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Showing posts from June, 2013

sketchyTech has a sister

I'm pleased to announce that sketchyTech now has a sister site called sketchyText. It's going to be the place where I post about writing and art so that this blog can be kept clear for tech.
Hoping very much that you'll visit both blogs, but if one of them isn't your thing then good to have you on either one. And before I forget, sketchyText has its own twitter account too: @sketchyText
That's all!

How to see your app reviewed on the sketchyTech blog

UPDATED: 26 MAY 2014 How to get in touch If you'd like an iOS app for iPad or iPod reviewed, then get in touch via Twitter and I'll do my best to review your app on this site.
Why would I choose sketchyTech? This site receives around 20,000–25,000 page views a month, and if your app is centred on publishing, writing, drawing, painting, coding, or just plain good fun, then you'll be reaching your target audience by sending your app to sketchyTech for review.
Which versions of iOS should apps work with if I'd like one reviewed? iOS 5 (iPad) and iOS 7 (iPad, iPod).
Do you review devices and accessories? Yes, let me know what you've got.
How about Mac software? Yes, I'll review that too (Mavericks). Windows 8? I'm always willing to try new things.
Linux? If you think you've got something special, I'll give it a spin in VMWare Fusion. Android? I have an Android phone running KitKat.

You'll need a time machine to tune into the new trends in design

iOS 7 might well have rocked the faith of many in the design community, but it remains a relatively safe bet that where Apple leads others will inevitably follow. And just as the original iMacs led to endless brightly coloured transparent objects from staplers to calculators, so iOS 7 will have an impact, if only because there are so many iOS devices out there that will inevitably be upgraded to the new version of this mobile mega-OS by the end of the year.
How do designers prepare for this brave new world? Simple, take a step into your own personal time machine to the place where you first began design and thought of all the cool things you could do with Adobe Illustrator only to realise that print media didn't work so well when you did those things.
Forget about margins that allow for trimming, forget about gradients looking iffy, forget about muted colours. Be the person you would've been if you didn't ever have to think about printing, or people's nostalgic attach…

Waking up to iOS 7 and understanding that skeuomorphism is more than skin deep

I've been struggling to understand the design logic of iOS 7 ever since screenshots from the beta were released, and the main hurdle has been to understand the home screen icons. This was until I had a revelatory moment reading this post on Medium by R.E. Warner (tweeted to my attention by @zcichy).

“When Wrong Does Not Apply” https://t.co/iVMdwQdoM6 Agree largely with this piece.
— Zac Cichy (@zcichy) June 20, 2013
Seeing the new app store icon placed side by side with an optically adjusted version, I had a duck-rabbit moment, where I literally had to make my eyes shift register to see each as the correct version. In one register (my default register) the icon on the right (optically adjusted) was correct in the other register it was the one on the left that was correct.


It then struck me that skeuomorphism isn't just about apps connecting visually with physical objects in the world, but that the reason we see this new Ive grid as producing designs that are wrong is becaus…

Where did Adobe Application Manager go and how do I install the latest CC apps that everyone's shouting about?

If you are using CS6 through Adobe's Creative Cloud, then this morning you might well be prompted to update Adobe Application Manager. A familiar task which involves typing your password in and ticking EULAs that you don't bother to read or even scroll down.

But this time things are different. After updating, the updater icon that you expect to be stacked full of juicy CC apps is silent, worse it's entirely invisible. And it's no good trying to open it from the Applications folder because the app has been sent into oblivion, never to be seen again.

What now? Click on the Adobe Cloud Connection icon in your top menu bar (OS X), you know - the one that you haven't used since Adobe paused the syncing functionality for those lovely 20GB of storage.

The Cloud Connection icon has become the all-purpose place for updates and file syncing. At the top is an update all button, press this, or you can install the apps piecemeal.

Note: If you don't see the cloud icon in yo…

Dodge and Burn in Procreate (iPad)

For a quick dodge in Procreate select the eraser and reduce the opacity, while for a makeshift burn set the paint brush to black and use the opacity slider in the same way. But if you'd like something a bit more flexible and less destructive try this:

1. Create a layer above the one you want to colour dodge
2. In the layer menu click the little 'N' button on the right-hand side
3. Select lighten from the bottom tab bar and set type to, 'color dodge'
4. Click on the layer's thumbnail, select opacity
5. Slide your finger or stylus left across screen to lower opacity to 16% for example (you'll need something drawn on the selected layer for this to work)
6. Open layers again
7. Create another layer and repeat step 2, then select the darken tab and select 'color burn'
8. Repeat the opacity step 5
9. Now use these two layers to dodge and burn your image using the regular brushes
10. For subtle burning and dodging select the underneath colour and alter th…

