Tag Archives: apps

Instagram Alternatives: A Guest Post by Me

If you’re into Instagram or are curious about alternatives, see this guest post I wrote for Inkifi, a print maker of Instagram images. I cover five decent alternatives in detail (for bonus points, add me as rsmithing if you’re already on ‘em: 1,2,3,4,5). And please take a moment to comment at the Inkifi post if you can — thanks!

Instagram Alternatives

I’m Artist of the Day at iPhoneArt.com!

What an honor! The good folks at iPhoneArt.com feature me on the home page today:

iPhoneArt.com rsmithing

My art over at iPhoneArt.com

By the nature of the site’s name, you can probably guess what the site is about, and this is the second time I’ve been featured there, the first being in early 2012. My style has evolved greatly since then, becoming more refined in photomontage, and it’s wonderful to be noticed, especially among the ranks of so many other talented artists. This really makes my day.

I’ve written about iPhoneArt.com before as an alternative to Instagram, and the site continuously impresses me with all the compelling creative work shown there. And I’m not just saying that because they featured me, either. Definitely check it out and be amazed by what can be created with just a phone, some apps and creativity.

Big thanks to iPhoneArt.com for the feature!

What do you think? Have you been featured at a website before? Are you into Instagram or mobile photography? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Evernote, Three Months In

At the beginning of this year I made it a point to get in the habit of using Evernote. I’ve kept reading its praises and since I’m in the world of collecting ideas for future blog posts, it made enough sense to give it a try.

evernote

I should say that I’ve previously relied on emailing myself ideas, links, images and other content, filing them away under “read later” or “ideas” in Gmail. This has kinda worked, but I don’t really find myself going through that content often. The idea of a standalone app dedicated to capturing ideas and organizing them at least makes sense to me for that reason. I get the concept, but it’s still taking work to make myself use the program.

Part of the adoption curve for me is having content actually in Evernote. Without many notes to search, there’s not much to draw from, so I can see how some users may get turned off if, say, within a week or two they aren’t reaping tremendous benefit.

But so far for me, it’s been at least good for peace of mind, knowing that all the stuff I’d otherwise be emailing myself is now tagged and easily referenced. In fact, it was the process of going through my notes in Evernote that led to this blog post, so hey… there’s something! I’m interested enough to keep using it, and I’m surely only scratching the surface, given the capabilities some of its power users explore. There will be more to come on this for sure.

What do you think? Do you use Evernote or a similar service? What’s your process for capturing ideas, to-dos or things go investigate later? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Solarized Tree – Rainy Day Inspiration and Flickr Feature

Solarized Tree, by rsmithing

One good thing about rainy afternoons is how the ordinary can take on more beauty. Here’s a snapshot of a tree I noticed in the post-rain haze of my neighborhood. It takes on new depth thanks to the Dynamic Light app’s “solarize” function and some finishing touches with the TtV Photo Studio app.

Flickr Explore PageUpdate: We Made Flickr’s Explore Page!

About 24 hours after this post, I visit the source image at Flickr to respond to any comments, and whaddya know: it’s featured on Flickr’s Explore: Recent Photos gallery!

Flickr’s “Explore” galleries are curated collections of 500 select photos each day. Considering the site gets photos uploaded by the thousands every minute, that’s very flattering. Other categories include “The Commons,” and “Galleries” – and all are fun ways to discover interesting new art and artists.

What an honor – thanks, Flickr!

What do you think? Have you ever been inspired to turn the ordinary into art by way of a rainy day? What are your “go-to” apps for photo editing? Let us hear from you in the comments.

What Smartphone Apps Have Changed Your Life?

Has the way you live evovled by way of a smartphone app? What’s a non-standard add-on (besides maps, texting, etc.) that’s changed – hopefully for the better – the way you conduct daily life? Not necessarily saying they’re the very best, here are my immediate top three:

Instagram App1. Instagram

This app has literally changed the way I see the world and connected me with people from all over the globe through a very user-friendly interface, turning ordinary snapshots into art with the barest minimum of effort. I now see the world through “Instagram Eyes” and have gotten so much from what it offers Although the recent spam influx and terms of service update now have me exploring elsewhere, there’s no denying Instagram’s impact.

