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apps Digital Lifestyles Gadgets iOS SDK iPad Reviews Workflow

(Review) ASKetch for the iPad

OK, I’m still playing with my iPad and loving it, and I found another software App that is a lot of fun. ASKetch by Andrew Kern is supposed to work with finger motions and strokes alone, and not be used with a stylus or pen tool.

I’ll tell you what it is supposed to do (and it does it very well). Let’s look at ASKetch as Mr. Kern meant it to be.

First, I’ll quote:

ASKetch is a simple black & white procedural sketching program for drawing with your fingers. It is designed from the ground up to take advantage of the multi-touch interface of the iPad and the iPhone, allowing you to forget about the tools and concentrate on your art. It stays out of your way so you can simply draw. It is perfect for both beginners and advanced artists; from figure drawing to cartoons to abstract masterpieces; easy to pick up and hard to put down.

Absolutely true.

Get on your iPad and run to the App store and read all about it, bearing in mind that it is NOT optimized for a stylus,, but sometimes I use one anyway when I want a very thin line and less shading. You have to use a stylus that is optimized for the iPad. Wacom makes one, and so does several other companies.  They’re priced from $13 to $30 on Amazon. The Wacom one is the most expensive of the choices at $30; but so far all that I have tried have worked properly.

But your finger does it as well. The controls are brought up by a two finger tap on the blank page of the app. The first line below is the normal “drawing page” which has five squares visible, and the drawing line (extreme left) active. The second line below is when the eraser is active.

Beginning with the pen tools facing to the left you will get a hard line; if you stroke across the pen tool to the left you will switch from a hard line to a soft, furry tone and the pen will face to the right as it appears in the second line of tools.. The rest of both lines of tools are pretty self-explanatory. There are some more subtitles so read all the instructions and see the demo video. But below is the short form.

Now, let’s draw a little bit. I’m using it for gesture drawing which is a kind of rapid sketching where the artist is supposed to capture the “feel” and proportions of a model or figure and do it in less than 15 seconds. Here’s some examples. Some of these are drawn with just a finger tip, and some are done with a stylus even though Mr. Kern wants you to work just with finger tips‚Äîand yes, you do get better tonality when you use only your finger.

Sketching with Fingers vs. Stylus

I said I wasn’t going to tell you, but here I am doing it. The drawing on the left was done strictly with the fingertip, and the drawing on the right was done with a Wacom Bamboo Stylus..

Here’s another drawing done with fingertips…

…particularly rolling the finger in the hair areas.

Now here’s one more drawing…

…remember each drawing is saved automatically into the total set of drawings each time you go to the saved area (the two mountains square) and select a new blank page. This drawing was done with my fingertip in less than 15 seconds. Its intent is to capture the essence and proportions of the figure.

Remember, the square that looks like two mountains hides the strip of saved images and gives you access to a new blank page each time you go to it. Once you have images saved into the sketchbook, all you have to do is hold a finger down on an image for a few seconds and this window will appear.

Saving the image selected into the photo album allows it to be reselected and emailed where-ever you want to send it.

Here’s three more sketches that Mr. Kern supplied me that I think are really worth showing that give you a look at what the App can do in the way of toning.

 

Read all the instructions to get all the strengths of the App under control because I have only touched on the surface of its possibilities; but I’m having so much fun I had to share the joy, and hope you’ll take a look at the app. Check ASKetch out on the App store for the iPad.

 

ASKetch by Andrew Kern

This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad

$1.99

Website & Support: http://akernsoft.com/ASKetch/index.php

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Workflow

Insanely Great: Steve Jobs

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“Even the gorgeous royal chariots wear out;
and indeed this body too wears out.
But the teaching of goodness does not age;
and so Goodness makes that known to the good ones.”

Categories
apps Gadgets iPad Workflow

(Review) Genius Scan: A Scanner App for iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch

OK, I admit from the start that I am in love with my iPad2; but it is the availability of Apps for it that make it such a part of my current life.  I just encountered a new App that I think is going to be extremely useful in the future.  It’s an App called Genius Scan from Grizzly Labs that is intended for use on the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch.

In short, it uses the back facing camera of the iPad (or iPhone or iPod Touch) to take an image that can be corrected and then mailed—that’s in the free version. In the paid (Genius Scan+ version @ $2.99) you can add mailing to Dropbox, Google Docs, and Evernote. Well, you can switch to the front camera too if you want to send a picture of yourself, but it is the use of the rear camera that seems to me to make it so useful.