Combining bitmaps and vectors on iOS: Cut and paste from #Procreate to #iDraw

Step 1: Select the layer with the bitmap you'd like to cut and paste from Procreate. If the object is across multiple layers, duplicate the file and then pinch together all the layers you want to merge in Procreate
Step 2: Swipe your finger left-to-right across the layer and select Copy

Step 3: Open iDraw and create a new document or open the one you're working on

Step 4: Create a new layer and paste the Procreate image into iDraw just as you'd paste any other object in the clipboard
Note: You can do exactly the same in Inkpad and TouchDraw (and the latest Brushes, although that's a bitmap app not a vector one). And I'm sure there are plenty of other apps that can do the same. If not you can do the same thing through the camera roll. This just removes a step. (Also, note that iDraw as far as I can tell can only import a single camera roll image per document as a background, and not add images to individual layers.)

Building an illustration reading list

At the moment, I'm teaching myself to illustrate for the purposes of an app that I'm programming. The problem is that like any self learning it's difficult to decide on the books worth reading to further your abilities. I don't have three years to spend on a course, so I've got to learn on the fly and to a large extent, aside from scraping the university sites for reading lists, make up my own rules.

Two books that've caught my eye so far and furthered my thinking are first, the Animation Survival Kit for iPad (Richard Williams) and second, The Simple Secret to Better Painting (Greg Albert).

As the name of the Animation Survival Kit suggests, it isn't primarily about illustration but animation. However, the thing that it has taught me is that it is important to add interest into your work. (So far my list for adding interest into a work comprises: light, curves, action, variation and humour).

Confession: I've read the preview for the Greg Albert book, …

Vector illustration presentation at #digibury (and handout)

This evening (12 June 2013, 7 pm) in Canterbury (UK), I'll be talking about vector illustration at #digibury focusing on the things that make illustrations and the things that break illustrations; where the cul-de-sacs exist and where the open road leads you forward. If you'd like to access the handout in advance of the session (or if you simply can't make it) you'll find it here.
All will be explained at the session. You can sign up on meetup.com

Should apps be more expensive?

I agree that good apps are worth paying for, but I don't wholly agree with this article in Macworld by Lex Friedman (@lexfri), which was cited and tweeted by The Daring Fireball, for its implication that the onus is on the consumer to be willing to pay more for apps.

It is my belief that consumers aren't quite as free with their money on mobile devices as desktops for the following (good) reasons:

(1) there's often no trial version, refund opportunity, detailed instructions or guarantee that the app developer will stay in business, and it is not unreasonable that this causes some consumers to hesitate before purchasing (sometimes indefinitely)
(2) even if the developer does stay in business, some (big) developers have deleted apps and discontinued support in the past, replacing them with new versions that must be paid for again (and this harms trust, and lowers the amount of money people are willing to 'gamble' on apps across the board)
(3) mobile devices are supp…

Your invite to #digibury on 12 June 2013

What is #digibury? It's a meet up in a Canterbury pub called The Parrot where people chat about digital technology.

Update: this week's event will take place at Canterbury Christ Church Student Union, St George's Place, Canterbury, CT1 1UT


View St. George's Student Centre in a larger map
When is #digibury? It's every second Wednesday of the month. Who is #digibury? The people who attend and talk but it's organized by Deeson Online. What's happening on 12 June 2013? I'm talking about vector illustration, and there are also talks about online communities and educational robots.
What time does it start? 7 pm. What does it cost? Nothing. Is the beer free? No, but it tastes great and you're welcome to bring your pint along to the talk (which happens upstairs). Where can I sign up? On meetup.com.

iPad Animation: Animation Creator HD vs Do Ink vs Animation Desk vs Animation Studio vs PhotoPuppet HD

Animation Creator HD This app might look basic, but it is an excellent choice for frame-by-frame animation. It includes:
(1) a flexible range of drawing tools (2) animation layers (3) image import from photo library (4) variable frames per second during playback (5) audio recording
(6) export to online services and email
(7) export of animation frames as still images or video (to photo library)
It lacks:
(1) audio file import
(2) animation along a path using keyframes

Do Ink Animation & Drawing This app is unique among the animation apps because it is designed to animate along a path when using imported images. This makes it ideal in preparation for computer based animation, such as can be achieved in Hype (Tumult) or Adobe Edge. It is also a good place to experiment with animations that are going to be coded in Xcode. The help system is a good piece of assistance in some of the areas of the app that aren't entirely intuitive at first but soon become second nature. It include…