Dragon Dictation2. Dragon Dictation

This app listens to what you say and turns it into text. It’s like magic. It’s fast, intuitive, and lets you easily email, MMS, or copy and paste what you say. I’ve used it for years to handle texting and  composing blog posts, and it accurately gets the job done every single time. It’s been life-changing by by bringing my phone new functionality with incredible convenience and capability. Now that speech-to-text is built into the iPhone, I’ve been using Dragon less, but they were the ones to get it right first.

Pandora3. Pandora

This is the mobile version of the already robust website, but I mention it here because of how it’s impacted my enjoyment of music. Pandora is streaming radio where you create stations based on artists, songs or themes. It serves up related music, and gets better over time as you thumbs-up or thumbs-down what plays. I couldn’t begin tell you how much great music I’ve discovered this way. It’s a simple premise: “if you like this, then you might also like this” — and Pandora’s highly personalized  approach wins the day for me, even though I also enjoy similar services like 8Tracks. Even TheStreet.com says Pandora has “rendered terrestrial radio, on a grand scale, obsolete.” Consider how long radio has been in our lives as you consider that statement.

What do you think? What apps have made a difference in the way you do things? Let us hear from you in the comments.

Instagram Spam Protest: “Go Private Day” December 4, 2012

Instagram spam has been exploding, with no stop in sight. Formerly attractive hashtag photo groups are now becoming polluted with ads for more followers and get-rich-quick schemes: Instagram Spam

Hashtag: #OneDayWithoutSpam

Users have become increasingly annoyed at the situation, organizing an informal “instaprotest” by setting their profiles to private on December 4 and using the hashtag “#OneDayWithoutSpam” in related posts.

Instagram Spam

What do you think? Will a protest make a difference? Have you noticed more spam on Instagram? Could this affect Facebook’s stock price? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Up With The Sun: a MobileArtistry Feature

The Instagram-based group, MobileArtistry, includes me in their gallery today as a featured artist. I created this montage as an example of my style for the feature and did the following writeup on my technique. My huge thanks to them for the highlight.

Up With The Sun - click to see more like this at Pinterest

Up With The Sun – click to see more like this at Pinterest

Ever since seeing a book of Jerry Uelsmann’s photomontages in college, I’ve been fascinated with the art form and have since become motivated to become a professional graphic artist, designing for over 16 years now. Manipulating reality for artistic effect in Photoshop has always been my favorite part of designing, so when I discovered iPhoneography, and especially the app Photoforge2, which is very similar to Photoshop, I was hooked. It was seeing the evocative iPhoneography of Sion Fullana that inspired me to give it a go, and Sion was even good enough to share his guidance with me on what apps to get started with.

Repost of Up With The Sun at MobileArtistry

Repost of “Up With The Sun” at MobileArtistry

How The Magic Happens

I basically take photos all the time with my iPhone 4 of whatever I find interesting. When the urge to create strikes, I’ll mix ‘em up and see what happens. It’s really as simple as that. Sometimes I know exactly where I’m headed, and other times I’m just along for the ride, letting magic from the universe do the driving.

For this montage, I combined two photos I took on a Saturday in late summer: one of a wig mannequin at a beauty supply shop, and another of a rising cloud at a winery out in the country. Both were shot originally in with Hipstamatic, using the John S. lens. Wig girl was shot with Rock BW-11 film, and the cloud was shot with Blanko film. You can see the originals at my Flickr stream.

Originals for this montage - click to view at Flickr

Originals for this montage – click to view at Flickr

I brought wig girl into Dynamic Light and gave her the Solarize treatment. I also used Noir to get the right mix of monochrome highlights in the cloud scene. Next, I brought both images together in Photoforge2, each on its own layer. I set wig girl’s blending mode to Overlay, then selectively hid and revealed bits of each layer via masking. Finally, I did some minor cloning cleanup in Filterstorm, then added the copyright & signature with Phonto. I named this after a U2 song lyric in “Gone,” an expansive rising track that seemed appropriate for this composition.

What’s amazing to me is how, as I’ve become adept with a few apps, I can pull techniques from each of them almost like selecting colors on a palette. It’s like having a box of tools to achieve an artistic vision… that fits in your pocket and makes phone calls, too.

Thanks very much to MobileArtistry for featuring me – it’s an honor to be included with such beautiful, creative art. Definitely check out their great gallery for consistently innovative creations.