TapPainter Review

As you’ve surely figured it out by now, the App Store offers plenty of DIY-type applications which are very interesting and highly usable. In case you like to do your own home projects, I am sure you’ve already got plenty of learning tools and tutorial resources stored on your computer, but it surely is more convenient to use an iOS device and work your way through the project with some helpful assistance. We’re about to show you an application that can help you choose the right colors for the walls in your home, and I am sure that many of you will find this app very helpful and even essential in some situations.

TapPainter by MDi Touch does a great job of demonstrating how a particular color will look on a wall and what kind of an effect can be achieved. When it comes to the App Store, this kind of apps isn’t anything new and there are numerous apps that offer the same functionality as this one, even though there are some subtle differences that matter. I hoped to see these small details in TapPainter, expecting to finally see a completely usable app that can help me choose the right interior paint colors.

TapPainter is one of those apps that prove how interesting an iPad can be and how useful this device truly is. Even though nothing is going to beat painting actual samples on the wall, this app can be truly useful if you’re willing to try out a large number of combinations before narrowing down the choice between selected few colors. In order to do this you’ll need to import or take a photo using this app. What’s important to highlight is that sometimes it’s better to take a shot using a DSLR camera (if you own one) and import it into the app, since it’s really important to take a nice photo. For example, you can do the same using the iPad 2, but TapPainter will often make mistakes in selecting areas to paint. Also, try to capture well lit room in their natural lightning conditions.

When it comes to using this app, I can say that it’s very user intuitive and a real pleasure to use. You’ll get to pick the right color by hand, choose one of branded paints, or even mix your own color that you can easily buy in a store. There’s a great tutorial showing you all the controls and the ways you can apply colors, and I recommend watching it before using the app.

In comparison to similar apps, it’s clear that TapPainter offers several important advantages. First, there’s a huge amount of available colors, and when you choose the one you’d like to buy you’ll need to confirm to reveal its code. You’ll get five of these codes for free, and additional ones can be purchased for $1. This surely isn’t its upside, since you’ll also need to pay $5 in order to download this app. Still, TapPainter offers great performance and works great in practice which is its biggest advantage.

 

Pogo Stylus, by Ten One Design Review

It’s been almost a year since we reviewed the Pogo Connect, which was the newest addition to a world of iPad-compatible styluses at the time. This stylus didn’t really live up to its expectations since it was unable to bring some features which were standard even a year ago, and it was priced higher than expected.

Now it’s time to take a look at another try of creating a popular Pogo stylus, made by Ten One Design. This company decided to introduce entry level stylus simply named Pogo, which means that this one can be considered as the newest generation of the original Pogo, introduced back in 2009. This one is priced at $20, which seems fair enough for entry-level stylus, so continue reading to learn more about the newest Pogo.

Pogo Stylus 2

I believe that many people will get a very positive first impression once they see the newest Pogo for the first time. Like its predecessors, this stylus is made of aluminum, but this one comes with a matte black plastic head which holds the tip. It’s a little bit shorter than the Pogo Connect, but it still feels like a traditional pen once you take it in your hand. This also goes for its weight and shape, so it’s very comfortable for use which is very important for every stylus that enters the market. There’s also something new about this model, and that is a black metal clip which allows you easily carry this stylus with a number of iPad cases. If you don’t need this functionality you can also remove this clip. This can be done by unscrewing the end cap and taking out the clip – very easy and effortless.

When it comes to its rubber tip, it’s very simple and there’s really nothing that special about it. The important thing is that it’s removable, so you can purchase a set of two extra tips for $8. The tip is sturdy enough and it really feels like using a traditional pen. When it comes to performance, you should know that Pogo is an entry-level product, meaning that you shouldn’t expect premium quality and very fine detailing while sketching. This stylus can be used to take notes using your iPad, or even to draw. If you’re interested in getting the most out of your iPad in terms of digital painting, I would suggest going for a more expensive stylus, which should bring features like high pressure sensitivity and efficient palm rejection. In other words, Pogo brings very nice design, great build quality, and very competitive price. On the other hand, it lacks many useful features as well as the newest generation of Bluetooth technology, which severely limits its use.

In case you need a stylus to take notes using your iPad, or if you simply like using one while browsing the web or playing games, I would recommend the newest Pogo ($20). If you’re interested in a bit more advanced features and digital painting, I would advise you to look for a premium-grade product.

 

Faded Review

The only way to find a truly useful iOS photo editor is to read reviews like this one. This is because there are more than enough of these apps in the App Store, and each one of them promises streamlined interface and abundance of filters. Since most iOS app developers are truly creative, there are some incredibly useful apps, but it’s just that they are becoming increasingly hard to find.

