Strip Designer – iPad App of the Week
This is a regular feature of the blog looking at the various iPhone and iPad Apps available. Some of the apps will be useful for those involved in learning technologies, others will be useful in improving the way in which you work, whilst a few will be just plain fun! Some will be free, others will cost a little and one or two will be what some will think is quite expensive.
This week’s App is Strip Designer.
Be creative. Create your own personal comic book strips using photos from your photo album or iPhone camera.
Start by selecting one of the many included strip templates. Add photos to the cells. Position, scale and rotate the photos freely within the cells. Move, resize, and rotate cells to create your own personal layout.
Add text balloons, and position them on your photos. Choose font, color, opacity and text-size.
Add stickers with cartoon exclamations to spice up your stories.
While you work, you can freely pan and zoom to control even the smallest details.
Paint on photos or draw your own cells from scratch. Create masked images (“cutouts”) using photos from your photo-album, and position them anywhere on the strip.
Once you have finished your masterpiece you can save it to your photo album, email it to your friends, upload it to Facebook or Flickr, or create a Tweet with Twitter and Twitpic.
Haven’t you done this one before?
Well yes…. though then I was reviewing the iPhone version of the app and was the first app I reviewed for the blog.
Since then Vivid Apps have made the app universal which means the app will work either on the iPhone or natively on the iPad.
Though I liked the iPhone version
Overall the app works very well, but as with any comic app, the key is the thought and planning that goes into the comic design process and writing before you even open the app. That is something to consider if you want your learners to create a comic as part of a learning activity.
Since I got my iPad I have been thinking that the larger screen would be great for creating comics, so the other day I did some searching and was pleased to find that Strip Designer was now universal (missed that somehow in the updates).
So how does the app work? Well just like the iPhone version you start off with a blank canvas onto which you can place photographs.
There are various templates available.
Actually there are lots of templates available, you are bound to find what you need for whatever project you are working on. From a whole page, or a small strip, or a single frame, there are a lot of choices from which to choose. I was quite impressed with the range of templates and could see how I could fit them into the various ideas I had for making comics.
The app uses photos from your photo album, of course without the camera this means you do need to plan in advance or use the camera adapter and import photos direct into the iPad. The camera adapter certainly makes this app much more useful in a classroom situation as if you were using iPads in the classroom it is unlikely that you could sync the iPad with iTunes to get your photographs in from iPhoto.
Another way of getting images would be by “downloading” creative commons licensed images from Flickr or similar. These could then be imported into Strip Designer. You can resize images and move them about.
After placing the images you can add text, speech balloons and cartoon style “stickers”.
Alas you can’t create new stickers and are restricted by what’s available in the app. This is a pity.
There are various export options, either save to the iPad, e-mail or send to your favourite social networking site.
You can save the image and it will be of high enough quality to print, this one I made I have had to make smaller to fit on the blog!
One of the criticisms I would make that is though there are “filters” for the photographs these are standard photography filters and none that I would say could be used to comicfy your photographs.
One of the things I like about Comic Life app (for Mac and Windows) is that you can comicfy photographs. So if that is the effect you are looking for then you will need to get another app to do that and then import the images into Strip Designer. However if you are happy using “real” photographs then this app is great for that.
Comics have plenty of scope for enhancing learning or for learners to create their own comics to demonstrate their understanding. As I said when I reviewed the iPhone version, overall the app works very well, but as with any comic app, the key is the thought and planning that goes into the comic design process and writing before you even open the app. That is something to consider if you want your learners to create a comic as part of a learning activity.