Tag Archives: apple

Luna Display Review

Last year, I backed the Luna Display on their Kickstarter campaign and I’ve had a couple months to use it. In case you’re unfamiliar with the Luna Display, it’s a dongle that allows you to wirelessly use your iPad as a second monitor for your MacBook. It’s available in USB-C and Mini Display Port models depending on your hardware needs. As of the time of this writing (10/17/2018), only MacBooks and iPads are supported.

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Since I have a 2012 MacBook Pro, I needed the Mini Display Port model. I typically use my Wacom Cintiq 21UX as a secondary display for my MacBook, but I recently took that into my office for a project, so the timing of receiving the Luna display was perfect since I no longer have a graphics tablet for my home office.

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In order to use the Luna Display, you’ll need the Luna Display, Astropad Standard, and/or Astropad Studio apps installed both on your iPad and MacBook. I have both the Luna Display and Astropad Standard apps and will cover the pros and cons of each.

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The Luna Display app is for anyone who doesn’t already own or want to buy Astropad Standard or Studio. It’s the standard app they suggest using with the Luna Display and you’ll need to run it on both your iPad and MacBook Pro at the same time. All you have to do is plug in the Luna Display, start the apps ,and everything auto connects. You’ll then be prompted to choose where you physically want the iPad to act as the second monitor (i.e. to the left, right, top, or bottom of the MacBook). It also asks if you’d like to use it as a retina display, but my MacBook Pro was released just before the retina MacBooks and doesn’t support this feature. Yes, my MacBook is that old.

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One benefit of using the Luna Display app is that you can use a 3rd party keyboard to control your apps. For instance, sometimes I want to go out on the porch to work on a project in Adobe Animate CC, but I don’t want to have to lug my MacBook around with me. This allows me to just grab my iPad, iPad Keyboard, and Apple Pencil, and I can control my MacBook from anywhere around the house. The keyboard is great for shortcut keys and full typing. The downside is that it doesn’t support pressure sensitivity while drawing. This can be problematic if that’s primarily what I’ll be doing.

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If I’m going to be relying heavily on pressure-sensitive drawing, I’ll boot up Astropad Standard instead. Astropad Standard is more geared for digital artists and supports full pressure sensitivity when used with an Apple Pencil. You’ll see the options for brush pressure-sensitivity and tilt appear in Adobe Animate CC when Astropad is running.

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The downside to using Astropad Standard with the Luna Display is that the 3rd-party iPad keyboard no longer works. Instead, you’ll need to use one paired to the MacBook if you want a physical keyboard. That being said, Astropad Standard does supply a soft button that brings up a list of customizable shortcut keys, which can eliminate the need for a physical keyboard.

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There is just a slight delay when using the Luna wirelessly, which you may not even notice if you’re not using your iPad to draw on and only want it as a second monitor. This seems to go away when it’s connected via lightning cable, which is my preferred method anyway so that way my iPad gets charged as I’m using it. It is something to consider, though if you’ll always being using your Luna wirelessly for drawing.

Overall, the Luna Display is a great addition to anyone with an iPad and MacBook Pro who wants a secondary monitor with which to travel. Also, any digital artists looking to use Photoshop, Animate, Toon Boom, etc. on a drawing tablet that can be taken with you will benefit from this. I like having it as a Cintiq substitute and I’m glad I was one of the first Kickstarter backers.

Picked-On Poindexter

For the past few months, I have been working with Huggable Melodies to create a storybook app to go along with their stuffed plush animal line. Today, Apple finally approved the iPad version and I’m happy to announce that you can download it for both the iPad and Kindle Fire!

It’s on a special introductory sale price of $.99 USD, so don’t hesitate to scoop it up before it goes up to regular price. It’s already featured in Kwik’s Showcase which you can check out here.

App Review: Scouting Thomas

As a father of a 13-month old, I’m always looking for new children’s apps that she’ll be interested in now and ones that she might have interest in years from now. It’s actually the reason I wrote, illustrated, and programmed the Colin Turtle children’s book series. I recently stumbled across a new app called “Scouting Thomas” through social media and I was instantly interested by the great artwork style.

