Pixite continues its string of clever iOS image tweaking tools—following Tangent and Fragment—with Union, a compositing app that moves away from shape-based blending and instead approaches the process in a more conventional manner. Union is designed to combine images by knocking out specific colors as transparent, while borrowing some mojo from the company’s previous apps, and it’s a pretty slick affair—but still lacking some key features for optimum image blending.
Cloud sync with mobile devices is rapidly becoming mandatory for Mac and PC software as consumers increasingly prefer to free themselves from the desktop. Adobe is receiving this message loud and clear, countering with a new app that delivers the core functionality of Lightroom 5 for iPad. This isn’t just a tablet version of Adobe’s popular photo software—it’s a robust companion app allowing Creative Cloud subscribers to sync image collections and edit them using gesture-based tools specifically designed for touchscreen devices (an iPhone version is planned for later this year).
If you’ve ever fancied creating fine art—worthy of hanging on the wall alongside greats like Picasso or Van Gogh—on your iOS device, Brushstroke lets you quickly realize that dream in only a few taps. The universal app makes it delightfully easy to create a frame-worthy piece of art using the built-in camera or existing device photos. Once imported, the app walks you through five key stages: Paint, color, canvas texture, image settings, and sign, which lets the mobile artiste put a digital signature onto each work of art.
Adobe has spread the coveted Photoshop name to a number of different products across multiple platforms. Adobe Photoshop Elements 12 borrows high-end features from its namesake, making them easier than ever to actually use.
Photoshop-style bitmap image editors work with pixels, and therefore require large file sizes in order to preserve resolution. By comparison, vector-based illustrations are lightweight and able to scale up or down without a loss in quality, but finding quality App Store solutions for creating and editing such files can be a challenge. One such option is Inkpad, which has now gone from paid to free with the most recent release – and not the kind of free that involves in-app purchases to be useful. Instead, developer Taptrix made the app open source, allowing others to build upon its work and contribute to future versions.
Billed as a “modern creativity tool,” Curator is a virtual, iPad-only notebook for organizing websites, images, or text into beautiful, visually rich checkerboards. Up to 25 tiles can be opened full-screen or relocated anywhere on the screen (using just a finger) into a single board. The free app can be used to create up to five such projects, each with a unique name, and move between them with a swipe. Create a sixth board, however, and you’ll be prompted to pony up $6.99 via in-app purchase, which enables you to create an unlimited number of boards.
There are lots of ways to quickly create compelling works of art on our iPhones and iPads. One-touch filters and easy overlays have turned us all into amateur graphic artists, even if we don't have the most artistic of eyes. Notegraphy is cut from that cloth. With an emphasis on social sharing, the app automatically stylizes everything you write with a keen artistic flourish, turning your most mundane thoughts into stunning inspirational displays.
In preparing this year’s 20 Under $20 list, we loved the idea of presenting 20 killer Mac apps you might not know about — 20 is such a round, pleasant number, and would hopefully let us find something for everyone. But $20 per app might not seem like the bargain-basement price that it used to, even just back in the summer of 2011 when we did our last 20 Under $20 feature.
But guess what? Most of these polished, stable, user-friendly, and utterly useful applications don’t come anywhere close to a full Andrew Jackson, anyway. Four of them are free, and only two cost over $10. We thought about calling it “18 Mac Apps Under $10 and Also Two That Are More Than $10 But Still Less Than $20, and By the Way, Four Are Free,” but that’s just too long, wouldn’t you agree
While Instagram’s soaring popularity would have you believe it’s God’s gift to photography, there are plenty of other options available for iOS. Narrowing that ever-increasing list down to something truly great — especially for the iPad — is another story entirely. Available in three flavors for Mac, iPhone/iPod touch, or iPad, MacPhun’s FX Photo Studio has long been one of the better choices available. With support for iOS 6, iPad mini and Retina Display, in one fell swoop FX Photo Studio HD 5.0 breathes new life into one of the most powerful methods for editing photos you’ll find on the iPad.