Take a picture with the camera button which appears once the App is selected, and the resulting picture can then be squared up and enhanced as color or black and white, and saved to a camera roll spot inside the iPad or mailed as a Pdf. Or .jpg.

Since I am always interested in the educational uses that my students might use, I am fascinated by the possibility of the student taking a picture of the whiteboards that are used in classrooms and saving the pictures or sending them as Pdf’s or .jpgs by mail so that they could be studied later.

Some fifty years ago I had a math class in which the professor wrote equations with his right hand and erased behind himself with his left hand.  The frustration that I felt as I tried to follow and master the equations could have been avoided if I could have taken pictures as he wrote.  I can see the usage for this App in student hands today. And more…recipes can be copied; menus, receipts, and sharing class notes—all of these are possible and easily done.

There’s much more that can or could be said, but my own recommendation is for you to check out Genius Scan (and Genius Scan+) at Apple’s App store and see if a version of the App won’t be of use to you. Grizzly Labs has grabbed my attention with this App.

 

Get it:

Genius Scan (free version) at the AppStore

 Genius Scan+ differs from Genius Scan with no ads and upload to Dropbox, Evernote and Google Docs. 

Genius Scan Website 

Categories
iPad Photoshop

Review: Dr. Roach’s Photoshop Tutorial App for the Ipad

Dr. Michael Roach’s newest version of Photoshop tutorial is a hit. Roach takes aim at photographers and artists who are ready to take a systematic, measured approach to learning arguably one of the most difficult photo editing programs to master. With this tutorial open on an iPad in view, a user can go through and unlock many of Photoshop’s mysteries.

Systematic is a word that best describes Roach. During his tenure of 30+ years teaching photography at an East Texas university, Roach devised a systematic methodology of instruction that turned thousands of students into photographers. Roach adopted Photoshop at version 3.0 and has taught every version since.

Have you ever bothered to look at every menu item and every tool? I know I haven’t. I’ve been using Photoshop as long as Roach has taught it, and in the first 30 pages of the tutorial I learned several things I had not known. I learned more about functionality I had never used in the next 150 pages.

The illustrations are excellent, set up in a cartoon/graphic novel approach, with just the right amount of detail on each topic. Some items are fully explained, and some are noted as being beyond the scope of the beginning tutorial… watch for a more advanced tutorial in the future, I suspect.

Because a user can set their pace, and learn in a systematic approach, I can highly recommend this tutorial. If you have used Photoshop some and have upgraded to version CS5, there are new tools and techniques covered in the tutorial that will give you a jump-start on this version. If you have never used Photoshop and are just realizing what you can do with it, this is definitely for you.

As a digital photographer, I use Adobe Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop daily. Lightroom to me is the plate, and Photoshop is the gourmet entrée that you are going to ravenously consume. The bonus is that after consumption, you won’t feel bloated, but rather confident in your new familiarity with Photoshop CS5.

Get the App here.

 

Categories
iPad Photoshop Software

For The iPad- Adobe Photoshop CS5: Tutorial for Beginners Available in the Apple Store

If you have noticed my free version of Adobe Photoshop CS4 Tutorial which has been available here for download at DigitalAppleJuice.com, I have to tell you that Apple has just accepted my Adobe Photoshop CS5—A Tutorial for Beginners as an App in the iPad section of the Apple App Store.Searching by my name from your iPad is the fastest way to find it, and it is available for $3.99 until the first week in October (October 9, to be exact) as a “Back to School Special.” After that it returns to its $9.99 pricing.I designed the CS5 version to run only on an iPad because I wanted it to “lie flat” beside the computer and not be like the typical book that is continually trying to close. One of my pet peeves when I am working from or reviewing a book about photography or Photoshop is that I usually have to put a heavy weight on each side of the pages in order to keep the book in a readable position. An iPad seems to me to be the ideal companion that will behave itself and be available to switch forward and backward between pages so that the reader can go over a technique in a step by step manner and can refer back easily when needed.

Numerous comments from previous students convinced me that if a photographer has already invested in their computer and a legal copy of Photoshop© that the odds are high that they also have access to an iPad, and the ease of use of an iPad as a resource makes it an outstanding learning tool. So I was convinced to make the current version of my workshop lessons available only for the iPad.

If you want to know how Photoshop CS5 works, I think you will find this a valuable tool to take you step by step, and menu by menu, through the set up and utilization of the program. I’ve tried to show the reader how the same problem can often be solved with different tools, and which tool to use is often a matter of choice or preferred workflow.

Considering how many people have taken advantage of the free CS4 download I am hopeful that my graphic novel approach (done in Comic Life by Plasq) will appeal visually to both the new and experienced user of Adobe’s incredible Photoshop CS5 .

