Yet another atmospheric piece that seems to carry total conviction I every line, really valuable and a pleasure to see these
It’s Day 196 of 365 Fashion Illustrations! “Grown Up, Dress Up” (2013)
As ever, just full of verve and life and a great sense of style, colour and line, rewards a closer look
This is called ‘Dresden Tea Party’.
I wrote another six app reviews and a conclusion but no one seems to be interested in them so its back to the pictures - which is more fun actually. This one was done with Pen and Ink and the next will be with Procreate I think.
When the iPad was launched, Brushes was chosen by Steve Jobs to be part of the party and part of the carefully selected slots for demoing the capabilities of the Apple’s new wonder-device.
Famously, Jorge Colombo used Brushes to create covers for the New Yorker magazine and the app was quick to win a place on the home screen of anyone aspiring to use the iPad for drawing and painting.
The first two versions of the app carried a hefty price tag of around five pounds but delivered a slick interface that was very usable and provided layers and a range of impressive brush types.
You can link Brushes to Dropbox and export the native .brushes files to Dropbox. Good for backing up even fi it no longer works with the Mac helper app
Even more impressive was the small and free companion app that could connect to the iPad over a WiFi network and download Brushes .actions files. These could then be translated into large scale TIFF files or high quality .H.264 movies that showed the creation of the image, brushstroke by brushstroke. If you have ever seen ‘Le mystère Picasso’ or remember Tony Hart on ‘Vision On’, then you could recreate the atmosphere of La Californie or Children’s hour from the comfort of your Mac.
Those were the glory days of 2010, now let’s see where Brushes has gone from there. Sadly, development of this app seems to have been sporadic and haphazard at the best and it has been eclipsed now.
The colour implementation is basic but good. you can drag around in the spectrum circle and adjust hue and saturation in the central triangle. you can also see the current colour, your new selection and drag swatches into the placeholders to use them again.
There was a version 3 of the app, it went free! This is the current version in the App Store, but this doesn’t work with the Mac companion software and lacks features that have become standard now on many other apps.
The interface on version 3 was also less successful than the previous version. If you have a version 2 of Brushes hang on to it, as it can’t be downloaded again, the Mac companion can still be found on the internet but it is not sure how much longer it will run with new versions of OS X. Similarly, version 2 of Brushes runs on iOS 6 but may not work with iOS 7.
You get plenty of layers and can change the order and blending mode of each of them. You can also merge down the number of layers when you need to make like more simple
So what then is Brushes? It is somewhat unstable app that is prone to some crashing under iOS 6 but one which offers a good all round, basic feature set. Individual brushes can be customised and layers can be added, moved and deleted or have blending modes changed. For basic painting, this free app can be downloaded and can have its features extended with an inexpensive in app purchase.
The brush options no longer seem as enchanting as they once did and although they can be customised with a lot of settings to fiddle around in, the process seems long winded and too tucked away to achieve a lot whilst actually working on something. You would really have to know how you were going to set your brushes up before hand and then work with the app form there.
A simple app that needs more development to catch up with the best but a good choice for a free trial and inexpensive upgrade if you want to get involved with it as a tool but, for not much more you could pick a much better option that you could stay with for the foreseeable future. Why learn something and get to know so that you can discard it and move on?
Price/ in app purchase
Free with £1.50 in app purchase adding layers and blending modes
Pinch to zoom
Can select colour on canvas. Can add colours to favourites and uses standard colour wheel.
Fill layer/ canvas
Yes with in app purchase
Layer blending modes
Yes with in app purchase
Move full layer
Straight lines/ Shapes
No, canvas can be moved at repositioned
Yes to photos, as JPG, PNG or to Facebook and Twitter
Change DPI/ format
Mac/ PC app
No longer and development is almost non existent.
Facebook and Twitter
Unique selling point
The old companion app with its movie and high resolution options are gone. No more high resolution TIFFs, no more Tony Hart.
Rating out of 5
I am halfway through another image (using Pen and Ink app) and thought I would post this over the next few days by way of er, intermission.
I am going to post up a review of each of the apps and some screen shots to illustrate what I mean for each point I make and then go to the final shoot out between the best two apps.
There are a range of apps in my reviews but this remains only a small sub set of what you can find in the App Store and I am aware that any conclusions I come to are very much personal judgements of taste rather than the assertion of truths carved in stone.
With all that in mind and given that I am on holiday and using an Internet cafe for a connection, what will follow are merely my ad hoc opinions…
A new way of computing
Its hard to believe that Apple’s iPad has only been with us since 2010. Although it seems ubiquitous now, it is not universally loved and is still subject of sharply opposing views, a quick glance at the web confirms how its role and capabilities are hotly contested.
