Art on an Android

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It seems that the current level of creating quality images on mobile consists of sticking an Instagram filter on it, which reduces the resolution to that of a postage stamp and leaves it looking as faded as your mum & dad’s honeymoon snaps.

Instagram it’s fun and all but, ironically enough, it’s starting to look old. These tiny computers we’re all carrying around in our pockets are capable of much more. They say the best camera is the one you have on you and I want to see how far I can extend that idea to digital art, using nothing but the devices I carry around with me anyway.

With that in mind, while we were in Germany recently visiting my family-in-law, I took the time to experiment with the photo editing and illustration tools available for Android. Every app I used is available for iOS too, but both my phone and tablet have a proper, pressure sensitive Wacom stylus with a fine nib, rather than the thumb width, drawing-with-Crayola affair that every third party stylus for iOS seems to be.

The image above started as a photo which I then messed around with in Photoshop Touch to pass the time on the train journey to Munich airport.

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The shadow caught my eye here when I was sitting on the couch reading. The photo looked more dramatic when I made it black and white, then played around with levels in Snapseed. As for the red flowers, I know they scream CHEESE! (especially since, in real life the flowers were yellow!) but I just wanted to try air brushing a photo in Sketchbook Pro.

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Fairly unaltered photos these two. I just straightened, cropped and adjusted levels in Snapseed, pushing the reds and greens right up like the sad Jeunet fanboy I am.

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I also plan on doing a bit more work with video. Just a short, uneventful clip here with a few different angles so I could try editing clips together on mobile.

Everything above was done completely on my phone, which is a bit small for really detailed illustration work. Fortunately, the drawing below could never be described as really detailed illustration work, but was done on the larger screen of my tablet. Not my best illustration ever, it’s just a sketch really,  but there’s a few nice details like the reflection on the side of the piano and on the glass of the cabinet. I’ll always just feel more comfortable drawing in vectors and haven’t found a solid vector drawing app for Android yet.
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The screen of the tablet is exactly the same size as my creaky old tablet pc, which is capable of running the full Adobe Creative Suite, (albeit CS3) on which I’ve produced some of my best work, but that weighs the same as a house brick, has a mouse powered processor and has about 20 minutes battery life from a full charge so isn’t exactly portable. For that reason, I’m hopeful we’ll eventually see something as fully featured and professional as Adobe creative suite on Android.

I’ve just added a Wi-Fi camera to the mix, just in time for summer holidays, so I can send photos from a ‘proper’ camera, straight to Flickr, or onto my phone or tablet for editing, without any need for cables and PC’s.

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