Tag Archives: Lets Hudl

Early age Hudl art class.

One of the surprise tablet finds of last year for me was the Hudl. I expected as little as it cost, I found I liked it far more than I anticipated.

…which is why I have 7 🙂 enough to do impromptu (and occasionally planned) tablet art classes for a range of ages.

This morning (as I had so much energy after yesterday’s adventure) I was booked to do 50 minutes of tablet art tuition for kids aged 6-14 and it was as much fun as it always is (although this time is the first class I’ve run with the Hudl’s in their lovely new cases, hurrah).

We stuck, almost entirely, to Autodesk’s lovely Sketchbook Pro app and, for the most part we drew Frogs and what they might be happy to eat. The kids, as always, did brilliantly:



 

 

Lots of fun 🙂 More pictures from the kids >>here<<

To explain the process, drawing upside down, I did this one; a Frog eating a fly ice cream:

…so it’s nice to see that the kids pictures were way better than mine 🙂

 

Mornin’ Drawin’: Talking Rubbish.

I often get asked where the ideas come from.

Basically everywhere and anywhere. The trick is to let them carry on running from something that starts off as an interesting idea to see where it gets to as an image, animation or so on. The only difference between me and anyone else who giggles about an object having a funny face on it is that I then scribble the idea onto a tablet and a certain amount of practise in doing so.

This mornin’*, for example, I was waiting for a bus as I generally don’t. Normally I walk into work but today I was carrying too much paperwork so I thought I’d take it easy on myself and it was only then, with 14 minutes of potential standing around time, that I noticed how much the wheelie bins looked like people, especially one nearby that had obviously had too much to eat.

So out came the trusty Hudl (which is probably my favourite tablet at the moment – fantastic little thing**) and I was scribbling away. 20 minutes later (sigh) the bus came and I’d drawn this. I didn’t have my styli on me (assuming that I’d only be doing paperwork today) but I did have a freebie pen with stylus tip in a pocket and that worked well enough, given the choice I had.

So. ArtFlow app? Any good? Well, for the money – certainly! It’s a corker at free (for a feature limited version) and less than £4 for the full on app. Apart for bang for buck value? The features are all there but the interface is a bit cludgey. There’s lots of travel around the screen to do anything and anything that you do do then obscures a good deal of the screen as you do so. So I’m not fully sold. But it’s powerful, simplified in places where it should be and probably in the top 3 art apps on Android as things stand.

And, of course, I’ve given you a title which is a gift if you want to add a comment… Talking Rubbish…? Well…

*Hence calling my pics as I get ready for work Mornin’ Drawin‘s*** as I try (and more often than I’d like fail****) to draw for 10 – 25 minutes before I get to work every day. Practise, practise, practise, for a start, but I also find it blows the cobwebs of the day before away in a pleasant manner…

**Admittedly the camera is a bit blah. This is partially down to the hardware and equally down to Android having a bit of a poor photo app imo. The rest of the Hudl is ace.

*** Which my iPhone repeatedly decides should be autocorrected as Mormon’ Darwin’. Grr.

**** I REALLY do need to start tagging things properly in Flickr for example.

Top five Android art apps… Start here.

The start here is a note to me, more than to you, dear reader. I’ve been meaning to find the time to update the Buyers Guide post I did at Christmas and have been utterly snowballed with work and… well, all sorts really – especially as the year comes to a close.

But, since buying some Hudl tablets to do art classes with I’ve been re-evaluating my relationship with Android and have been on a search for the art apps that I can enjoy working with and teaching to others. There’s a longer post than this to come but here’s a top five of the apps I sit and draw in. I’ve arranged them (a little) in order of complexity.

S-Note: Yes. I know. It’s not really an art app, nor is it available across the Android range. But it’s smooth and quick and, on larger devices, keeps a process recording of what you’ve drawn. I like it a lot and, on the S4, is one of my most chosen go-to apps. I thoroughly enjoyed using the app on the Note 2 and 10.1s I used last year.

