Art + Design

From the Design Desk: Snap up this App


When someone first showed me the app that turns your iPhone screen into a glass of beer that empties out as you “pour it” into your mouth, I was amazed. Nowadays there seems to be an app for all kinds of useless fun, creative endeavors, and even functional purposes.

Usually a functional app trades practicality for entertainment, but not the case with the MyPantone app. This app is a great tool for sampling colors using the built-in camera on the iPhone, but it also lets you play with developing color schemes and finding new hues. And you can save your color-nerd discoveries and share them with other color enthusiasts.

Filmmakers and video producers are raving about Hitchcock, an amazing storyboarding app. This video on Cinemek‘s site has me totally sold. I don’t need to make storyboards being a book designer, but Hitchcock makes me wish I did. Cinemek seems like such a cool company, they make being a “shooter” sound much cooler than a “lay outer.”

But with an iPhone anyone can snap photos, which is why all the photo-manipulation and filter apps rock. Toy Camera can apply a lomography filter to your digital photos. Quad Camera allows you to do continuous shooting and to set up neato grids of them, and they look awesome animated with the Quad Animator. But the king of photo filters is without a doubt CameraBag with their famous Helga filter. They also have Polaroid, Lolo, cinema, magazine, mono filters, and more, and you can overlap them and apply different borders.

Although the Get High Now app is not a creative tool, it’s definitely a creativity enabler (and entertaining). Based on the naturally trippy book with more than 175 mind-bending activities, the app has more than 40 audio and visual highs.

In a more soothing fashion, Brian Eno and Peter Chilvers’ Bloom App combines visual with audio in a beautiful touch-based music-generating program. You simply tap the echoey notes on the screen and determine the frequency and rate of repetition, and colorful circles emerge and disappear to the same tempo. Slightly more serious music makers are also excited about FourTrack, an app that puts a mutlitrack recorder on your iPhone. It lets you record and mix several tracks together that you record yourself (voice, guitar, etc.).

I was accused of proposing the idea for this blog post as an excuse to blog about I Am T-Pain‘s auto-tunes app. And it’s not entirely untrue. I Am T-Pain is such a fun app that, like the beer app, it does more than entertain—it too can spark the imagination. It’s generated a flurry of videos like CollegeHumor‘s Auto-Tune the News 8 (featuring T-Pain) and Auto-Tunes the News #2 that must be fun even for the dorkiest color-nerd, storyboarder, photo-taker, mind-tripper, music-lover, design geek.

Suzanne “Shawty” LaGasa

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  • kb September 29, 2009 at 7:28 am

    For the sake of accuracy: Auto-Tune the news was around long before T-Pain’s app and is not officially associated with CollegeHumor, as for as I know. Pretty sure it’s the independent creation of the Gregory Brothers:


  • Suzanne LaGasa September 29, 2009 at 10:33 am

    Thanks KB! That makes sense. I just happened to come across those videos on the CollegeHumor site. They have a ton of other funny auto-tune videos on there. I’m sure many of them from the before the app came out. But hopefully the app will help proliferate this genre of funny videos and D.I.Y. creations.


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