Archive for November, 2011

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Why multiple Apps are a wonderful thing

grungetastic 6 Why multiple Apps are a wonderful thing


The iPad has a few things going for it in comparison with a PC and one of those is cheap apps and another the convenience of saving images to the Photo Gallery and instantly switching between applications. Things that can be done on the PC just seem to be much easier at times on the iPad.

Take this image. It started out in PaintBook. I like this app because it has some good tools for creating basic shapes and cutting shapes out of others and its layers feature makes it very easy to work with.

teapot paintbook step1 Why multiple Apps are a wonderful thing

Here the basic teapot shape was created on one layer and then the handle created as a white shape on a second layer. On a third layer, I created all the dots and then saved the finished project to the Photo Gallery.

From here, what I wanted to do was to make the edges of the shape darker so it looked like it had been inked or shaded. For this, I used the ArtStudio app. What I did in ArtStudio was to duplicate the now flattened image so that it was on two separate layers. I selected the topmost layer and using a darker color of the basic orange I painted around and over the edges of the teapot with a semi-opaque paint.

ImageFromArtStudio2 Why multiple Apps are a wonderful thing

At this stage, I wasn’t concerned about the fact that I’d painted all over the edges and over the white background. All I wanted to do was to get the effect I wanted on the teapot and ignore everything else. Having done this, I then set the blend mode of the topmost layer to Overlay as this effectively masks out the over-painting leaving just the resulting image.

I chose to merge visible layers to flatten the effect and then I duplicated the flattened layer and used some of the blend modes to craft the image that I wanted in terms of color and effect. Each time I merged the layers then duplicated them again and used more blending. I finished off by using the pencil tool in ArtStudio to draw dark lines around the white dots on the teapot. From here, I saved the resulting image into the Photo Gallery.

The next step is to PencilSketch HD. I swore blind I wouldn’t buy the full version of this app but I use it more than I like to admit so I sprung for the 1.99 that it cost. I brought the teapot into this app to create it as a pencil sketch. There are no tools here you just get the sketch it gives you but it does a really good job and it is probably the most realistic pencil sketch tool that I’ve found.

Pencil Sketch HD 3 Why multiple Apps are a wonderful thing

From here, I saved the image back into the Photo Gallery. I now had the colored image and a pencil sketch exactly the same size so I opened up SketchClub and grabbed both images, one on one layer and one on the other. I then blended the two layers together using blend modes to get this effect.

Sketch club 4 Why multiple Apps are a wonderful thing

From here, I saved the image back into the Photo Gallery.

Now it was onto Pixlr to add a grunge effect and border to the image. From Pixlr it’s a simple process to save the image back into the Photo Gallery and then hit it with the full force of the Grungetastic app for this final result.

pixlr 5 Why multiple Apps are a wonderful thing

When you consider how far we’ve come from a basic sketch to either the Pixlr or Grungetastic results and that it was all done within a short period of time, you can see the possibilities of creating art using a variety of apps.

grungetastic 6 Why multiple Apps are a wonderful thing

Each apps was used because of its strengths. ArtStudio makes it easy for me to make blended edge effects. I love SketchClub for its ability to blend layers and PaintBook is just such a cool tool for creating basic sketches. Pixlr and Grungetastic just add the finishing touches.



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Friday, November 18th, 2011

Cityscape rendered in Grungetastic for the iPad

grungtastic cityscape multi effects Cityscape rendered in Grungetastic for the iPad

Magic stuff – it is thanks to Grungetastic for the iPad. This 99 cent app has a wealth of features including some great borders like the one here.

It has plenty to like about it including multiple sets of grunge effects, borders and styles to use to colour an image. You can also fix an image and save the changes as a preset. Then (and the program doesn’t make this clear) you can see the preset in the Style list and apply it to any image again in future.

grungetastic Cityscape rendered in Grungetastic for the iPad

This app is much more powerful than it might first appear and so many textures they will blow your mind.You can colour the styles with any colour you like so you can tailor any effect really nicely.

If there is anything to dislike it is that it is designed for the iPhone and it’s small on the iPad but that is a small complaint.

This is a tool I’d use for photos as well as for artwork, it makes my pictures look something completely different – love it!

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Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

OmniSketch images – iPad app

cityscape omnisketch 3 OmniSketch images   iPad app

OmniSketch iPad app so totally rocks. I really like the lines you can get and I’ve been experimenting a lot with it.

You see one issue with it is that there is really no way to shade a drawing in the traditional way except with a brush line and you can’t draw windows in a building as the procedural brushes don’t really lend themselves to this as much as you might want.

Instead you need to get shade and light by using dense and open brush lines – it’s a work in progress, but it is totally fun and I love the colours I get to work with.

Here is a second cityscape done with the app – maroon this time and pretty much all drawn with just two brushes.

cityscape 2 omnisketch OmniSketch images   iPad app

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Thursday, November 10th, 2011

Cityscape frame effect from Picfx iPad app

cityscape picfx texture book 4 Cityscape frame effect from Picfx iPad app

I’ve been working with this image for a few recent posts. It started out as an OmniSketch image and then I took it into Dynamic Light to apply an Orton Effect and one to add some Mysterious Light.

Then, on the basis of why use 2 apps when you can use 3, I took it into an app called Picfx which is a $1.99 app for adding effects to pictures.  Here I’ve applied a fairly heavy handed Texture effect to the image but one I like – it is called book and it’s in the texture group of effects – not border where you might expect it to be.

