Tag Archives: studio

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.

Corona Geek Guest Appearance

This past Monday I gave a presentation on Corona Geek about different graphics software that can be used to create app artwork. Check out the video with show notes here: http://coronalabs.com/blog/coronageek/corona-geek-hangout-92/ or just watch the video below.

GP Animations: A One-Man Studio

There are two reasons I choose to be a one-person studio instead of outsourcing or working as a team (except for The Phrase Game where I collaborated with Dan Williams). It’s not because I’m great at every part of app development, I’m actually not spectacular at any part, it’s because I have a $0 budget for my apps and I get bored very easily.

GP Animations App Budget

I just create mobile applications for fun (at least the ones that aren’t for my day job), so I don’t set aside any money for development. I don’t keep a stack of cash around my home office to purchase sound effects, artwork, music, or to outsource coding. To me, making mobile applications, books, and games is my way of relaxing and to learn something new. The fact that I’ve been able to make a decent amount of money from them is just a bonus, but money is never the driving force.

My first paid book app, The Perfect Pillow, was made because my wife and I knew that we wanted to start a family, and I wanted our daughter to have something to read that her dad made. I put it on the app stores at 99 cents just to see what would happen and to my surprise, it brought in decent revenue. I won’t complain though, app and book sales have actually paid for various home improvements and for my daughter’s first birthday party.

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Not having a budget for app development works out well for me because I quickly get bored with tasks. I’ll start writing the script to a children’s book and get bored after 10 minutes, so I’ll switch to drawing. When that becomes mind-numbing, I’ll switch to writing the code, then I’ll start recording various sound affects that I think I may need. Having to do every aspect of apps helps me not get bored with making them. Unfortunately, it also means that I’ll probably never become an expert at any particular part of app development since I’m always spread thin. Whereas big companies have the luxury of having separate departments for each division, GP Animations is one guy who is the developer, illustrator, animator, sound engineer, producer, intern, writer, UI designer, code monkey, and dish washer.

However, as I said before, this is my way of having fun, which is probably one of the nerdiest ways to relax. I’m not looking to become a millionaire from making them, but it’s certainly nice being able to provide an extra few nice things for my family from a book or app that I would have made anyway. This mindset may not work for you if you’re looking to make app development your only source of income, but the message of doing what you love can apply to everyone.

- Greg

Check out some of my apps and books at: http://gpanimations.com/shop.html