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Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

iPhone 4 in WHITE

In Technology on April 29, 2011 at 6:03 am

I could not resist posting another Apple-related post, for the iPhone 4 has come out in white.  And we  didn’t have to wait for the iPhone 5 model for it.

Usually Apple would have their classic silver and black matt backing, but because the iPhone 4 has glass at the back the iPhone 4 is white on both sides.  This is uniquely sleek, and I’m loving it already:

iPhone 4 in White

Adobe iPad Apps

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs, Technology on April 26, 2011 at 8:17 pm

After getting the iPad (I have a mini review of it here: https://effli.wordpress.com/2011/04/16/new-ipad-2-review/) I realized that good apps on the iPad are surprisingly rare.  Sure, there are some fun games, some pretty apps, but once you put them on the iPad, not many of them are that useful or fun.  Good apps are hard to find! This post is going to be about Adobe iPad products.  I will post one on other iPad apps shortly.

I tend to buy a lot of Free Apps not because I’m cheap but because if it’s free, why not download it?  I always think it’s better to download and delete than to contemplate, because apps might be on sale!  One free app, Adobe Ideas, has quickly become my favorite. (I’m about to go on about Adobe products now, and if you aren’t interested in design you might want to skip down.)   Adobe Ideas is a sketching software, and allows you to adjust brush size, opacity, and color.  Unlike many applications where you have a limited choice of colors, Adobe Ideas gives you the whole range of web colors.  You do need to pay $4.99 USD if you want to buy layers, which is really useful.  A recommendation for improvement is to have a color picker when choosing colors so that when you have a non-white background, you can easily erase mistakes without having to buy layers. Another feature I also really like is how I can create color themes from pictures and work with them.  If you want your own color themes without having to take them from pictures, you can just make a color chart jpg (on your computer photoshop) and get the color themes from there.

Being Adobe, the Adobe Ideas interface is really sleek:

Adobe Ideas Interface

Here are some examples of what I’ve done with the program.

Afternoon Tea Set

Easter Chicken

Another Adobe app that is already out, Photoshop Express, is mediocre.  It is nothing like the actual photoshop in any respect, and its only useful features are adjusting saturation, contrast, and exposure (as well as rotating and cropping).  The other effects there are disastrous, they ruin your photo.

Photoshop Express interface: This photo was NOT taken by the iPad, and NOT entirely edited with Photoshop Express

Now, Adobe is rolling out a trio of iPad apps, coming out early May: Adobe Eazel, Nav, and Color Lava.  Eazel is much like Adobe Ideas, except you get more features (it costs $5) and your tools can be brought up by using all 5 fingers.  I’ve only looked at the commercials online, and it is a pretty cool design but does not differ so much in its function from Adobe Ideas, from what I can see.

Adobe Eazel

Adobe Nav is an iPad based navigator for toolbars on Adobe programs on your computer, such as Photoshop.  You can customize your own toolbar with tools from the Adobe program and work full screen on your computer.  I don’t think this is that useful, but $2 for an Adobe product might just be worth it.

Adobe Nav

The app I’m really interested in is Adobe Color Lava.  Color Lava is a digital artists palette.  You can mix colors, have colors bleed onto other colors, wet your brush and mix again on Color Lava.  I love to sort my colors and create color themes so this program is ideal.  It is also the coolest of all three apps, and it’s fun simply to go wild with colors!

Here’s a snapshot of it, but if you want to watch the video to see how it works, go here: http://www.photoshop.com/products/mobile/colorlava.

Adobe Color Lava

There is also another program that I have and would like to see in action – Adobe Content Viewer.  It’s free, as you need Adobe InDesign on your computer to use it.  Using InDesign, you can create special iPad books/magazines that are interactive.  On watching the tutorials online, the tools seem pretty self-explanatory, and watching the new features video I think I can do it.  There’s only one problem: no matter what button I press, I can’t get the toolbars to show up (I have Adobe CS5), which is extremely frustrating.  This also means I can’t do anything with InDesign, so I’m hoping to solve this problem.  But if this does work it would be really cool to create projects with!

New iPad 2, Review

In Technology on April 16, 2011 at 8:53 am

When iPad 1 came out, I resisted going out to buy it.  It was the first of its kind, a pretty tablet but one that had not gone through the critique and improvement stage.  And I was glad I had waited, for, after trying out the iPad 1 in Apple shops, the iPad 2 is much better, though could still be improved.

Here it is:  my brand new wifi + 3G white iPad, red smart-cover yet to come.

White iPad 2

One of the reasons I didn’t buy iPad 1 when it came out was that it didn’t come in white.  After sacrificing the white color when buying an iPhone 4 (and learning that Apple had pretty much given up on making a white iPhone 4), I wouldn’t buy a black iPad.

iPad 2 has cameras!  Though I’m glad the iPad has cameras, the quality isn’t too good.  The lens, though it boasts of having “HD Video” is the same as on the iPhone, and the pictures on the iPad are all grainy (when seen on the iPad).  No doubt if you compress the pictures into an iPhone-size they will be relatively clear again.

Other than that I have little criticism for the iPad 2.  It is sleek – less bulky than the 1st iPad.  It has beautiful graphics, especially while running beautiful apps.  Also, with the 3G plan of $98 HKD per month, internet access is unlimited and virtually everywhere!  This makes the iPad especially useful, as things like youtube and safari are not limited or dependent on wifi.

A good app that I found is “Pulse”, a news reader app that displays picture icons of any website with RSS feeds.  This includes being able to see the icons and articles from this blog!  When you want to read the article, just tap on the icon and the article will pop up on the side.  You can also visit the actual website directly from the app.

Pulse

So overall, the iPad 2 is pretty good! A new toy and something I can work with too.

