Art & Photography

ArtRage ($6.99): With that beautiful 9.7-inch screen, it’s easy to see how the iPad can be used for sketching and “painting”. ArtRage is a robust and feature-packed app that puts brushes, pencils, pens and other tools in the fingertips of users so they can create amazing works of art on the iPad.

ArtRage isn’t a normal “canvas” app, in that it actually monitors how much “paint” is on the workspace, so you’re free to blend, smear and spread colors easily (and cleanly). ArtRage also features “layers”, like Photoshop and you can record your paintings and play them back to see exactly how your work was created. This is an app for artists at all levels and at $6.99, you really can’t go wrong.

Color Splash ($1.99): Take those color photos, turn them black-and-white and add a splash of color with…erm…Color Splash. Pick a brush size and an area of the photo and start rubbing away to reveal the color underneath. For example, you can take a photo of your spouse holding her wedding bouquet and make the bouquet the only colored item in the photo. You can also turn things around and selectively make certain colored areas black-and-white.

Photoforge ($1.99): Think of Photoforge as the true Photoshop for the iPad. Crop, rotate, change exposure, add filters and even edit the color channels of a photo. You can control the brightness, contrast and saturation of any pic using Photoforge’s intuitive controls, or if you’re feeling particularly daring, paint an image using the blank canvas feature. Completed photos can be saved in a variety of sizes to the Photo roll to share with friends and family later on.

Marvel Comics (Free): The Marvel Comics and DC Comics apps are being filed under “Art & Photography” because, while they don’t let you create comic art, you certainly should be appreciating it. The Marvel Comics app brings Spider-Man, Captain America, Iron Man and all the other Marvel superheroes to your iPad in a gorgeous and space-saving presentation. Purchase comics from within the app, then read them using different methods, like the animated panel-by-panel mode or panning and zooming over full pages. And if anything happens to your iPad or the app, all your purchases are backed up to your account, so you can redownload your comics and start reading again in no time.

DC Comics (Free): DC Comics functions almost exactly the same way as Marvel Comics for iPad because both apps are powered by ComiXology. Read Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman (among many others) using the Guided panel-by-panel View, or enjoy each page displayed in all its glory. Purchases are backed up to DC’s servers, so you never have to worry about re-buying your past purchases, just like on Marvel’s app.

Penultimate ($1.99): This could have gone under Productivity, but Penultimate is so versatile, you could easily use it as a sketching app. Penultimate organizes your notes into “notebooks” and renders your strokes as realistic pen marks on paper. The app features automatic Wrist Protection to prevent stray marks from appearing on pages as your hand moves across the screen. Single pages or entire notebooks can be emailed as PDFs to anyone and you can share your notes with a classroom or boardroom by way of an external screen or projector.

Pixlr-o-Matic (Free): There’s no Instagram for the iPad yet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with grunge and lo-fi filters for your photos on your iPad. Pixlr-o-matic lets you apply various mood-altering, color-shifting filters and frames to your pics, then save them to your camera roll for later sharing. There may not be a social network built-in like Instagram, but it’s great to have all that room to get a good look at your photos under interesting filters.

Snapseed ($4.99): While similar to Photoforge, Snapseed does a few things and does them very well. Most important is the ability to edit RAW image files (on iPad 2/iPhone 4 only) and “tune” your images with a few taps on the screen. Adjust the white balance, color and saturation on specific areas of your photo, then apply a stylized border and share it with your friends on Flickr and Facebook.

Diptic ($1.99): Photos tell a story and Diptic is an app to help you tell that story. Adjust the color and balance of two or more photos, place them side-by-side and export your diptic to a variety of locations, like Dropbox, Evernote or Flickr. It’s hard to explain exactly what a diptic is without seeing it, so click the link above and take a look for yourself.

LIFE (Free): LIFE Magazine has a long history of beautiful photography within its pages. Celebrities, politicians, nature – LIFE has it all and now the magazine’s famous photos can be viewed in the LIFE app on the iPad. Flip through over 10 million HD photographs and share them over email, Facebook and Twitter so your friends and followers can enjoy them, too.

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