go back and re-edit at any time. This is a powerful, full featured editing environment.
I had very high hopes for the app as soon as I saw it released, because it’s made by East Coast Pixels. It has not disappointed – hit the break for some of the reasons why …
Gradiance is one of those single-purpose iPad apps that is just incredibly good at the one thing it is made to do. In this case that one thing is designing images with gradients. Here’s a slice of its App Store intro:
Whether you need a striking image to use in your designs, or the source code to display the gradient on a web page, in a Mac app or an iOS app, Gradianceis there to save you time.
You can design your own, or automatically create one by extracting the colours from a photo. You can create gradients in a variety of shapes and styles — linear, radial, or angular, looped or bounced up to ten times. You can even blend your gradient with a photo to create special effects, such as vignettes or vintage processing.
As you may have noted if you follow my Weekend iPad Wallpapers posts, I’ve been spending a lot of time with this app recently. A whole lot of time – and enjoying the heck out of it.
Ever taken the perfect photo of your kiddo with a big smile on their face and then discovered that you also got some random kid in the background picking their nose? On the desktop I’ve used a superb app called Snapheal to remove unwanted content in situations like that.
Now I’ve discovered there’s a great little iPad app that will do this too, thanks to a mention by reader D.R. The app is called TouchRetouch HD and it’s easy to use, has some great tools, and works like a charm.
These are a few of its notable capabilities and features:
* Remove spots from sky or other backgrounds
* Remove wires from your picture
* Remove banners from the buildings
* Remove human-made objects from nature views (bridges, buildings, tents, ships etc.)
* Remove your shadow from self-made picture
* Remove people from the photo
* Remove ghosts and flare
* Remove surface breaks
* Smoothen and retouch the face
* Create funny pictures: for example, remove parachute and leave the guy flying in the sky
HOPE Poster Photo Filter is a fun little iPad app that lets you create striking poster-style images very easily. Here’s a slice of its App Store intro:
HOPE Poster makes it easier than ever to turn your own photos into iconic posters featuring your own messages!
Choose from nine different unique and fun styles.
Just select your image, crop and position, choose a style, type your message and save to your library. Share your creations direct to Facebook and Twitter (both avatar and tweet using Twitpics).
The poster effects are similar to those used in the memorable Hope posters done for the Obama campaign in the 2008 presidential campaign in the US – though without the stencil-like effects.
Elicity is a new iPad app that has quite a simple purpose; it lets you browse and share YouTube videos via word clouds. Here’s its brief App Store intro:
Explore the millions of videos available on YouTube with the beautiful word clouds created by Elicity.
Makes browsing YouTube a wonderfully tactile and intuitive experience.
Share word clouds and discovered videos with friends, via Facebook, Twitter and Email.
Gorgeous fonts, delicious color schemes – create something unique whilst browsing.
As you may have noticed, I’m finding myself drawn to a number of video-focused apps for the iPad, as there are so few good things to watch on TV these days. Elicity’s word cloud concept is certainly different enough to be worth a look – so I’ve been trying it out last night and today.