Adobe Illustrator Draw Gets Better with Fresh features

Adobe Illustrator Draw Gets Better with Fresh features

May 18, 2016

Adobe Illustrator Draw, the free creative application for Android just updated to a new build, and the changes should definitely be appreciated.

Per Google Play:

WHAT’S NEW

DRAW ANDROID 2.0
BRUSH PRESETS
Long press on the Brush icon to change your brushes
TABLET SUPPORT
Draw now works on tablet configurations. We have now enabled this on the major tablets configurations.
STYLUS SUPPORT
SPen for Android devices are now supported on Draw.
BUG FIXES
We’ve improved overall performance and stability.
If you enjoy using Draw, please share a nice review. It really helps!

The app remains free.

Crayola Trace & Draw Hardware Review

Crayola Trace & Draw Hardware Review

Apr 30, 2015

In a world gone electronically amok, it is refreshing to see accessories aimed at kids… the type of gear that harnesses the power of mobile electronics in relatively atypical ways. Back in the day, we could have jamborees with some charcoal and paper.

It feels like the Crayola Trace & Draw is a system that hearkens back to those days, while being firmly planted in the present.

The review package Griffin sent us contains a single piece, a marker and documentation. The idea is fairly simple, almost crazily so: the main hardware piece is an adjustable clip that fastens onto a tablet (or, as became apparent during testing, even larger phablets). This clip’s main purpose is to hold a single sheet of paper plush against the device screen.

The secondary part of this combo is the Crayola Trace & Draw companion application, available on the Play Store. This app powers the images that are the core to the tool. The app contains a bunch of relatively simple basic images, black on white for efficacy, and grouped generally for identification. Now, with the device screen at the brightest setting (as the application advises) and a plain non-opaque piece of paper in place as described earlier, one can use the included marker to trace the image which shows through the paper.

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The app has some simple child/adult-friendly tricks up its sleeve to make the process as successful as possible. One pertinent method is the way is presents the image to be traced — in parts, such that one is overwhelmed with one difficult image all at once, but a smaller section that is more easily reproduced. When that section is completed, the budding artist can tap on an arrow that adds a new section to be added, and so on till the outline is completed.

When the outline is indeed finished, the young (or old) Rembrandt can then take the sheet off and further enhance the future masterpiece.

The system is rated for kids 3+, and I was able to try it out with my tablet-savvy 5-yr-old. Simply put, she loved it, and raided the printer for paper like a vagabond. She was able to get the hang of it almost immediately, and the app was easy enough for her to manipulate on her own. I find it quite interesting that she views the old Nook Color as primarily a tool to create art now. We (yes, we) were able to use pencils and such to do the initial trace too. Nifty.

When it’s all said and done, I really appreciate it. It’s simple, affordable ($19.99 on the Griffin website), and even useful. If only to see a continued smile on my daughter’s face, hats off to Griffin for encouraging childhood creativity.

Visual Clearinghouse DeviantArt Goes Mobile with New App

Visual Clearinghouse DeviantArt Goes Mobile with New App

Dec 10, 2014

I reminisce, I reminisce…

I recall getting on Android, and finding out how cool it was that I was able to so thoroughly customize a device to fit my personality. Way back then, I found out about this fantastic database of free digital content called DeviantArt.

I admit: the name scared me. But I soon found out that it was the best place to find curated content that can be used in a number of ways. My device wallpapers and backgrounds have never been the same.

And now, finally, DeviantArt is going mobile — really mobile — in the form of a dedicated app.

The mobile app will allow users to check out content, and also submit work and interact with other users. When one considers the amount of traffic DeviantArt gets (2.5 billion monthly page views according to the presser), the app clearly sounds that much more valuable. As is stated in the informational, “Simply put, the DeviantArt mobile app is the world’s largest art gallery in your hand.”

Key Features:

– Today Page – every day, the editorial team will draw from and reflect back to the community a vibrant combination of news, features, curations and conversations.

– What’s Hot, Undiscovered, Daily Deviations and Explore – gives users ways to be liberated and inspired with extraordinary images drawn from an art collection powered by over 33 million artists and curators on DeviantArt. Features like “More Like This” associate images through member-curated Collections to provide endless entertainment and inspiration while traveling through the app by browsing layers of similar art.

– Status Updates – post short updates and in-phone camera images in a simple and direct format that lets users create informal conversations with watchers. Status updates allow users to share how they’re feeling, what they’re thinking, what they’re working on or to share the work of an artist they love.

– Watch Feed – a personalized and easy-to-access feed of every Journal, Collection or Status Update posted by watchlist.

– Notifications – the communication center of the app where users can manage all mentions, replies and other messages. This feature is similar to the website’s Message Center.

– Submit – submit art and literature to DeviantArt or compose a status update to initiate rich visual conversations.

The DeviantArt app is available now on the Play Store for free.

Thralled Will Be Released Exclusively For OUYA

Thralled Will Be Released Exclusively For OUYA

Mar 21, 2014

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Thralled is going to be a rather dramatic game whose protagonist is a runaway slave woman in 18th century Brazil. It’s also going to only be available on OUYA. The owners of OUYA will be able to experience the finalist of Serious Games Showcase & Challenge this fall. More information is here: Thralled Website.

