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Friday, March 9, 2012

Apps for Artists

I bought an Ipad 2 about a year ago. It was a big investment for me, and I was not entirely sure how much I would use it. I loved it immediately, and keep finding more uses for it.  

I have been thinking about writing a blog about all the cool apps that are so useful for beaders and artists and I finally got to it.  

These are apps that I use.  I know there are lots of others- probably many that are better.  But these have been particularly useful to me.  Also, I have an Ipad, not saying that is better than another tablet, it's just what I have experience with!  I am sure these are apps are available for other tablets as well.

I am not posting a link to these apps because, well, it was just too complicated and time consuming.  I  do have a screen shot of each, and the name, so it will be easy enough for you to find them in your app store.  Most of them are free, I don't think any are more than $10.  

The app I think I use most is "HoursTracker".

It does just what it says.  It is a time clock for your ipad!  You can enter different jobs, the amount you want to charge per hour, as well as any other notes such as how much materials cost.  Then, every time you work on a piece you just clock in.  It keeps track of how many hours are spent on each piece and the amount you should charge for that time.  (doesn't include materials) The only problem I have with this is I forget to clock out, so by the time I notice it the next day, I have racked up thousands of dollars on it!  Luckily,  you can delete and change hours worked.

Most of you on the art show circuit have run across "Square".  It is a small credit card reader that plugs into your Ipad or smart phone.  It is free, with a % fee per card swipe. No paper receipts- the customer gets an email receipt.  A nice feature is that you can download your transactions to an excel sheet, which is nice for keeping track of things.

This is so great for those of us that go months without doing a show, and therefore not processing any credit cards.  My old credit card processor charged $50 a month even when I didn't use it. There is no monthly charge for Square. You need internet connection to process.  Other credit card companies are coming out with these readers, so I am sure we will be seeing a lot more in the future with different capabilities.

"Color Oven" is another fun and useful app.  Do you ever get stuck picking out colors, or kind of fall into a rut?  This app is like an interactive color wheel.  You can pick colors and see how they look together, adjust hue etc., or choose from color schemes in the app.  You can even import a photo and use the colors from that.  

I have a similar program on my computer, but the portability of the ipad makes it nice to have this close at hand when picking out beads.

"Penultimate" is a great drawing app.  Using a stylus, you can write notes and make diagrams.  There is graph paper as well as writing paper and I use this often to help layout my booth design.  I save it and take it right to the venue so I have a record of how it was set up the last time.


Although I don't use it a lot, "PhotoPad by Zagg" has come in handy at times. Like Photoshop, but a lot more limited, you can crop, color correct etc. photos.  Good in a pinch.
PhotoPad by Zagg

"Dropbox" is the last of the apps I will be listing here.  With this app, you can access files that are on your computer. I put all my show info here so I have access to it anywhere. I have recently subscribed to "Carbonite" backup for my computer, and so I can access the files that way, but Dropbox is free (limited storage). Also, you need internet access for Carbonite, with Dropbox you can think ahead (!) and download the files you will need right on to your Ipad.

I am no kind of authority on these things.  And definitely not a computer expert of any kind- I am just learning as I go.  Maybe in the future I will write a blog about all the other ways I use my Ipad.

I hope you will find this helpful.  My Ipad is now "obsolete" with the new 3rd generation being released.  But I can deal with that!

Gems and Jewels
Oh wait!  I couldn't leave this one out!  It is an interactive book rather than just an app (although it is in the app store, so I don't know)  It costs more than the others ($15? I think) but it is just the coolest thing ever! It is called "Gems and Jewels" It is exhibits from the Field Museum in Chicago.  It has tons of info on different gemstones and has beautiful photos of jewelry from the exhibit.  But the most amazing part is you can rotate the pictures and see the back of the stone or piece of jewelry.  It is a little hard to explain how this works, but it is like actually turning the piece around and looking at all sides. It is fascinating!!  I just love looking at the backsides of the jewelry!  It tells you so much more.

OK- done- sorry this was so long!  Till next time....

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