The image has come a long way and it’s really just a case of experimenting with some really wonderful apps to turn a drawn sketch into something so much more. Gotta love this iPad!


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Monday, November 7th, 2011

7 best draw, sketch and paint iPad apps for artists and designers


omnisketch 7 best draw, sketch and paint iPad apps for artists and designers

I’ve been trawling the iPad store to find cool apps for designers who want to draw, paint, sketch and generally do stuff on their iPads. I’ve also read a lot and seen way too many reviewers who think it is ok to pay  $9.99 for an app with one brush, no layers and no eraser. Seriously you have to wonder why people write that stupidity much less develop a following for doing so.

All these apps I’ve paid for and I use. In fact, I use them regularly – that’s why they are on this list, and I recommend them because they work, they are good value and I think you’ll love them too. They all have strengths and weaknesses, let’s face it you won’t get Photoshop or Illustrator for $4.99 but what you will get are some cool apps for doing great stuff on your iPad.

Here is my list, not in any real order just 7 killer apps for Designers, artists and anyone who wants to be creative on their iPad.

omnisketch heart 7 best draw, sketch and paint iPad apps for artists and designers

OmniSketch $0.99

This, hands down is my favorite app. It has 48 brushes – you get 24 and can buy 24 more. I has NO layers which is a downside and, while you can set the background color you can’t find white easily so you can’t set it to blue then go back to white easily. I know the developer realizes this is a problem so I’m hoping we’ll get a fix soon. I use this for drawing and for painting Seurat style images. I love its geometric and procedural brushes. It is a wonderful app and for 99cents it really rocks – it is way more deserving of attention than its current rating would suggest.

artstudio 7 best draw, sketch and paint iPad apps for artists and designers

ArtStudio $2.99

This is a painting program but with so much more. I use it a lot to assemble images because it has layers and blend modes. It also has sophisticated selection tools so it is so much more than a painting program, in fact I treat it as a lightweight Photoshop wannabe app because it really has some very advanced tools for working with photos and for creating digital art. It is totally smart so it’s a must have app in my book.

inkpad 7 best draw, sketch and paint iPad apps for artists and designers

InkPad $7.99

This is a vector drawing application and it is great even though it is at the pricier end of the scale. The benefit of vectors is that, although they are harder to create they can be sized very large indeed without being pixelated. This app has moveable toolbars, some sophisticated drawing tools and layers. If you’re a lover of illustrator then think of this as a cutdown version of Illustrator for the iPad. It is fun and full of tools you will love.

sketchclub 7 best draw, sketch and paint iPad apps for artists and designers

Sketch Club $1.99

Don’t let the funky icon of this app put you off it is a super cool app and one of my go to apps. It has layers and a huge array of blend modes. You can merge layers too so it’s as good for drawing as it is for photo manipulation and art. It has some procedural paint brushes as well as a cool text brush. It’s an app that I’m sure you will keep coming back to and it’s extremely good value.

paintbook 7 best draw, sketch and paint iPad apps for artists and designers

Paintbook 0.99 cents

Warning! this is a fantastic app but you will have to spend a little time learning how to use it. There is some good program help and some great videos – do yourself a favor and watch them! If you don’t – you won’t know a fraction of what this great app can do and you’ll be missing out on so much. I love it’s layers and the ability to add an image as either a layer or as a shape on a layer. This app is one of the most powerful you will own – just spend a little time learning how to use it and you’ll be glad you did.

sketchBook pro 7 best draw, sketch and paint iPad apps for artists and designers

Sketchbook Pro $4.99

Do yourself a favor and shell out for the pro version of this app to get the extra layers – the lite version is good but this one is a must  have. The app is from Autodesk and it’s great. East to use and very powerful. It has heaps of brushes from brushes that paint to ones that smudge and ones that paint halftones and splats and flowers. You can customize the toolbar so it shows the tools you use most often – I totally love this app and come back to it time and time again.

artrage2 7 best draw, sketch and paint iPad apps for artists and designers

ArtRage $6.99

From the folks who made the PC app this is ArtRage for the iPad. It paints and it paints with everything from water color style to thick acrylics you slap around with a palette knife. It has layers too and blend modes and you can even have a reference image which gets pinned to the screen so you can see it to paint from it or you can place it over the canvas so it’s always there. You can use it to paint an original work of art or paint a photo using the smudge brush to turn photo pixels into paint – it is way too much fun and, for the price a “must have” app.




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Friday, November 4th, 2011

Cityscape from OmniSketch into Dynamic Light app

cityscape dynamic light orton 2 Cityscape from OmniSketch into Dynamic Light app

I’ve been humming and haa-ing lately about an app called Dynamic Light. It is only 99 cents so it’s not going to break the bank but it seemed more photographic than artistic and I’m going the art direction right now so I wasn’t sure it had anything I wanted.

How wrong can you be? Apparently quite a bit wrong. This is a really nice app and it has an effect I really like – this Orton one. It is an app designed for the iPhone not so much the iPad so the interface is tiny phone size but that complaint aside it does a wonderful version of the Orton Effect as you can see above.

Then I took the resulting image, clicked Save and chose to Save the Result Image then I applied the Mysterious Light effect so I had two effects on the one image. Totally wonderful. I love the OmniSketch starter image and this app lets me add some simple colour and blur effects to the image.

cityscape dynamic light mysterious light 3 Cityscape from OmniSketch into Dynamic Light app


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