Book Review: AppAlchemy
I’m big on tutorial books to learn and become proficient quickly. They are a quick, concentrated way to learn skills and techniques to take my work up a level or two. For example, even though I’ve been using Adobe Photoshop since version 2.0 (I still have those install floppies as mementos), I just recently bought an excellent Photoshop tutorial book to learn more compositing techniques.
AppAlchemy is the latest interactive appBook on Experimental Photography Processes with iPhone Apps from Dan Marcolina, the Author of the critically acclaimed iPhone Obsessed Series. Where Misho Baranovic’s recent eBook was more on theory and shooting technique — valuable information and experience, AppAlchemy is focused on apps, processes and quickly learning many advanced production and processing techniques to give you the tools to really ramp up your apping skills.
Dan’s new interactive book, AppAlchemy is pure magic — a brilliant new iPhoneography classroom-in-an-app that is fun as well as a highly valuable learning tool, blurring the distinction between ebooks and media-rich interactive app.
Dan guides you through his list of 40 essential apps in 8 categories including:
Production Apps, like Photoforge2 and Snapseed
Grunge Apps, like Vintage Scene and Modern Grunge
Light and Blur Apps, like Tiltshift and BigLens
Toon and Graphic Apps, like Decim8 and ToonPaint
Film Looks Apps, like PlasticBullet and Dramatic Black & White
Camera Apps, like SlowShutter and CCD
HDR Apps, like Simply HDR and TrueHDR
Auto FXs Apps, like RetroCamera and Jazz
Dan’s great self-designed app lets the reader discover great app and processing tutorials, and with a touch or twist lets you explore the technique further, view videos and galleries and more. Users can interact and contribute to the work by adding their own comments at the end of each section.
Dan takes you through the capabilities of dozens of popular apps as well as a few hidden gems. App Alchemy guides the reader through each step, enabling them to learn as they recreate the amazing samples Dan has provided. Rich details, such as online galleries showcasing other artists work with the same app broaden the appeal of “AppAlchemy” as not only a tutorial but as inspiration as well.
iPhoneographer/Graphic Designer Dan Marcolina created one of the best book/companion app combinations previously with his aptly named “iPhone Obsessed”. His new interactive app, App Alchemy combines the best aspects of a traditional book and feature-rich interactive media. The app thoroughly covers new apps, updated apps, updated techniques and much, much more.
An internet connection is recommended for getting the best experience from the book. In order to keep file size down, AppAlchemy accesses the hours of video from the cloud. Also, the interactivity and user contributions really enhance the value of this eBook.
The design of the app’s menu/table of contents make it easy for you to locate what you’re looking for. The app’s interactive text/video tutorials are easy to follow. Either taken as a whole or taken in bits, AppAlchemy will have beginners apping like pros in no time and give more experienced iPhonegraphers a lot of new tips, tools and techniques to have in their virtual camera bag.
AppAlchemy is normally $8.99 in the App Store. It’s on sale today, September 21, 2012 for $4.99 for its launch. AppAlchemy is iPad-only. Requirements: Compatible with iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.