In today’s article we’ll take a look at an iOS photo editor which can be overlooked easily if Apple didn’t decide to showcase it. This app is called Faded, and you can download it from the App Store for only $1. Even though this app offers numerous in-app purchases, the basic version is very useful and incredibly fun to play around.

Faded 2

From the moment I opened Faded for the first time, I was impressed by its clean and intuitive interface. As you surely expect by now, UI design is very flat and iOS7-inspired, but it also brings its own distinctive visual identity which is something that only a few apps can show. From the first moments you start using this photo editor, Faded will try to show you some of its (hidden) features and I was pleasantly surprised by how a developer tried to showcase its own work.

First, let’s start from some basic features. There are more than a few of basic adjustments and camera tools, most of which can be seen in other editors. For example, you’ll be able to set up exposure, brightness, color saturation, and some other useful tools like ability to adjust sharpness, shadows, and graininess as well. You can also use preloaded effects which can be applied to any photo in order to highlight a part of it, or to create a certain visual atmosphere. These effects are light leaks, gradients, emulsions, and preloaded frames. What’s also important to say is that this app remembers all the actions you applied, so you can go back in time and undo any changes you don’t like. Adjustment history is very nicely designed and offers very clear visual representation of tools that you’ve used.

The biggest selling point of Faded are 34 filters that emulate classic film. These filters are unique and even though they bring Instagram-like vibe, they are fully customizable. For example, once you apply an effect you can choose how much it needs to be visible on a photo. Combination of filters and effects can produce hundreds of unique results, so you’ll be able to create your own presets (or actions, as Faded likes to call them). Speaking of premium-priced effects, there are 36 of them and you can purchase packs of similar effects for $1 each, or you can pay $5 to fully unlock this app.

Even in its basic version, without any in-app purchases, Faded is truly usable and incredibly capable photo editor. It’s able to bringing a certain mood to your photos that no other editor can, so I warmly recommend trying it out.

Bluetail Review

When it comes to vector drawing tools, the OSX App Store offers a very large choice. Just like with other app categories, these tools tend to offer simplified experience of creating vector drawings, and these are designed for an average (or a little bit more than average) users who are in need of web or print graphics.

As you probably know, in the world of vector illustrations the standard is Adobe’s Illustrator. This is a very comprehensive tool used by professionals, able of creating amazingly looking results. In order to become familiar with Illustrator, you’ll need to spend some serious time to learn all of its tricks and to master its complicated interface. On the other hand, if you’re willing to enter the world of vector illustration on a smaller scale, the OSX App Store can help you.

Blutail 1

Today we are going to take a look at Bluetail, which is the simple vector design tool. It can be downloaded from the App Store for $12. This sounds like a very good price for this application type, so let’s see what features you can get and what kind of results it can produce.

Once you open Blutail for the first time you’ll be greeted with a very simplified user interface, consisted of three floating windows. Those are the tools palette, the layers pane, as well as the main drawing board. If you’ve ever used a vector drawing tool, you’ll be very familiar with all of these elements, since they are pretty much standard. I liked this minimalistic design, which is quite reachable and easy to understand even for a complete newbies. You’ll use the tools palette to activate and use all kinds of drawing tools, fills, and shapes. Occasionally you’ll also get a fourth floating window, which gives you additional options for a tool you’re currently using.

When it comes to drawing, it seems that Bluetail offers a good value for the money. You’ll get to use the standard Pen tool, used to create Bezier curves. There are also Line and Pencil tools, used to create straight and freehand lines. Also, there are tools like Poly Pen and Easy Pen, used to create custom shapes and paths which can be used in combination with Shapes to create custom built objects.

Besides using all those drawing tools, Blutail offers standard Fill and Stroke tools, which are pretty standard for any vector drawing applications. And also, there are Layers used to manipulate different parts of your drawing, onto which can be added different effects.

Even though Blutail offers a lot of useful tools, the main difference between this application and the more expensive ones is in how limited those tools are. I would recommend this application for someone who just entered the world of vector drawing, and needs to learn the basics. In case you do have some knowledge and especially if you’ve worked with Illustrator, I am sure that Blutail will seem like a very basic and limited solution.

 

Intuos Creative Stylus Review

In case you need a very precise input controller for your iPad, the best possible tool for this job is a stylus. There are a lot of professionals, hobbyists, and average users who now choose to purchase a stylus and pair it with an iPad, which can unlock a completely new experience of digital drawing and iPad gaming.

We already reviewed some of the most popular styluses on the market including the AluPen (Pro) and Pogo Connect, but in order to give you more insight into this product category we are bringing you today a review of one of the newest products by Wacom. This is an iPad-compatible stylus named Intuos.

As I said earlier, when it comes to iPad-compatible styluses there’s a huge choice of available models, but it seems that the market lacks premium grade professional styluses. It seems that Wacom saw this as an opportunity to introduce a very interesting product which I believe will appeal to many iPad users. It is priced a bit higher than most other similar products, and its current price is $100. On the other hand, there are a lot of interesting features that you’ll get for this price, so let’s see what you can expect.

Intous 2

It will be clear that this is a premium grade product once you take it out of its packaging and once you see that you’ve received a carrying case containing several items. Inside you’ll see the Intuos itself, but also additional rubber tips and a battery as well. Once you take it out, and even before you start using it, you’ll see that Intuos feels much better in hand than most styluses, and its shape, size, and weight are just right for starting to write and draw without any adjustment period needed.

On one side you’ll find the rubber nip used to make pressure onto the iPad’s screen, and you can unscrew this tip and replace it with a new one. On the other end you can also find a removable tip, which gives you access to one AAAA battery (able to give you 150 hours of active time). Once you take it in your hand, you’ll find two clickable buttons right under your fingers, and those are used to trigger actions like erase or undo, which depends on an application you use.

The Intuos is nicely designed, quality made and comes with those helpful utility buttons. It really shines through its performance, which is simply incredible. It comes with 2,048 pressure levels through its rubber nip, which gives you a very fine control over the input. Also, it uses Bluetooth 4.0 connection which works with your iPad to register accidental palm input, so when you place you palm onto the screen, it won’t be recognized. This helps you draw lines just like you would do on a paper, giving you a complete freedom of expression. Bluetooth 4.0 also makes sure that you don’t need to pair the stylus with your tablet, since it will be automatically registered by an iOS app, and it will be turned on/off automatically.

In order for all of these features to fully work, you’re going to need to use iOS apps which support this particular stylus. You can use Wacom’s Bamboo Paper app for free, but other applications are there like Autodesk Sketchbook Pro/Ink, ProCreate, and Adobe’s Ideas for iPad.

In case you’re searching for a new stylus and you really care about getting the most out of it, I would warmly recommend using Intuos. It costs a bit more than most iPad-compatible styluses, but it’s worth the price.

Logoist Review

With the introduction of OSX App Store, Mac users got a chance to access a massive library of OSX software that was hard to reach before, and even impossible in some markets worldwide. With the introduction of OSX software, what Mac users also got was a chance to do more with their computers and access services that were used only by skilled professionals in the past. I am talking about those numerous photo and video editors, and all other applications which received overhauled and simplified interface in order to be more user-friendly and intuitive.

In this article we are going to talk about one of those simplified applications, which is trying to offer something that only a skilled professional could do. It’s called Logoist, and as it names says, it’s designed to help you create your own logo. It’s priced at $20, and could be downloaded from the OSX App Store.

Logoist 2

There are a lot of logo design apps in the App Store which are badly designed and which oversimplify things, so I was hoping that Logoist isn’t one of those. Once I opened it for the first time I was greeted with a very problematic intro, which showed examples of 1980’ and 1990’ logo design, stacked on a virtual shelf. One good thing about this intro window is that you can access a very comprehensive PDF user guide, which will guide you through almost every feature found in this app. This side of user care and support is usually omitted from majority of newly released apps, so I was nicely surprised.

Logoist 3

Once you get to the main window things will start to improve a bit. The welcome window is badly designed and leaves a very negative first impression, which is a very big downside of this application. The main window is more user friendly and incorporated somewhat well into the overall OSX aesthetics. I am not going to explain each feature and tool that you can find in Logoist, but I’ll say that there are many of them and level of customization is surprisingly good. There are also hundreds of preloaded styles, clipart, and samples, but most of them look outdated and unprofessional, so I would recommend starting from scratch and not trying to use every single color, feature, gradient, and texture that you can find in Logoist, because it seems that preloaded elements are made that way.

The main problem with logo design apps is that you simply can’t use them if you want to get a professional looking logo, which is incredibly important step in branding of your website, company, or anything else. These tools can be used to create somewhat simple logos and entry-level design, and that’s how you should look at them. In case you really care about branding of your product or service, and you really should care, my advice is to hire a professional who will think of clever design that you’ll be proud of.

GraphicConverter Review

GraphicConverter 2Ability to convert graphic files is especially important to graphic designers and web developers. Every type of media requires a certain standard to be achieved in order to successfully process an image. For graphic designers who work with printed media, it is important to optimize an image in order to achieve the best quality and resolution, as well as to prepare file type for further processing by some kind of professional publishing software, like Adobe’s InDesign. For graphic designers who are preparing graphics for web upload, images need to have a certain quality but small file size in order to save space and bandwidth. This all can be done with a number of professional grade image processors, like Photoshop. However, this application is very expensive, and this is why there are some more affordable alternatives.

GraphicConverter is a well-known image processor, which has been around for over a decade. It developed from a shareware into paid application and is now offered through Mac App Store for $38.99. As you can assume from its price, this is not just another simple image editor that you can purchase for a few dollars, since it does offer some professional grade features.

GraphicConverter 3

Throughout the years, GraphicConverter pretty much kept its rigid interface design, so it doesn’t look like an average image editor. This application combines image browser, graphic converter, and image editor as well. Newest version made this application Retina display ready, which is very important for an application of this kind.

Once you open it for the first time, you’ll see an image browser. You can navigate through files and folders which are already present on your Mac. This interface also combines graphic converter, since you will browse for an image that needs to be converted. You can choose multiple photos, or only one, which you can later edit. This browser also lets you navigate folder where converted images will be saved.

GraphicConverter 1
If you choose to edit an image before converting it, you will be taken to a new screen. Editing is pretty much straightforward and somewhat limited and basic. You can adjust parameters of brightness, contrast, sharpness, and such. There aren’t any advanced features here, but the current set can be nicely utilized.

Once you’re finished editing, you’ll be taken back to a previous screen. Now you will need to setup parameters for a new output file. There are over 200 graphic file types and over 80 formats available, which are preloaded presets. You can also edit Meta data like EXIF, IPTC, XMP, and GPS. This side of GraphicConverter is quite powerful and could be easily compared to a Photoshop, for example. Conversion is quite fast and effortless, and could be done individually or in batches of images.

GraphicConverter is a very helpful application. It performs well, and cleverly combines a browser, converter, and an image editor. It does offer plenty of features for its price, and seems like a good choice.

Kuvva Review

For me, personally, one of the strongest selling points of Apple products is their design. I’ve been using various Apple computers, iPhone, and iPad for a very long time now and I think that I’ve got accustomed to beautiful shapes, thoughtful design and exceptional craftsmanship.

Even though I do follow Windows and PC market as well, I’ve never had a chance to fully explore and pick a certain product that would captivate my eye. Recently, my friend wanted me to help him choose Windows-powered notebook, so I’ve spent some time searching for the right one. Even though you can find very powerful PCs at affordable price, I’ve noticed that these manufacturers simply didn’t think about design that much. Yes, there are a few design-oriented notebooks, but they far from successful synergy of hardware and software. To cut this story short, we finally picked one of the very powerful notebooks from a well-known manufacturer. Specification was great, and I was pleased with its design. After a while, my friend called me and said that he was pleased in general, but there was a big problem since this notebook pushed hot air on the left side of its casing which is huge design flaw which presents problem for left-handed individuals. After this, I felt even more satisfied with my MacBook.

In this article we are bringing you a very simple application, which works very well Mac OS X’s aesthetics. If you’re a long term Mac user, than you surely appreciate its elegant aesthetics which is noticeable in hardware and software as well. And, just like me, you like to keep your desktop neatly organized and looking flawless. This is why you should try an application called Kuvva, which is probably the easiest way to get some of the best looking wallpapers.

Kuvva is currently quite popular with Mac App Store users, mostly because most users like those preloaded wallpapers which come with Mac OS X, but there are not much of them. This is why Kuvva connects you with some of the most popular photographers, graphic designers and illustrators, and presents their work right on your desktop.

Kuvva sits in a menu bar in a top part of your window, and offers only a few options. It is made to bring you a new wallpapers on a daily basis, so you can actually choose another if you don’t like the current one. Kuvva’s preferences allow you to choose trending wallpapers or the ones which are featured by Kuvva’s creators. You can also pick if you’d like to change your desktop image on a daily basis, or any other shorter or longer period of time. Finally, newest version brings you the option to control wallpaper behavior from the menu bar (which is a default setting), or from your dock. That’s basically all there is to this application.

Even though Kuvva might seem like a very simple application, it actually does its job very well. Most importantly, it brings astonishing images that would be hard to find online. The only remark is that you won’t be able to use it on a new Retina display, but it is expected to support it very soon.