Didlr app: available cross platform (oh how lovely that is to be able to say) Didlr is free and lovely to use. It has a limited colour palette but remembers the animation as a matter of course and allows you to share both the image created and the animation through a range of social media outlets. It’s a thoroughly enjoyable app to work with.

PhotoViva: a photo editing app at heart it has a playful and interesting drawing engine hidden away from plain view. Ostensibly there to add a hand drawn painterly effect to a photo importing a blank image will allow you to paint on top with a brush that rotates as you go or has a scatter effect built in, or a jitter on the hue and saturation values or… well… you get the jist.

Photoshop Touch: So we get to the big boys… Adobe have a long and cherished history when it comes to art apps and Photoshop is so synonymous with digital art it has become the defining verb. So it’s no surprise to see it on the list is it?

Well, actually, yes it is. I’ve got a HUGE amount of love for Adobe and Photoshop 3.3 LE was a pivotal moment for me in art software use. But Photoshop Touch is still ‘getting there’ as an app rather than where it needs to be. The UI is very good, although  the first screen you will see (after the loading screen) is a whole lot of clumsy. Sharing is also a bit quirky. Creative Cloud is great but not fully and completely integrated and the load time and occasional render time if you’re using a large brush at half opacity…? Well… The range of options is also, on the drawing side, a bit lacking (although to be fair the same criticism could be levelled at Didlr and PhotoViva) but the editing and photo manipulation tools are very sound.

But it is good and well worth the money. It’s funny how app store economies have skewed application prices – programmers and artists still need to be paid to develop – and Photoshop Touch is pricey for a mobile art package… but not at all when you consider the desktop prices. Maybe this is why it’s so infrequently updated? Regardless – I’ve got a lot of love for Photoshop Touch but often think more about what it could be rather than what it is.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro: While Photoshop 3.3 LE was a huge eye opener for me in what an art app could be Autodesk provided one of the first art packages that I fell in love with. While D-Paint on the Amiga was ‘the first’ Ani Pro was probably my favourite 2d animation app of all time. Sigh. Those were, very much, the days. I still remember paying ‘HOW MUCH?’ for a 486 SX with 512 m of ram (I think) to work with Ani Pro at home.

OK, back on subject. Eagle eyed readers will know that I have had a love/hate relationship with the app in the past. The UI takes a bit of getting used to and, even though I know my way around it now, I wouldn’t say I like it. The brush opacity seems bilked to the point of uselessness. The brushes are great but I truly have no idea how to associate them to UI slots nor the secret sauce of being able to swap between two brushes even though there is a button which says it will do this magically useful thing (on some devices anyway). SImilarly – some brushes will scale very large and others will not, but there’s no warning about which is which and often you have to rely on memory to remember the effect each brush type will have and whether it will be a fine or wide ended splash on the screen.

BUT – and it took me a while – it’s a fab app. On iOS there’s a process video recording tool which I hope makes it over the Android side of the fence sometime and the toolset of brushes and variables is very cool. It also works very well with pressure sensitive styli. I LOVE the symmetry paint – which I seem to remember them being the first to implement –  and some of the brushes are quirky and brilliant. There’s no real level of cohesion between the multi-platform nature of the app but, on Android, it’s probably my favourite go-to ‘proper’ art and design choice.

So there you have it: Android art apps in a nutshell. I’ll get onto an updated styli and iOS art apps list soon but this’ll have to do for the mo’. Masses of work paperwork to stop being avoided 😉

(Cheers: Didlr, Hudl, Nomad and Dagi styli, O’Hara white label stout).

 

Let’s Hudl again shall we?


So, let’s have a coffee break and chat on things Hudl related shall we?

First off – no favouritism and I haven’t been bought off*… I was starting up a youngsters tablet art class and needed 10 tablets. In the event the budget was limited and the max I could get was 7 Hudl’s, on launch day, at 7am after 5 days of 15 hour days for Eurogamer.