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Opening the app, I was immediately impressed by the well-animated intro sequence of Thomas and Buddy roasting marshmallows.  I tapped on the animation, and Buddy’s marshmallow burst into flames and Thomas quickly put out the flames using a fire extinguisher. It was cute, funny, and being an animator and app developer myself, I was impressed that there was such fluid animation on a splash screen of an app.

The next screen I visited was the Jokes & Game page. Here you can tap on Buddy and watch him tell kid-friendly jokes to Thomas. The jokes are a bit corny and might be slightly too sophisticated for very young children, but I think kids in the demographic that Flying Monkey Pie Productions are aiming for, will enjoy the humor. The games screen offers a crossword, Scrabble-like game where users can solve questions by jumbling supplied letters. Here I was impressed that the app offered a game, a joke screen and an introduction animation without making the app running the least bit slowly on my iPad. The only qualms I had thus far were that the kids didn’t speak, you have to read everything yourself, and the controls to the game were a bit clunky. While moving letters around to solve a puzzle, you had to make sure that there wasn’t a letter in the space to where you wanted to move it, otherwise the letters would overlap in the same space. I would have liked to see the letters shift down one space to make puzzle-solving quicker and easier.

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One part I did enjoy was that after reading all of Buddy’s jokes, you get rewarded with a scout badge. Throughout the app, you can earn different badges for completing various tasks. I think kids would enjoy being rewarded for going through each part of the application and performing different actions.

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Next, I visited the how-to section. This section is an interactive portion that shows you how to make a contraption that shoots out marshmallows. You drag the parts on the screen connecting them, and when you’re done, you know how to make your own marshmallow shooter. You also earn another scout badge for completing the contraption in the app. I didn’t have the parts needed, so I did not get to test out actually making the marshmallow shooter. Could be a fun weekend project when my daughter is loder though.

There is also a theater section where you can watch a short animated film. I was really impressed by this because the animation is fluid and the frame-rate never dropped. I was probably more impressed by the theater than most people would be that purchase the app, but it’s probably because I know how difficult it can be to make a great animation and also have it play well on a mobile device.

There is a comic book section as well, where you can tap on each panel of a comic strip and have the speech balloons appear. This is where I would have really liked to hear the kids actually speaking, but I’m well-aware of the costs of professional voice actors, so I wasn’t terribly surprised by the lack of kids’ voices. Still, I think it’s what could have taken this app from being great to being a fantastic experience.

Overall, I am still amazed by how much the creators were able to fit into a single mobile app and not only that, to keep the quality of the work so high. Kids will love this app because of all of the different activities, and adults will be surprised by the high level of quality that the app displays. Pick this app up if you’ve got little ones and want to keep them entertained.

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The Phrase Game: Updated!

For the past couple months, Daniel Williams and myself have teamed up to create a new game app called “The Phrase Game”. I’m happy to announce it’s now available for iOS, Amazon Kindle, Nook, and Android!

For the initial release, we created 50 puzzles to solve based on popular phrases and idioms. We just released a free bonus pack of 25 puzzles that are a little more challenging as well as an additional trophy. We’re hoping to continue releasing periodic updates that give players more puzzles and trophies.

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Built with Corona SDK

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iBook: Creating Mobile Apps with Corona by GP Animations

Since I’ve been writing a lot of tutorials lately, I thought it might be worthwhile to write an entire iBook about creating apps with Corona SDK. However, once I got past the first 2 chapters, I began to wonder if anyone would even want an entire book on the subject.

To solve this question, I’ve decided to give away the first 2 chapters of the book for free. The only problem is, I hear it takes Apple quite awhile to approve iBooks so I’ll provide the link for the file here. Simply download the .ibooks file and sync it to your iPad via iTunes.

If you enjoy or hate the book with a passion, let me know and that will determine if I continue writing the rest of the book.

Click to download iBooks Version
Click to download iBooks Version
Click to download the PDF Version
Click to download the PDF Version

 

PDF Version Readers: Click to watch video
PDF Version Readers: Click to watch video

 

I’m aware of the typo in the poll question, I guess autocorrect got the best of me and now I can’t change it. Be sure to check your autocorrect, kids.