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Sketchworthy Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on March 18th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: VARIED NOTE TAKING
Create a virtual notebook and store plenty of details and sketches in Sketchworthy. Just don't expect to share the content with your other iOS devices.
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Pogo Connect Bluetooth 4.0 Stylus for iPad Review

Posted by Lisa Caplan on February 22nd, 2013

The iPad’s form has been seducing digital artists and those who love to doodle since its launch. It’s also the ideal size for taking hand-written notes. There are dozens of apps that create rich drawing or writing environments, but until recently input devices have been limited. Fingers just won’t do when precision is needed so artists and copious note takers usually rely on capacitive styluses which simulate the feeling of a pen, but are limited by the touchscreen interface. They aren’t sensitive to pressure, they offer no control over line thickness, and holding one comfortably tends to leave palm marks on the virtual page. Ten One Design offers one solution with their Bluetooth 4.0 Pogo Connect stylus. It doesn’t get everything right, but it’s a solid start in a promising direction.

At 5.1" (130mm) with a price tag of $80, the Pogo Connect sports a stylish silver barrel with a rubber tip at one end and decorative cap at the other. There is a single button on the side and a LED light. It uses one AAA battery and because it’s Bluetooth 4.0 that battery will last a long time. A little wider than a regular stylus, the pen lacks heft, but it fits comfortably in the hand and has good balance. The tip is the same thick dark rubber that one finds on traditional styluses and is magnetic for easy replacement. Ten One promises new tip designs in the future.

Pogo Connect doesn’t pair with the iPad in the usual way a Bluetooth device would. To assist in getting everything set up correctly, users can download the free Pogo Connect app to link the stylus and then each of the 19 compatible apps - up from the original 13 - goes its own way. Some apps like Procreate just find the pen, while others like Noteshelf require users to poke around in the settings. It's easy.

Because the stylus uses Bluetooth 4.0 it is only compatible with 3rd and 4th gen iPads and the iPad mini. Ten One offers iPad 2 owners a less-than-elegant work-around: there is a Pogo Bridge app that connects to the iPhone 4S or 5 and then sends the signal to the iPad 2, but at present only one app - Procreate - has incorporated the feature.

One of the more glaring flaws when I first tested the Connect back in December was that it didn’t prevent palm marks, but recent updates have improved that functionality. How well it works seems to depend more upon the app than the stylus.

And what about pressure sensitivity? That’s the key selling point, but it’s very hit or miss. Some apps respond to pressure by varying line thickness, others opacity, and none respond to a light touch despite claims that the proprietary Crescendo Sensor technology requires “0 grams of activation force.” That said, the Connect outperforms captive models. It's not transformative, but with the right app and practice, sketching feels more holistic.

There are a couple of neat features worth mentioning: the Pogo Connect app has a pen locator, the button on the stylus works as an undo command, and the LED light indicates the active ink color. Still, while somewhat more intuitive than capitative models, the Pogo Connect needs a lot of tweaking before it warrants the hefty price tag, much less turns the iPad into a device that can compete with a dedicated graphics tablet.

A full list of compatible apps can be found here on the Ten One Design site.


Pickle Weasel Review

Posted by Rob Rich on January 28th, 2013
iPad App - Designed for iPad

Developer: Jezam Interactive
Price: $1.99
Version: 2.0.31
App Reviewed on: iPad 3

iPhone Integration Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
User Interface Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar
Re-use / Replay Value Rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar

[rating:overall]

Update: 2/18/2013, Version 2.0.31
Don't let the identical version number fool you; there's a lot more to Pickle Weasel this time around. Even more Guess Games and Draw Games have been added, giving users twice as much guessing and drawing to do. On top of that there are also Flips, which are essentially a collection of goofy 2-frame animations meant to draw out a chuckle or two. If nothing else it means people will be able to enjoy the bizarre creature's antics for a bit longer now.