Categories
Books Digital Lifestyles Photography Reviews

Review: Marketing Fine Art Photography By Alain Briot

Rocky Nook Press Press sent me a review copy of Alain Briot’s new book, Marketing Fine Art Photography, and I was delighted for two reasons. First, Rocky Nook’s volumes are beautifully bound and printed on acid-free paper and are a delight to hold and work from because they stay flat and open as you read or work from them. The second reason is that Alain Briot is a learned and articulate photographer and writer who shares his expertise in a relaxed and candid manner as though his reader is a fast friend with whom he is willing to share his most cherished knowledge. The book itself will stay bright and crisp on my bookshelf for years, and the information gives me a good look at Briot’s thinking, experience, and expertise.

Throughout the book Briot shows his own work on various pages and certainly establishes himself as a prolific and gifted photographer as well as a successful salesman. Any regular visitor to Luminous Landscape.com will be familiar with Alain Briot’s photographs and writings where he has produced a copious amount of material regarding aesthetics and design. His other volumes from Rocky Nook include Mastering Photographic Composition, Creativity, and Personal Style, and Mastering Landscape Photography.

Briot begins this book with the premise that it takes marketing to sell even the finest photograph. He feels that, “A poor photograph well-marketed will outsell a great photograph poorly marketed.”

He begins, “most photographers who sell their work spend far too much time and money on equipment and far too little on marketing.” Briot begins by explaining what marketing is in the Fine Arts world, the goal of marketing, and why marketing is indispensible. He asks the photographers to define themselves and feels that photography must be a full time career in order for the photographer to succeed.

In order to sell fine art photography it is necessary to define what is Fine Art photography. What makes it art and not just a photograph? It is the skill (technique) and insight (creative vision) that makes the difference in photographs and photographers. It is the ability of the photographer to find and incorporate a metaphor in the image that can be seen, felt, or understood by the viewer so that a linkage between the photograph and the viewer (purchaser) can be established.

For the beginning Fine Arts photographer, Briot discusses the problems of wholesale, consignment, or retail sales, and the decision of whether to go for quantity or quality of work. Where to find a marketplace? Where Fine Art Prints can be sold and the potential profit margins of each are discussed. In Part Three, Briot approaches the fundamentals and principles of successful marketing and introduces us to the seven fundamentals of successful businesses, and emphasizes how to sell your work at Art Shows and emphasizes how credit card and PayPal sales reach the customer and actually make impulse sales (on the part of the customer) so much easier.

Visual examples of show booth setups and displays greatly enhance Briot’s marketing advice and make it evident that he practices what he advocates. His advice to avoid the “fly trap” booth is telling and convincing as he describes the psychology of the potential client. Placement of spare inventory, desk for receipts, and the way to greet every visitor are all bits of extremely helpful information that bears careful rereading. The ability to pack and ship photographs?and the willingness to do so?are also strong selling points as so many potential clients are on vacation and are not prepared to carry the photograph (framed or rolled) away with them. Having a sheet with fixed shipping costs assure the client that you are not “winging it” on shipping and handling. All of these elements contribute to the professional appearance of the booth and the photographer.

After all the discussion about how to produce work, how to display and present it, and how to package and ship it, Briot takes 38 pages to discuss the combination of skills that it takes to make a Fine Arts photographer. Technical, artistic, marketing, and personal skills are discussed and expounded upon in such a manner that any reader should be able to follow the structure with which Briot established himself to rise from a non-native speaker newly come to the United States into a successful businessman and photographer.

As a teacher and Fine Arts photographer myself, I find that Briot has articulated and demonstrated so many of the facts that face the Fine Arts photographer that I truly wish that I could have read his book fifty years ago when I first moved into the teaching and Fine Arts fields and choose teaching rather than attempting to be a full-time Fine Arts Photographer. So much of my own experiences mirror or verify his own that I cannot help but recommend, strongly recommend, this book to any photographer who contemplates attempting to make a living in the Fine Arts photography field.

I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Alian Briot’s Marketing Fine Art Photography, Rocky Nook Press, ISBN-13: 978-1-933952-55-0. US $44.95 CAN $51.95, and if you have not looked at his other two excellent volumes, I recommend them as well. You might as well have the entire experience.

 

Categories
Photography Photoshop Software Workflow

Photoshop CS4 for Beginners: General Retouching Techniques using Brushes, Red Eye, Layer Masks

The primary focus for this section is general retouching of images.

Cloning vs. Healing Brush: the very basic difference is that cloning creates an edge to the cloned area which is visible while the healing brush depends on an alogorithm that tries to blend the corrected area.