On one side, Microsoft have bet against it heavily and desperately as ‘the post PC device’ running a series of adverts suggesting that the iPad is very limited in comparison to their vision of a desktop/ touch mix. No surprises there then. On the other, writers have been as quick to step forward and announce that they have written books in large part or entirely with free or cheap software on the iPad.
The iPad as content creator
Many office workers and commuters use them every day for email, word processing, spreadsheets and presentation creation but what of the more creative end? Is there a place for the iPad in the artist or illustrator’s workflow?
The iPad as creative creator
The first thought of many creative workers on seeing the iPad was that it would be a useful tool to show clients a portfolio of images, layouts and design work, particularly so when the Retina screen came along with the iPad 3. Shortly after that initial reaction, many more took a closer look to see whether it would serve as a drawing tool. The larger screen of the iPad was a significant step on from the iPhone or iPod Touch and offered some real creative breathing space.
The potential for visual content creation has been recognised by Wacom, who make traditional drawing tablets and touch screen tablets that attach to a computer and who are now rumoured to be making a rival to the iPad aimed squarely at artists and designers featuring their industry standard pressure sensitivity software, but at present, that is only a rumour and as such no software exists to service any such potential device.
So what then of the very real iPad and the software that can be downloaded from the iOS app store? Which is the best option in what appears to be a crowded field and which one should you invest your time and money?
Positioning The iPad
To ask which app, begs another question: what do you want to do? To answer this, there is software that can be used for the sketcher or doodler who wants to keep a private sketchbook or pass a few hours enjoying themselves for private pleasure only, and then there is software which sees the iPad as part of the creative worker’s workflow. This software seeks to combine the iPad with companion desktop software and to integrate both into a workflow.
In the case of the latter, most artists and designers will need to translate what they do on a 9.7 inch screen in RGB into large format work that can be printed out in CMYK. A brush stroke that looks effective on the iPad has to be seamless and convincing across the magazine page or the large format, high resolution image.
What the iPad offers
For anyone who has ever used del materials, the iPad’s promise of unlimited art materials, immediate drying times and easy and multiple undos bring the advantages of the computer to a new level of portability and immediacy combined with the directness of drawing on a screen at any angle and seeing what you draw come to life beneath the (big and rounded) point of your stylus or brush.
With some third party pens and brushes, some of the software under review here will also offer pressure sensitivity and faithful replication of real world media like water colour, oil paint and airbrushes without any of the mess, drying time or unforgiving no mistakes of blots and drips.
To say that most apps in the iOS store can offer all of this and do so, for a couple of pounds, shows that any outstanding software needs to focus hard on what the iPad has to offer then and strike a balance between the competing demands of simplicity and immediacy with a complete feature set.
In between the clock and the bed
Made with Procreate. This is right up there as far as I am concerned (the app not the picture). I have been doing a survey of various iPad drawing and painting app’s and it has been a revelation to me. I have one last one to do then all can be revealed - although I think I may have just given the game away. Let’s just say, there are three apps that are clearly better than all the others I have tried and they include Procreate, Pen and Ink and Inspire Pro. Each takes a very different approach and will sort some but not others, drawing and painting is after all, a very personal process. Anyway more soon..
This is called ‘listen to this’
I bloody hate it when this happens. I just wrote a load of stuff and posted this and nothing happened. It just disappeared. Now I have to write some of it again:
This is my first go with an app called ‘Inspire Pro’. I am currently trying out several apps for a review/ comparison.
This one is unusual in that it doesn’t use layers and has 64 bit brushstrokes. It means that it’s fast when you draw and paint, even with a weird brush. It’s like painting wet oil paint into we oil paint. Used to call that ‘wet on wet’ a few years ago.
When I finish the writing, I am going to post it all up here - like it or not.
Rembrandt - a woman sleeping
I think it’s his second wife/ mistress Hendricke but what it means here is that I have been mugged by the day job again and haven’t had time to finish a picture.
I am halfway through a picture at the moment and hope to get some more time on it tomorrow.
I am trying out the Sktechbook Pro app and will let you know what I think of it - it’s still too early to say right now but it’s interesting to have an iCloud element, which means that you can move your pictures to the Mac and finish on the desktop companion app.
Not being confined to RGB and the size of the iPad screen is something that I have wanted from other apps like Pen and Ink and in my mind I am comparing Sketchbook Pro to that app.. Detailed comparison to follow and before that, another picture but not now, not tonight…