OmmWriter Dana

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs, Technology on March 30, 2011 at 6:49 am

OmmWriter Dana is a beautiful app for macs.  It is an app that allows you to write creatively in a calming atmosphere.  A picture covers the entire screen, so you don’t get distracted when you type.  OmmWriter also stops all notifications, such as the ones for Skype.  Different sounds go off as you type, including the classic “Type Writer” sound.  And it wouldn’t be the same without music.  There are 7 choices of music you can choose to listen to as you write to get your creative juices flowing.  Here are a few snapshots of OmmWriter below:

I bought this app for a cheap $4.99 USD on the Mac app store, and I simply love it.  Using it I don’t have to be distracted by facebook, skype, or other programs, and can finally concentrate on my writing.  This app is entirely worth the 5 dollars I paid.

iPhone 4 cases

In Technology on March 28, 2011 at 11:03 am

There are a lot of iPhone 4 cases for sale (and iPhone 3 cases for that matter), but rarely do you ever come across one that is truly unique.  Most of the ones I’ve seen I’ve seen plenty of times before, and they’re nothing special.  You may even want to just go buy one of those cheap ones in those little stalls because in the end, many cases look the same.

Well, here I will show you two cool iPhone 4 cases:

One is from a local designer in Hong Kong.

One is from Pantone color series.

So for the local designer first.  This designer, named Ahtamtam is a Hong Kong based illustrator.  The iPhone case is special, something you wouldn’t see elsewhere (unless someone bought the same one of course).  I purchased it at Page One in Times Square, on the 9th floor.  Though the cover is very pretty, the actual design and function of the case is just ok.  The hurdle is getting the case onto the phone, something that is generally very easy.  But not for this case.  I struggled and gave up trying to put the case on, it was such a tight fit.  In the end it was my friend who managed it.  This would be a lot of trouble if I wanted to constantly change cases.  Other than that the design is nice and evenly rounded.  Here it is below:

 

Lonely Panda Cover

 

As for the other iPhone case, it is a sleek opaque design with only one color featured in it, as if it were part of a Pantone color chart.  My friend gave it to me and it is from Lane Crawford, the Times Square one (though I have seen it at the IFC Lane Crawford) as well.

 

Pantone Orange 021 Cover

(This cover was also featured in one of my favorite blogs that I forgot to mention in my post Blogs and Other Sites.  It is The Cool Hunter, and it featured Pantone iPhone as well as iPad cases here: http://www.thecoolhunter.net/article/detail/1845/pantone-iphoneipad-cases)

iPhone Photos

In Graphics & Assorted Photographs, Technology on March 22, 2011 at 3:32 pm


Despite many tutorials on “how to take good photos with the iPhone” you never really learn how to use the bland iPhone’s camera.  In reality, though, the iPhone camera quality isn’t that bad (iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, that is).  It can take HD video – and it’s the same camera.  The real problem is the plain “Auto” mode the camera is in.  With the right apps, this can easily be fixed. So, here is a useful tutorial on how to make your pictures more exciting.  Not every picture has to have a professional look – everyday things can look better too!  All the camera apps I use are free, so there’s no reason not to try them out.

1. Classic TOY camera

This is one of my favorite camera apps out there.  It has 16 film types you can use as of now, as well as pinhole, squara, snapshot, and action lens.  The film type I would recommend using would be overexposed.  My favorite used to be negative film, but that was before they updated the app and what was a nice, warm filter became a disgusting green stain on my photos.  If you want to see the pictures I have taken with the negative film, you can see it at the bottom of this article.  When choosing the film there is also a setting at the bottom, and you should probably choose “original” otherwise the colors will be too strong and unrealistic.  My advice in using iPhone camera apps: take as many shots as you can, it’s easy to delete them if you don’t like them.

Here are some pictures I took with the classic lens mode and the overexposed film:

Okay, I’m not done with this app yet.  The pinhole lens is quite interesting.  It basically takes 2 pictures and merges them together, and if you move the slider to “M” for manual, you can choose which two pictures to merge (Just take 2 pictures!)  Still using the overexposed mode:

I feel so tempted to share all my pictures, but I have to move on to other apps.  If you want to see more pictures, I’ll post them at the bottom!

 

2.Lomolomo

Many iPhone apps claim to have “lomo” settings, the popular toy camera which I personally have.  This particular app has a few filters, though I only like two: “Classic Lomo” and “Valentine Martini”.  I don’t use this app to often as it crops my pictures into squares and always adds a frame, which is annoying, because I have to go to Photoshop express and remove it.  Furthermore the picture filters that it has aren’t too special, especially if you keep using the same one.  Here are a few pictures I’ve taken using lomolomo:

 

3. Photoshop Express

Photoshop for the iPhone has many good as well as bad qualities.  You can use the effective adjustments of exposure, saturation, and contrast, but you can also put it through strange filters.  When you use Photoshop Express, you should really only use these functions: crop, rotate, exposure, saturation, and contrast (just don’t make it have too much contrast!).  As I said before, the iPhone camera isn’t that bad.  You just need good lighting and adjust the above mentioned things for a clear, bright, picture.  (Although of course for artistic reasons you can also have a fuzzy dark picture, I just wouldn’t recommend making it blurry on photoshop.)  Here are some pictures below:

 

 

 

4. More Beaute

Finally, we have MoreBeaute.  MoreBeaute increases 2 things: smoothness and brightness of a photo.  It works exceptionally well on people’s faces, and that’s all I have to say.  I don’t have particularly good examples, as the lighting in my room is very yellow, so I’ll leave you to try this app on your own.

I hope this helps make your quick, easy photos from your iPhone have quality as well!

 

Other Classic Toy pictures:

Negative Film:

Other film types: