Tag Archives: apps

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.

Evernote, Three Months In

19 Apr

At the beginning of this year I made it a point to get in the habit of using Evernote. I’ve kept reading its praises and since I’m in the world of collecting ideas for future blog posts, it made enough sense to give it a try.

evernote

I should say that I’ve previously relied on emailing myself ideas, links, images and other content, filing them away under “read later” or “ideas” in Gmail. This has kinda worked, but I don’t really find myself going through that content often. The idea of a standalone app dedicated to capturing ideas and organizing them at least makes sense to me for that reason. I get the concept, but it’s still taking work to make myself use the program.

Part of the adoption curve for me is having content actually in Evernote. Without many notes to search, there’s not much to draw from, so I can see how some users may get turned off if, say, within a week or two they aren’t reaping tremendous benefit.

But so far for me, it’s been at least good for peace of mind, knowing that all the stuff I’d otherwise be emailing myself is now tagged and easily referenced. In fact, it was the process of going through my notes in Evernote that led to this blog post, so hey… there’s something! I’m interested enough to keep using it, and I’m surely only scratching the surface, given the capabilities some of its power users explore. There will be more to come on this for sure.

What do you think? Do you use Evernote or a similar service? What’s your process for capturing ideas, to-dos or things go investigate later? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Solarized Tree – Rainy Day Inspiration and Flickr Feature

13 Jan

Solarized Tree, by rsmithing

One good thing about rainy afternoons is how the ordinary can take on more beauty. Here’s a snapshot of a tree I noticed in the post-rain haze of my neighborhood. It takes on new depth thanks to the Dynamic Light app’s “solarize” function and some finishing touches with the TtV Photo Studio app.

Flickr Explore PageUpdate: We Made Flickr’s Explore Page!

About 24 hours after this post, I visit the source image at Flickr to respond to any comments, and whaddya know: it’s featured on Flickr’s Explore: Recent Photos gallery!

Flickr’s “Explore” galleries are curated collections of 500 select photos each day. Considering the site gets photos uploaded by the thousands every minute, that’s very flattering. Other categories include “The Commons,” and “Galleries” – and all are fun ways to discover interesting new art and artists.

What an honor – thanks, Flickr!

What do you think? Have you ever been inspired to turn the ordinary into art by way of a rainy day? What are your “go-to” apps for photo editing? 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.

Instagram Spam Protest: “Go Private Day” December 4, 2012

4 Dec

Instagram spam has been exploding, with no stop in sight. Formerly attractive hashtag photo groups are now becoming polluted with ads for more followers and get-rich-quick schemes: Instagram Spam

Hashtag: #OneDayWithoutSpam

Users have become increasingly annoyed at the situation, organizing an informal “instaprotest” by setting their profiles to private on December 4 and using the hashtag “#OneDayWithoutSpam” in related posts.

Instagram Spam

What do you think? Will a protest make a difference? Have you noticed more spam on Instagram? Could this affect Facebook’s stock price? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Up With The Sun: a MobileArtistry Feature

4 Sep

The Instagram-based group, MobileArtistry, includes me in their gallery today as a featured artist. I created this montage as an example of my style for the feature and did the following writeup on my technique. My huge thanks to them for the highlight.

Up With The Sun - click to see more like this at Pinterest

Up With The Sun – click to see more like this at Pinterest

Ever since seeing a book of Jerry Uelsmann’s photomontages in college, I’ve been fascinated with the art form and have since become motivated to become a professional graphic artist, designing for over 16 years now. Manipulating reality for artistic effect in Photoshop has always been my favorite part of designing, so when I discovered iPhoneography, and especially the app Photoforge2, which is very similar to Photoshop, I was hooked. It was seeing the evocative iPhoneography of Sion Fullana that inspired me to give it a go, and Sion was even good enough to share his guidance with me on what apps to get started with.

Repost of Up With The Sun at MobileArtistry

Repost of “Up With The Sun” at MobileArtistry

How The Magic Happens

I basically take photos all the time with my iPhone 4 of whatever I find interesting. When the urge to create strikes, I’ll mix ’em up and see what happens. It’s really as simple as that. Sometimes I know exactly where I’m headed, and other times I’m just along for the ride, letting magic from the universe do the driving.

For this montage, I combined two photos I took on a Saturday in late summer: one of a wig mannequin at a beauty supply shop, and another of a rising cloud at a winery out in the country. Both were shot originally in with Hipstamatic, using the John S. lens. Wig girl was shot with Rock BW-11 film, and the cloud was shot with Blanko film. You can see the originals at my Flickr stream.

Originals for this montage - click to view at Flickr

Originals for this montage – click to view at Flickr

I brought wig girl into Dynamic Light and gave her the Solarize treatment. I also used Noir to get the right mix of monochrome highlights in the cloud scene. Next, I brought both images together in Photoforge2, each on its own layer. I set wig girl’s blending mode to Overlay, then selectively hid and revealed bits of each layer via masking. Finally, I did some minor cloning cleanup in Filterstorm, then added the copyright & signature with Phonto. I named this after a U2 song lyric in “Gone,” an expansive rising track that seemed appropriate for this composition.