Theme Thursday: Dark for GO Locker

Theme Thursday: Dark for GO Locker

May 10, 2012

This week for Theme Thursday, we are going to be looking at a slick little theme by a design team, ZT.art, that has done a lot of fabulous work in the past and are seemingly a regular on Thursdays. Some of ZT.art’s handiwork has been featured in the Theme Thursday posts (C.Black, Touch, and Cry Cloud) and this is the first time I am actually doing a Locker review from them. The theme is called Dark and, some hiccups aside, is a very competent and compelling addition to any Android.


Those familiar with or running the Nexus-style live wallpaper should feel right at home here with Dark’s linearly sprinting colors. The thin sans-seriffed font adds a great touch of class as does the diagonally striped wallpaper. The screen is segmented vertically into four different labeled sections for the time, SMS, Phone, and Unlock. Obviously, swiping across the latter three will open up their respective applications, but unlike my current locker, Four Key, there is no option to assign custom apps to messaging. This means that no matter what messaging app is defaulted, be it GO SMS, HandScent, or ChompSMS, the only one this theme unlocks is the stock Android, which is honestly disappointing.

That aside, the consistent color coordination is a great touch and the vibrant colors jump out of the dark background displaying missed calls or messages. The large time and date at the top adds a touch of class and overall the whole theme is very elegant looking. For those looking to give their phone a sophisticated look this is really the locker theme to do that. Unfortunately, this theme really becomes more style and less practical for anyone who has ditched Android’s boring SMS app in favor for its more exciting competition.

Theme Thursday: Z Fish

Theme Thursday: Z Fish

Apr 26, 2012

It occurred to me that after doing so many of these Theme Thursday blogs that sometimes more attention is paid to more serious, usually darker themes. It is good to reach out and look at a great theme that is more likely to be found in a local coffee shop as opposed to a board room. This week is a beautiful Asian-inspired theme from Zero Designs called Z Fish. As the name implies, the main wallpaper is an authentic looking Japanese ink painting of a bright red fish leaping out of the water. The entire theme carries out the inky black on tan parchment color scheme and is sure to give an incredibly unique feel to any Android device. Unfortunately, for some reason the wallpaper has a ton of pixel noise that can be very distracting and really ruins the whole feel. And, like other themes that specifically dwell in the monochromatic realm – including apps that have icons that do not come with the theme – this is a problem. There is no option to simply turn the icons to grayscale, and even though they are encompassed in a inky black halo the bright colors seem very out of place against the muted, natural tones of the rest of the theme.

All the icons look great, and give a wonderful feeling of being truly handmade. Again, this feeling is tempered by the unsupported app icons but that is to be expected. The app does not come with an amazing number of icons but the necessary ones are included. In order to take this app to the next level, the developers need to take the time to really put out some quality icons for common apps like many other themes that I have reviewed in the past.

For anyone who uses GO Launcher’s weather app, GO Weather there is a skin for the weather widget that is a skin available on the Play Store that makes the time and weather appear to be a classic Asian watercolor painting. I had used this theme before and it never worked with any other theme until I started using Z Fish. The Widget skin works beautifully with the Launcher theme and it would be a mistake not to install the two side by side.

Theme Thursday: Touch for GO Launcher

Theme Thursday: Touch for GO Launcher

Feb 16, 2012

I’ve always been a sucker for clean, minimalist user interfaces. For me, a phone home screen should be something that can be shown off even if that might mean a subtle loss of convenience. For a while now my main home tile has been completely devoid of the usual assortment of widgets, containing instead purely aesthetic widgets that add a small layer of class onto an otherwise pragmatic piece of tech. In this week’s Theme Thursday I’m going to look at not just a basic theme, but two more additional widgets that can bestow incredible power in making a launcher its own small piece of art.

First and foremost is the GO Launcher theme called “Touch.” This is probably the weakest part of my home page right now as the custom icons are not spectacular and the great background could probably just be found on Google Images. Small touches are nice, such as a simple, white app drawer, but I would not declare this two dollar theme a great value. Touch puts a white border around every app on the home screen which does go a way to delivering some great continuity, but it would be nice to at least have the option to disable this feature. For those using GO Locker there is also a free locker theme that works well and goes a long way to tie everything together.

Two great widgets that really break the mold from the classic HTC Sense UI-style of plastic looking 3-D widgets are Minimalistic Text and BobClockD3. BobClockD3 is a clock app that displays the time vertically with flat san-serifed text. While the customization options are thin, there is ample room for creativity. For those looking for a simple way to give their phone a facelift I would highly recommend checking out BobClockD3, and it being free removes pretty much any argument against it.

In total contrast is Minimalistic Text, playing a legitimate “Linux” to BobClockD3’s “Windows” this app gives total control over text display on the home screen. There is a myriad of display options here, ranging from time as text, to battery percentage, and even RAM usage. After some practice of the initially confusing workspace it becomes easy and fun to add text to the home screen and give it the truly modern look that it has been lacking.

So give it a shot, regain aesthetic control of the cellular domain and create a modern minimalist masterpiece that will turn heads and draw compliments.