First of all, what exactly is a pickle weasel? Well in this particular instance it’s a cartoon character brought to life by JC Little, a.k.a The Animated Woman (director, illustrator, blogger, speaker, and artist). Back in 2011 the bizarre pickled cucumber mammalian took on a life of his own, and now he has his own weird iPad app to help spread the weirdness that much further.

Pickle Weasel is kind of a game, and kind of not. It’s more like a pseudo-interactive showcase with an emphasis on sharing the madness with friends than a straight-up multiplayer affair. The app is split into two distinct parts: Draw-Games and Guess-Games. Draw-Games present users with an image (or sometimes a partial image) and challenges them with adding their own particular visual elements such as a face on a piece of fruit or a costume for the weasel himself. Guess-Games, on the other hand, give users a single play-on-words image that they need to try and figure out. Once they think they know the answer there’s a “WTF” button at the top that can be tapped to reveal the actual subject.

The Guess-Games can be decent fun when there’s a group of people to sit around the iPad and make assumptions with, but there’s much more fun to be had with the Draw-Games. Whether users are following the instructions to the best of their abilities or simply doing whatever they feel like there’s no shortage of drawings to scribble over and share with friends via Facebook, Twitter, or simply handing the iPad to a friends and saying “Look at this!” There’s even a nifty option to replay the drawing and watch each line trace itself into existence. It serves absolutely no purpose but it can be kind of cool to see in motion.

Unfortunately there really isn’t much meat on Pickle Weasel’s bones. I suppose his half-vegetable DNA is partially to blame but it still makes for a fairly simple app with rather limited use. Updates are in the works and the creators are welcoming feedback, but until any supposed new content gets added it’s most likely going to be the kind of app that people play with for a day or two and then move on.

Pickle Weasel is a commendable first attempt but in its current state still feels a bit incomplete. There’s some entertainment value in trying to guess what the picture is trying to describe and scribbling weird faces on produce is surprisingly fun. It’s just that the well runs dry pretty quickly at the moment.

Portray Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on January 14th, 2013
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: HANDS-ON FILTERING
Portray takes a more hands-on approach to photo filtering, allowing for much more manipulation than conventional filter apps.
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SketchPhrase Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on December 10th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: PICTURE THIS
A whole lot of SketchPhrase's fun depends on who's playing but when it all "clicks" it can be incredibly silly fun.
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Draw a Stickman: Epic Review

iPhone App - Designed for iPhone, compatible with iPad
By Rob Rich on October 30th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: OUTSIDE THE LINES
It's about as taxing as *actually* drawing stick figures in a coloring book, but Draw a Stickman: Epic is full of enough charm and playful interactions to warrant some doodling.
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Concepts Review

iPad App - Designed for iPad
By Angela LaFollette on October 18th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: DRAW FORTH
Concepts is a free drawing app designed to make precision drafting and sketching simpler thanks to its intuitive interface and easy-to-use toolbar.
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Brushes 3 Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on October 5th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarblankstar :: CREATIVE STROKES
It's not the most technically advanced of drawing apps but Brushes 3 is an ideal place for amateur artists who want to dabble in the fun of drawing.
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SketchBook Ink Review

By Lisa Caplan on May 25th, 2012
SketchBook Ink has a welcoming interface but lacks key features
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Latte Art on the iPhone with Latteland

Posted by Kevin Stout on April 25th, 2012

Recently released from Holly Brown, a Hong Kong-based coffee and gelato company, HB Latteland lets users take a stab at latte art on their iPhones.

I have to admit that before I saw this app, I had no idea that latte art existed. I took a look at the app and wondered who was creatively strange enough to think of an app where players make art out of coffee. A few YouTube videos later and I’m entranced by how cool some people (latte artists?) can make a latte look.

HB Latteland starts a player in “Latte Art School” where the choose a mentor from the Holly Brown team of baristas to lead them through school. When users “graduate” from the art school, they’re faced with challengers from around the world in the Challenge stage. Featured in the challenge modes are World Latte Art Champion Scottie Callaghan and Taiwan Champion Van Lin. In addition, there’s an etching mode where players can basically draw and etch on a cup of latte.