The rest of this section deals with red eye correction and then, layer masks.

Adobe Photoshop CS4: An Introduction by Dr. Michael N. Roach is now for sale as a PDF

Price: $4.99

Sample Pages:

There are still a lot of people using Photoshop CS4 even though Photoshop CS5, and now Photoshop CS5.5, has been out for some time. We were contacted by a few students who are still in need of this information so, in the spirit of sharing, this series of downloadable lecture notes for CS4 has been made available.Originally, these notes were part of the material given out with the demonstrations and lectures during Dr. Roach’s Photoshop workshops. Much of the basics remain unchanged between CS3 and CS5, though the tools may have moved around.

Some of The Topics Covered Include:

Ready to buy?

Buy Now

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Digital Lifestyles iPad Workflow

iPad2 Review: OK, I MUST BE A FANBOY

On March 11, the first day iPad 2’s were available for order, at 5 A.M. I got up to go to the bathroom (something common when you are 73 years old), and on a whim sat down at the computer and ordered an iPad. White, 64GB wifi only, with a spare power supply, a Camera Connection package, VGA and Digital AV Adapters, and a red leather cover. I had intended to make this order eventually, and the computer seemed to call to me as I returned from the bathroom. It was a good thing too, as within 24 hours the waiting time had switched from 3-5 days to 2-4 weeks.

My wife wanted white for the color and a red leather cover, and since she is to be the primary user, what she wants—she gets.

The accessories arrived two days before the iPad itself, but on the 25th of March the iPad duly arrived via FedEX, and within forty-five minutes I had loaded Keynote, Pages, the Kindle reader, Good Reader for PDF reading, and put Facebook and Google News Apps in the list of instantly available icons, and had the mail configured as well as going to the Kindle bookstore and choosing Lonely Planet’s travel guide for Iceland and adding two books that were already on my Kindle shelf on my MacBook Pro. How’s that for knowing right off what I wanted to do? All that in forty-five minutes.

Since my wife is traveling to Iceland this summer, our goal was to have an easier to use communication device so we can email one another back and forth easily without her having to carry her laptop. So I set up a unique Gmail account for use on the trip only and we won’t have to sort through spam and extraneous mail from others to get to the specific day to day communication.

My wife is a teacher, also, and her goal is to use Keynote and Pages which she uses regularly from her laptop in the classroom, and get her Art History and Art Appreciation slide lectures on an iPad and not have to carry her MacBook Pro to class with her along with the stack of books she usually has along for show and tell in the lectures and discussions. Anything to lighten the load is the goal.

Any reader who can suggest the easiest way to get large PDF files onto the iPad without trying to mail them please give me a hint. I’ve discovered that her lectures are too large to mail since they are loaded with images in the keynote presentations and exceede the 25 MB file size for my mail service. So what do you think are the easiest ways to move large PDF files? Googling how to on that gives some answers but they all seem relatively complex; can anyone suggest a simple method?

I’m still hunting and pecking on the keyboard with high speed single finger typing. I just can’t seem to get my fingers on the correct keys on the virtual keyboard. It looks like I will add a Mac Bluetooth keyboard as some reviewers have suggested. It can sit quietly on the desk until needed at home, and for travel the hunt and peck may be the answer unless my wife’s hands can do a better job with the virtual keyboard than mine do.

The red leather cover is a deep red and the leather is luxurious and feels very good to the hand. The magnets snap into place perfectly every time that the cover is removed and replaced.

My only previous experience with an iPad was about 10 minutes looking at pictures on a friend’s first generation iPad, and I was a bit hesitant as to how fast I would pick up the gestures and operations of the touch controls. I should not have worried. In 15 minutes with the manual in the bookmarks and I had it. The remaining thirty minutes and I had ordered and installed three apps, Kindle books, and configured security and mail. Leave this iPad alone for 15 minutes and it locks itself up for protection and requires a four digit unlock code. My wife, who is a quick learner, did it even quicker, I believe if I’d left her alone she could have done all I did setting up in less time than it took me.

I wont’t go over all the uses and potential uses of the iPad, I’ll simply say I’m hooked and I guess I qualify as a Fanboy and I’ll admit it. The iPad just works.

Categories
Photoshop Software Workflow

TabletDraw Update: Moosoftware.com has expired

UPDATE Monday 7:12 AM  CDT- Moosoftware.com is back.

