Tag Archives: App Store

I’m Artist of the Day at iPhoneArt.com!

2 May

What an honor! The good folks at iPhoneArt.com feature me on the home page today:

iPhoneArt.com rsmithing

My art over at iPhoneArt.com

By the nature of the site’s name, you can probably guess what the site is about, and this is the second time I’ve been featured there, the first being in early 2012. My style has evolved greatly since then, becoming more refined in photomontage, and it’s wonderful to be noticed, especially among the ranks of so many other talented artists. This really makes my day.

I’ve written about iPhoneArt.com before as an alternative to Instagram, and the site continuously impresses me with all the compelling creative work shown there. And I’m not just saying that because they featured me, either. Definitely check it out and be amazed by what can be created with just a phone, some apps and creativity.

Big thanks to iPhoneArt.com for the feature!

What do you think? Have you been featured at a website before? Are you into Instagram or mobile photography? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Dynamic Light App Review

13 Mar
Dynamic Light App

Dynamic Light App

The iPhone app Dynamic Light by Mediachance has become one of my favorite photo manipulation tools. I create many black & white montages, and Dynamic Light’s unique filters (especially “solarize,” “edgy,” and “re-exposure”) almost always yield interesting results — either for montage fodder or even standalone images. It saves at full resolution, is very fast, and improves with each update. It adds an element of randomness to the photo editing process that I enjoy, yet its effects are actually very sophisticated, particularly for producing distressed or distorted-yet-recognizable treatments. I recommend it for anyone looking for a simple, yet very unique bag of tricks to add to their photo manipulating repertoire, for less than the price of a soda ($.99). Here are some before and after examples of my favorite filters:

Dynamic Light Edgy Filter

Edgy

Dynamic Light Re-Exposure

Re-Exposure

Dynamic Light Solarize

Solarize

Video: Dynamic Light in Action

What do you think? Ever used Dynamic Light? What are some of your go-to photo manipulation or photo editing apps? Let us hear from you in the comments.

What Smartphone Apps Have Changed Your Life?

10 Jan

Has the way you live evovled by way of a smartphone app? What’s a non-standard add-on (besides maps, texting, etc.) that’s changed – hopefully for the better – the way you conduct daily life? Not necessarily saying they’re the very best, here are my immediate top three:

Instagram App1. Instagram

This app has literally changed the way I see the world and connected me with people from all over the globe through a very user-friendly interface, turning ordinary snapshots into art with the barest minimum of effort. I now see the world through “Instagram Eyes” and have gotten so much from what it offers Although the recent spam influx and terms of service update now have me exploring elsewhere, there’s no denying Instagram’s impact.

Dragon Dictation2. Dragon Dictation

This app listens to what you say and turns it into text. It’s like magic. It’s fast, intuitive, and lets you easily email, MMS, or copy and paste what you say. I’ve used it for years to handle texting and  composing blog posts, and it accurately gets the job done every single time. It’s been life-changing by by bringing my phone new functionality with incredible convenience and capability. Now that speech-to-text is built into the iPhone, I’ve been using Dragon less, but they were the ones to get it right first.

Pandora3. Pandora

This is the mobile version of the already robust website, but I mention it here because of how it’s impacted my enjoyment of music. Pandora is streaming radio where you create stations based on artists, songs or themes. It serves up related music, and gets better over time as you thumbs-up or thumbs-down what plays. I couldn’t begin tell you how much great music I’ve discovered this way. It’s a simple premise: “if you like this, then you might also like this” — and Pandora’s highly personalized  approach wins the day for me, even though I also enjoy similar services like 8Tracks. Even TheStreet.com says Pandora has “rendered terrestrial radio, on a grand scale, obsolete.” Consider how long radio has been in our lives as you consider that statement.

What do you think? What apps have made a difference in the way you do things? Let us hear from you in the comments.

iPhoneArt.com – the Next Level of Mobile Photo Sharing

5 Feb

As a fan and avid user of several photo sharing websites for years, I’ve been around the block when it comes to quality of work, features, and ease of use of these online communities, especially as of late with my interest in the area of mobile photography growing into a full-blown obsession (in a good way). Sites and apps I’m most familiar with are Instagram, Statigr.am, Flickr, DeviantArt, Fotki, and now I’m happy to add to that list with iPhoneArt.com.

I'm a Featured Artist of The Day at iPhoneArt.com

I’m a Featured Artist of The Day at iPhoneArt.com – A great site, and not just because they feature moi.

Full Disclosure: They Have Excellent Taste

It so happens that I have been a featured iPhoneArtist of the day on the site 🙂 which is a total honor for me, considering the quality and vastness of most iPA featured artists. I do this for my own enjoyment and expression, so that someone of some authority sees fit to recognize it as exemplary or interesting to others — well, that’s a huge compliment I’m very grateful for.