SketchBook Express Review

SketchBook Express

SketchBook ExpressAutodesk is the leading software developer company who specializes in drawing applications. Even though its flagship application is AutoCAD, which sets the standard in CAD and highly technical drawing, there are also some nice (and free) applications used to produce hand drawings. One of those is SketchBook Express, available in the Mac App Store, free of charge.

This is currently one of the most popular drawing applications in the Mac App Store and it’s really surprising that Autodesk published such a competitive software for free. Still, there’s also a more advanced version of this application, called SketchBook Pro which costs $60 and it’s created mainly for professionals. SketchBook Express can be used to produce drawings by using your mouse or even better yet, a drawing tablet. Most of the talented and dedicated users will use one of the drawing tablets, which is an essential tool if you’re really serious in making the most of out of this application. Today there is a really wide range of drawing tablets, so you can easily purchase one for a low price.

When you start SketchBook Express, you’ll be presented with a blank canvas. You’ll also get a set of basic tools. There’s a pencil tool, airbrush, marker, chisel, felt tip pen tool, ballpoint pen, paintbrush, and several more. You can fine-tune settings for each of the previously mentioned drawing tools, so the possibilities are actually endless. It all depends on your talent and creativity.

SketchBook Express

Besides having numerous drawing tools, you’ll also get some additional controls which are located in the floating toolbar on the top of the Sketchbook’s window. This is where you can find undo and redo tools as well as some advanced selection tools. You can use selection tools within the Sketchbook to select a portion of your drawing to move, scale or rotate it. This could result in some very nice effects, which will come in handy once you become friendly with them. Besides undo, redo and selection tools, this is where you can find Layers window. Layers work the same way in Photoshop, for example. This means your drawing can be consisted of several layers, so you can have multiple combinations by pairing up different layers. This will come in handy to graphic designers during the early stages of a drawing project.

It’s important to mention that the drawing tools are pretty much intuitive and easy to fine-tune, but in case you’ve never used this type of software before, you would might want to go through some tutorials you can find online. Overall, SketchBook Express is a very useful and powerful drawing application. In case you’ve got some experience with this kind of software, you’ll become very familiar in just a few minutes. There are a lot of drawing tools and tons of fine-tuning, so you’ll surely get the chance to express your creativity.

AutoCAD WS for Mac and iOS Review

AutoCAD WS

AutoCAD WSAutoCAD is one of the standard tools for 2D and 3D designs for a wide range of engineering services and professions. It’s almost unimaginable in today’s world to work as an engineer without using AutoCAD on a daily basis. One of the biggest news from this company during the last year was the announcement on availability of AutoCAD for Mac OS X, since this application was Windows-only for a very long time. This move brought big success to Autodesk, the owner and developer of AutoCAD, this application offered several free versions which are now also available on iOS (iPhone as well iPad). This application is named AutoCAD WS and it’s the free version of the much more complex parent product.

AutoCAD WS is available on the Mac App Store for Mac OS X, and you can also use on iOS by downloading it from the iOS App Store. It’s completely free, without any hidden costs and it can be considered a stripped-down version of the official AutoCAD for Mac. However, this application is very useful and comes with many helpful features which will surely ease up collaboration within your team

First of all, you should know that you’ll need an internet connection since this a cloud-based application. You can also use it offline, if you previously downloaded drawings, so you can edit them. This means that all your drawings will be automatically updated on all your devices using AutoCAD WS which is perhaps its biggest strength. You’ll also need to have an Autodesk account, which is free. Using this account you can sign-in within AutoCAD (Mac and Windows), you even upload drawings from there, which will appear in your AutoCAD WS app and in your internet browser.

AutoCAD WS can be used to open DWG and DXF files, which are native for this application. Since this is not only a reader, you can use it to edit your drawings. These editing tools are basic, but they are just enough to make a certain adjustments to your drawings. For example, if you’re an architect working on the field, you can use your iPad to edit your original drawing and to write instructions to a team member, who will automatically receive revised drawing. As you can see, AutoCAD WS can be quite a time- and money-saver.

Other interesting and helpful feature is the ability to send a drawing to an e-mail. AutoCAD WS will convert it to a PDF file, so a client can review it without any additional software needed. Finally, you can print a file directly within this app, regardless of a resolution and file size.

MacReview Verdict:

Overall, AutoCAD WS is well worth downloading and it will surely become one of the most helpful CAD applications for all members of your team. If you manage to utilize it properly, it will save you a lot of time, effort, and money.