I was working with TabletDraw by Moosoftware last night, and turned it off around 11:30pm. The next morning it kept crashing upon startup. It would open, hang, and then crash. It took me a while to figure it out, but Tabletdraw is set to automatically update by default and would go belly up as soon as it tried to reach the Moosoftware website. Evidently, sometime right around midnight the domain name expired.

The solution?
1. Temporarily disable your internet
2. Launch Tabletdraw
3. Turn off the auto-update.

But you might want to start saving your Tabletdraw docs to TIFF until they pop back up on the scene.

IN case you missed our review of TabletDraw:

“TABLETDRAW® a simple drawing program that uses the pressure sensitivity of the various Wacom tablets to allow you to draw freely. It’s a sketching and drawing program with the look of pencil, pen, or felt marker.”

http://digitalapplejuice.com/tablet-draw-by-moosoftware/

Categories
Photoshop Tutorials

Photoshop CS4 Retouching: Curves, Levels & Exposure.

In reality, most images can be fixed with curves, levels, and exposure, and perhaps sharpening. 90% of post-production image editing will use these tools. This section is devoted to revisiting the most fundamental of photoshop tools in depth.

Virtually every image benefits by some adjustment. Whether you decide to begin each adjustment with curves because i said it’s most often used for beginnings, or whether you decide to go with levels first will be something that will develop as a matter of taste.

Adobe Photoshop CS4: An Introduction by Dr. Michael N. Roach is now for sale as a PDF

Price: $4.99

Sample Pages:

There are still a lot of people using Photoshop CS4 even though Photoshop CS5, and now Photoshop CS5.5, has been out for some time. We were contacted by a few students who are still in need of this information so, in the spirit of sharing, this series of downloadable lecture notes for CS4 has been made available.Originally, these notes were part of the material given out with the demonstrations and lectures during Dr. Roach’s Photoshop workshops. Much of the basics remain unchanged between CS3 and CS5, though the tools may have moved around.

Some of The Topics Covered Include:

Ready to buy?

Buy Now

Categories
Digital Lifestyles Gadgets Reviews

I’m Loving My Magpul iPhone Field Case!

DigitalAppleJuice.com is a great place to talk about all things Apple. And, digital imaging. And how you create artwork in the digital age. And… well, you get the point. So I decided to devote a few paragraphs to a new product I found for the iPhone.

Photo by Britt Stokes

I recently ordered some items from a retailer in California. While on their website, a new item caught my eye – a Magpul brand case for my iPhone 3G (they also make a case for the iPhone 4). I was intrigued… Magpul is famous in the military community for making tough, reliable products. I decided to try one out.

I had been carrying my phone in a disappointing “carbon” case from the Apple store… two piece slip-over design to protect the back and front edges (around the glass) of the iPhone. This set me back $34.95. Within two weeks of getting it, the “chrome” topstrap was already broken. Your mileage may vary, but I was pretty disappointed.

So yesterday I got my package from the brown truck of happiness… and there was my new Magpul phone case. I immediately threw the old case in the trash, and slipped my phone it the new case. It fits perfectly. Really. No slop, no soft rubbery-stuff to start loosening up in a few days. The military-grade synthetic rubber cushions the phone. It has button covers for the volume control and top control switch (on-off). The camera lens has a nice little window, the headphone jack is easily accessed, and the ring/mute button is uncovered. The standard Apple charger I use at my bedside clicked right into place.

Photo by Britt Stokes

Today I realized that carrying the phone in my pocket is easier with this new case – the old case was very slick, and shifted around in my pocket constantly. Also, it was so slick on the sides that I dropped the phone a few times. The new Magpul case is tactile enough to be very easy to hold, and has a few strategically placed ridges on the sides and back to aid in grip.

The case colors available are black, flat dark earth, olive drab green, foliage, orange and pink. And now, for the very best part… the case is designed and manufactured in the USA, and suggested retail price is just $9.95.

All in all, I think I’m in love.

You can see more at www.magpul.com under Miscellaneous Accessories  or go directly to the product page. I bought mine at www.botachtactical.com, or find it at other merchants.

Categories
MacOsX

Tested.com previews Mac OS X Lion 10.7

I was about to write about zapping unwanted apps or publish another section of Roach’s Intro to Photoshop, but Matt Braga’s  review of the upcoming Lion made my tail wag. Considering I drag my feet when it comes to upgrading, it must be special, yes?

Just the visual presentation of information on the About This Mac page is enough to make any graphic designer happy, but don’t miss out on the new crash handling . Wow! It lets you keep working!


Read it all : The 10 Best Things About OS X Lion 10.7 Developer Preview

http://www.tested.com/news/the-10-best-things-about-os-x-lion-107-developer-preview/1919/