That said, I was a fan of the site well before being featured. The site recently released a companion app for the iPhone, which I find more enjoyable the more I use it. Here’s what I wrote to that effect in my second-ever app review:

Makes Instagram look like MySpace
Click for larger view - text is at leftDon’t get me wrong; I absolutely love IG (and loved MySpace back in the day), but I’m digging iPhoneArt as an alternative experience. There are no filters, so it’s up to you to create something artistic either with a solid photo or though editing via other apps. The “popular” page content here is considerably more art-based. And the interface is bare-bones, elegant, just enough. There’s also a fully functional website interface with organization through sets and such. Altogether, I see IPA as a relevant, enjoyable evolution in the mobile art sharing experience.

Is the app perfect? No. Is the site as feature-rich as it possibly could be? Of course not. But that’s to be expected with any new platform. The features and enhancements will come. But what about the art? Well, now… this is where iPhoneArt.com really shines. It lives up to the name wonderfully.

For one thing, it was designed by artists for artists, so there’s an inherent elegance to the interface, both on the site and the app. Also, you can only upload five photos per day. So they’d better be good. You won’t find the deluge of mediocre snapshots all over the place and highlighted for their popularity the way you might on, say, other sites. And the whole community there is indeed very creative. Just browse the site and you’ll see.

Seriously, don’t just take my word for it. Have a look at these screenshots from the app and then go download it and visit the site for yourself.

iPhoneArt.com app available for free at iTunes

Galleries, faves, & searches — oh, my! Search in iTunes for “ipa: the mobile art network” to download for iPhone.

Again, I’ll state: I still love Instagram. I’ll still use and endorse it for general sharing and discovery. And I’ll still use Flickr for mass-scale storage and organization of the bulk of my images. And along with those sites, I now I have a home for the arty shots I’m most happy with, and a growing community of like-minded folk to discover and share with.

My sincerest thanks to the folks at iPhoneArt.com for featuring me, and for developing such an enjoyable site and app. I am truly honored.

What do you think? Do you have a preferred photo sharing platform? Do you use different photo sharing sites differently? Is this just a fad, or is this truly opening up a creative world to more people with the rise of smart phones and apps? Let us hear from you in the comments!

PhotoForge2: My First App Review

8 Nov

I’ve used plenty of iPhone apps, reviewing none. PhotoForge2 changes this. For anyone familiar with Photoshop, here’s your app. It’s as good as Photoshop for photo manipulation, and as a graphic designer of 15 years, I would know. It’s nearly all here: layers, masks, blending modes, undo, curves, HSL, freaking Unsharp Mask!?!? Yep, that, too.

Photoforge2 Screen Shot

Screen capture of PhotoForge 2 (credit: GhostBird): Layers, and masks, and tools... oh my!

If you’re a Photoshop user, you already know how to use PhotoForge2. It accomplishes in minutes with your thumb and iDevice what would otherwise require $1000+ in computer & software investment, certainly well enough for things like Instagram, and possibly even commercial work. It’s fast, stable, intuitive, and a steal at anything less than a full-on editing setup. As of this writing it’s on sale for 60% off and will set you back a whopping $1.99. That’s less than a beer.

Do note that PhotoForge2 is more for adjustments rather than painting or illustrating, (emphasis is on filters vs.  pen or brush drawing, for example), but so many of the built-in goods like vignette and frame effects should more than satisfy for basic edits, and set you up nicely for some pro-level results, even from a point-and-shoot camera.

You should also be aware that PhotoForge2 does not offer tools like clone or magic wand (hint-hint… next version maybe?), but you will still be able to execute your vision with what’s available fairly easily. I’ll often do workarounds that get me by, or use it in combination with other apps. The omission of some things like a free rotate or straightening seem glaringly odd, but these are very minor quibbles with an app of this one’s obvious prowess. (UPDATE, MARCH 2012: And, now it has this tool. Proof that Ghostbird Software is awesome)

I gave it 5 stars, but edited some out!

My PhotoForge work on app review. Click for full size.

Other apps specialize in color isolation and light effects, which is fine if that’s all you’ll ever want, but PhotoForge2 is The Mother Lode. Wired magazine says you’ll get $2 worth of entertainment out of it in the first ten minutes. I say two minutes. And they aren’t paying me to say that.

Funny, I remember with the iPad’s debut, all the sudden talk of tablets taking over for PCs. I thought, sure, but not for serious things like image editing. Um… yeah.

If you find this useful, share it on Twitter — thanks!

What’s your favorite photo editing app and why? Do you already use PhotoForge2? What’s your experience been, and what features would you like to see in the next version? Let us hear from you in the comments!

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