But, oh boy, they’re fab. I wasn’t expecting to like them as much as I do. The screen is very sound with good viewing angles and a lovely handling of colour and contrast (unlike some tablets I could point to which BURN YOUR EYES OUT WITH OVER-SATURATED COLOURS!!!)

Then there’s the physical size etc. The bezel is a good ratio although the screen is a little bit off the perfect golden ratio size of some other tablets. Once slapped inside (sorry, gently placed) a protective case it’s got a good feeling of solidity, weight and maturity – there’s very little in the way of rough edges and corners and my only complaint might be that the micro SD card slot is unprotected. Possibly the machine is a little heavy, maybe, but not overwhelmingly so and for the price by no means a brick either. To be honest I’ve drawn for an hour in a pub and on a bus with a Hudl and didn’t notice fatigue from the time spent holding it… It is a bit thicker than other tablets, a fraction, bearing a smidge of a reminder to the iPhone 3GS and the curved stylings more than, say, the squarer and blockier stylings of the Surface or iPhone 4/5 etc. It doesn’t have the beautiful stylings of the Lumias (and I am VERY interested in the 2520 as a device) but by the same token it isn’t in any way an ugly or old fashioned looking tablet. Why didn’t I choose a Kindle Fire HD instead? Well… To be honest that does feel like an older fashioned device to me – something about it feels unfriendly. Factor in the fact that, while the Hudl has a – at best functional – camera (whereas the Kindle Fire does not) and that the Hudl runs on stock Android to the Kindle’s Argos catalog OS it didn’t seem like a sensible trade off.

Regardless, as a tablet artist, it’s the screen and how it works with the styli that I’m most concerned about. Well, maybe processor speed versus art app functionality too. And in this case it’s, again, way up there. The normal test styli (the New Trent, Dagi, Pogo et al) all passed with flying colours and then I moved onto the bogey stylus for any tablet screen (and the curse of the worst): the Nomad Compose long hair stylus.

(photo taken using iPhone 4S and Olloclip).

Depending on the screen this stylus can jitter or intermittently lose connection (and thus become useless) and, to my surprise, there was none of the former and very little of the latter.

So, a perfect machine for a screen artist? Well, we’re still, in ways, at the infancy of the Android app store – I can only point to four or five stable art apps that I like on the platform and half a dozen others that do the business, just.

But the apps that it does run it runs very capably indeed. Photoshop Touch, Didlr, Sketchbook, Watercolor Pencil all fly on the system and are a joy to draw on and, again, I am coming at this from an unusual and specialist angle. I keep hearing good things about Blinkbox and all of the normal apps: Chrome, Youtube et al run as happily on the machine as they do on other tablets.

So, have had the tablets for a couple of weeks now, haven’t had that much time but still painted a few pics for the sheer joy of using the tablet with an art app:

Adobe Photoshop Touch.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

Didlr app.

Autodesk Sketchbook Pro.

So. A good machine for buying to let kids play with with little worry? Seemingly so. I’ve let my students at college draw on mine:

and also let 8 years old draw on them…

… and in all cases it passed every test with flying colours. Must admit I’m both surprised and delighted. As Tesco have said this is the first in a series of devices from them, and it’s obviously a successful one as they’re been VERY hard to get hold of since release, I’m intrigued to see where they’ll go next.

*Flipping wish I had been bought off pre-this post and vaguley hope I would be in the next 24 hours! 🙂 I’m sitting down with 10 kids on Tues to do tablet artwork in a sci-fi art exhibition and have only 7 Hudl’s. Three will have to be on iPads and tbh that bugs me more than it should. Detracts from the group nature of what we’ll be doing. That said, until payday and the devices come back into stock I’m reliant on interest from others *cough*hint*cough* or have to work around it with a cludge.