What’s amazing to me is how, as I’ve become adept with a few apps, I can pull techniques from each of them almost like selecting colors on a palette. It’s like having a box of tools to achieve an artistic vision… that fits in your pocket and makes phone calls, too.

Thanks very much to MobileArtistry for featuring me – it’s an honor to be included with such beautiful, creative art. Definitely check out their great gallery for consistently innovative creations.

Image

Single Image Sundays: The Emerging Dog (Detail)

25 Mar

20120325-222941.jpg

So I’ve figured out a series of app edits that gives this rich, dimensional effect to object photos. Here’s a detail of one from this weekend that I’ll be doing a step-by-step of in the near future, along with more of the “Emerging” series.

A Rosy Photo Edit Tutorial

14 Feb

A shoutout to magicunicorn for recognizing the musical reference here on Instagram. You rock!

Edit of a photo in honor of Valentine's Day. See below for Behind The Music.

My awesome wife got some of these for Valentine’s Day (from me), and so I had to get a photo and have some metaphoric fun with the result. Below is an approximate rundown of how this came to be, and some classic V-Day music for your listening pleasure. Whether you have a Valentine or not, get out there and share the love in whatever way you know how. Apps used: PhotoForge2, LumiereDynamic Light.

The original photo

After cropping and creating a heart in the center using PhotoForge2, I added texture and edginess in Lumiere.

A quick black & white solarization with Dynamic Light, then back to PhotoForge2 along with the previous file for layering.

Boosted saturation for more red, layered previous two versions and masked selectively to highlight certain bits in PhotoForge2.

Seriously, there was a ridiculous amount of masking involved. Took a while here.

And finally, the completed image. A metaphor for what's at the heart of all we go through in love. Ultimately, the reward is there.

And now, ladies and gentlemen…

The Replacements – Valentine

 

Well you wish upon a star that turns into a plane.
And I guess that’s right on par.
Who’s left to blame?

If you were a pill,
I’d take a handful at my will.
And I’d knock you back with something sweet and strong.
Plenty of times you wake up in February make-up;
Like the moon and the morning star you’re gone.

(chorus:)

Tonight makes love to all your kind.
Tomorrow’s makin’ Valentines.

Hey you pop up in this old place,
So sick and so refined (divine?).
Are you strung out on some face?
Well I know it ain’t mine.

If you were a pill, I’d take a handful at my will,
And I’d knock you back with something sweet and strong.
Trouble keeping your head up when you’re hungry and you’re fed up,
Like a moon and a lone star you’re gone.

(chorus)

If you were a pill, I’d take a handful at my will,
And I’d knock you back with something sweet as wine.
Yesterday was theirs to say; this is their world and their time.
Well if tonight belongs to you, tomorrow’s mine.

Any questions? I know I didn’t cover all the steps, so please fire away below and I’ll answer the best I can. How has your Valentine’s Day been? Did you do anything for or with your significant other? If so, what? If not, what else did you do? 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!

Moth Drama: Transforming The Ordinary into Art

25 Jan
Click to view the full 9-image set

A moth in full drama mode. The ordinary becomes extraordinary through photography & apps. Click to see what went into creating this image.

Here’s a look at how a simple moth can serve as subject for a striking, dramatic image by way of a macro lens attachment and some basic iPhone app editing (mainly Photoforge2, which I review here). Through the course of nine images, I take you through how the ordinary transforms into a fulfilling creative experience.

The effect of the final image above reflects my initial vision: dramatic gravity drawing the eye to the fine and generally unseen detail in this humble moth. To me, this is a great example of how photography, especially when spurred by photo-sharing experiences like Instagram, can elevate our everyday surroundings to an evocative level of art readily appreciated by others.

Moth Drama Set
Click to view the step-by-step creation of the final image at top.
Instagram promo for this post - click to see series at Flickr

Instagram promo for this post - made with Phonto, Labelbox & Photoforge2 apps

In the  case of the final image, I got the texture I was after by shooting with Hipstamatic then adjusting the result of that with layers in Photoforge2. But I wanted more dimension than just grayscale, so I added some red. To do this, I duplicated the grayscale layer and added red via the “colorize” function. Then I then masked portions of the top (red) layer to allow the bottom (gray) layer to appear through, using varying brush sizes and opacities. Finally, I set the blending mode of the top (red) layer to overlay, and set the opacity to 75%. Same principles also work in Photoshop, which is one reason I so strongly endorse Photoforge2.

If the above description gets you excited (you nerd), definitely check out the step-by-step series with notes at Flickr.

What do you think? Have you taken the ordinary to an artful place through photography or some other means? Have you done any macro photography of your own, and if so what’s your experience been like? What gear do you recommend? What’s your opinion on creating art from the everyday world? Do you find tips/tutorials like this useful? Let us hear from you in the comments!
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