Holly Brown is a Hong Kong-based coffee and gelato company with coffee from Italian master roaster Domenic Spadaccini and made-to-order gelato for customers.

Draw Something Adds Fan-Requested Features

Posted by Kevin Stout on April 20th, 2012
+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: DRAWSOME!!! :: Read Review »

Insanely popular and recently Zynga-purchased game, Draw Something, has updated with many features that fans have been asking for since the app released back in February. Features to get excited about include Say Something!, Share Something!, and Save Something!

Say Something! allows players to comment on each other drawings. This adds a sort of chat system to the game that lets players tell them what they thought of each others drawings. Share Something! lets players share their favorite drawing to Facebook and Twitter for their friends’ amusement. Right after a drawing is finished, a Facebook and Twitter button becomes readily available for users to press and instantly share with their friends.

And Save Something!, probably the most desired feature from people I’ve talked to, gives users the ability to save drawings to the iOS device’s camera roll. In the same screen that displays the social networking sharing buttons, a save to device button is presented. It’s an easy way to save those special drawings players spent their valuable minutes on. Sharing options from the camera roll then become limitless.

Other features include Undo Something! and Refresh Something!, adding the ability to undo the last line and refresh game updates by pulling the list down. More updates are sure to come soon.

Professional Sketchbook, Procreate, Releases Huge Update

Posted by Kevin Stout on April 18th, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad
Our rating: starstarstarstarstar :: PAINTING PERFECTED :: Read Review »

Studio-quality sketchbook app, Procreate, has updated with a huge selection of new features to their professional sketching app. Months ago, Lisa Caplan reviewed Procreate. Lisa gave Procreate a perfect five out of five star rating and the app received a 148Apps Editor’s Choice award. She described Procreate as “the serious artist’s best choice” and “the simplicity and clean canvas are altogether too inviting to ignore.”

Upgrades include a completely rebuilt gallery, new brush management, pro tools, a shop for more brushes, new painting mode actions, layers, and gestures. As I said, there really are a quite a few new features. Within the brush management system, users can now create custom brush sets (groups of brushes) for easier organization. Within the Pro Tools, the new 48 brushes added to Procreate have been organized into sets of their own. And the additional brushes available as in-app purchases can be previewed before they’re purchased.

There are simply too many new additions and upgrades for me to cover in the post. There are equally as many tweaks and fixes to the app to make using the app a better experience. Check out the update notes in the app description. If this was a five star app months ago, what does that make it now?

How To Draw! Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Jennifer Allen on April 3rd, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarhalfstarblankstar :: DETAILED
A little heavy on talking rather than doing, How to Draw! does teach some great skills.
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Taposé Resurrects Microsoft Courier for the iPad

Posted by Kevin Stout on April 2nd, 2012
iPad App - Designed for iPad
Our rating: starstarhalfstarblankstarblankstar :: NOT YET :: Read Review »

Remember the Courier? That dual-screened, book-like tablet that Microsoft might have released. We’ll now there’s an iOS app that attempts to give users the experience they might have had on the Courier. Tapose, a successful Kickstarter project by developers Benjamin Monnig and Ricky Drake, has just been released.

Tapose’s main feature is the “slide bar” in the middle of the screen. It functions as a control panel for both sides of the screen. It can also be moved to change the sizes of each screen. Users can control two separate functions on each side of the bar (web browsing, note taking, etc). Tapose even offers web storage so that work done through the app doesn’t fill up the iPad’s hard drive.

The Kickstarter project raised over $26,000 and was partially funded by the leader of the Courier project at Microsoft, J Allard. Taposé is available in the App Store for $2.99. Check out the video of Tapose in action below.


Draw Something Review

+ Universal App - Designed for iPhone and iPad
By Rob Rich on March 5th, 2012
Our rating: starstarstarstarhalfstar :: DRAWSOME!!!
So as it turns out, combining turn-based social multiplayer with something akin to Pictionary is utterly amazing. No, really. I'm not exaggerating.
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