The State Of Mobile... Creative Media In 2012 (Part 2)

9/14/2012 9:05:04 PM

Brushes iPad Edition: One of the first art apps in the App Store, Brushes showed that real drawing was possible on a mobile phone. Expanding on the wealth of features already offered by its iPhone sibling, Brushes for iPad provides 19 customisable brushes, transparencies, layers, blending and many more features you’d expect to find on vastly more expansive desktop art software. Of course, the big addition here is the touch interface native to the iPad, further enhanced with the use of a high-quality capacitive stylus such as Wacom’s Bamboo stylus. Brushes for iPad is $10 on the App Store.

Description: Description: Brushes iPad Edition

Brushes iPad Edition

iMovie for iOS: You’ll notice a trend toward tablet applications here because, put simply, it’s a platform better suited to the editing side of the creativity process. iMovie for iOS, for example, is impressive on the iPhone, but it really comes into its own with the screen real-estate afforded to it by an iPad. If you’ve used iMovie in its iLife version, then you’ll be quite familiar with its layout: simple to use, arrange, cut, edit and even add music and voiceovers. Frankly, with HD video, the end product is far better than you’d imagine getting from a mobile device and more that impressive enough to show off to the family. For $5 it’s staggering value.

Description: Description: iMovie for iOS

Qik: Very much a web 2.0 product, Qik allows you to stream video directly from your mobile device for all the world to see, as well as sharing it with the usual social media suspects. As impressive as this is at the moment (Qik also does video calling cross platform plus other video-related functions), it’s somewhat held back by the bandwidth of current mobile networks. Seeing as watching streamed HD video has only just become a reality, having that kind of speed for uploading HD streams is still some way off. However, Qik shows a glimpse into the future, and we may well soon see video of a major news event filmed live by a member of the public.

iPhone Lenses: Much has been made of the cameras in the iPhone 4 and 4S, with them gaining plaudits from such luminaries as legendary snapper Annie Leibovitz and Korean film auteur Park Chan-Wook. However, you can even take things a step further by augmenting the iPhone with add-on lenses. Granted it’s not the most elegant solution, because it’s basically a lens jammed onto a mobile phone, but it alters the characteristics of the images, giving them a less ‘cameraphone’ type of look with the addition of genuine glass optics. What’s more, some feature optical zoom, allowing you to get in close to distant subjects without resorting to the horrid digital zoom that would otherwise be needed. Prices range from around $25 for a basic stick-on fixed lens to around $225 for the mCAMLITE series, which incorporate a holder that gives it a more compact camera look.

Description: Description: iPhone Lenses

iPhone Lenses


For all the innovation, it’s not all plain sailing. While it’s fun to make movies on the move, the professional touches still need to be applied with traditional powerful computers. Video editing on a tablet is very impressive, but it’s more of a sketchbook for ideas than a complete editing suite. For the time being, any professional work will ultimately end up being completed in the same way as it has been before.

There’s also the problem of overload: with more creators there’s more content, much of which is of questionable quality. Take Instagram, for example: in the beginning, the washed out and bleached look was an interesting take on photography, giving a creative twist on photographs without the expensive filters and time spent editing in Photoshop. Now it’s got to the point of saturation, in danger of falling out of favour simply due to its ubiquity. It could be argued that we’re approaching media overload and the interesting stuff is being drowned out in the noise.

The Future

Like its social namesake, mobile creative media seems to be on an increasingly upward trend with more powerful devices, more bandwidth and more creative outlets. Not only can you create on the move, you can edit and publish too – something unthinkable even a few years ago. It hasn’t gone unnoticed either, Facebook’s billion dollar purchase of Instagram showing that some big shakers have faith in this expanding new field. Soon we could be using devices that even begin to take over those professional roles that ‘real’ computers still undertake - it’s not inconceivable that a BBC reporter could film, edit and transmit a report from a mobile device in the next couple of years.

There’s that well-known saying that everybody has a book in them, and now we’re entering the era where a person’s latent creativity can be explored, honed and published all by themselves and on their own terms. We’re moving into an era where power is not only knowledge but also creative expression, and you may just find the tool you need to do so is already in your hand.

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