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.

AppAlchemy {coming to iTunes September} from dan marcolina on Vimeo.

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.

AppAlchemy - Marcolina Design Inc




About Marty Yawnick 1830 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, Pink Floyd, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Miki

    Aw drat. This looks like a really nice resource, but I don't own an iPad 🙁

  • Jay

    Shame it's only available on the iPad!

  • Richard Bailey

    Wouldn't it make more sense if this app was also available on the iphone so that it could be used when you are out and about with your phone. I like many other iphone users don't have an ipad. I remember being very disappointed after purchasing Dans book when I discovered the companion app was ipad only. It's kind of ironic that an app about an iphone can't be used on the very devise it covers.

    • annie

      Couldn't agree more. Bad decisions have a way of ruining things that would otherwise be pleasant.

  • She

    I just got it! Nice review!

  • Suzé

    It's very content rich and needs to be wifi, really. Dan's other books took up a lot of space. I'm really impressed by this newest offering of his. Although I use a lot of apps, I learned a few things today about several that I didn't know. I really like the way he uses video content in his books and the UI. I'm glad I purchased it.

  • Nigel Holderby

    I just downloaded it. Thanks Dan and Marty!

  • Geoff White

    Price has gone back up 🙁

  • CJ!

    Looks good but with the price jump I just passed on it.

  • dan marcolina

    Thanks all for the good thoughts… Don't forget to rotate the iPad vertically to see another level of information and please contribute to the resource page (rotate vertical) Also I know the price in the app store seems high but It really is an eBook and most ebooks are even more expensive then 8.99 Pleas send me any more thoughts Dan Marcolina

    • Hello I bought your fantastic appbook and I started reading your tutorials.In the first, in the 4 step I think there is a video from other tutorial.Is there a link anywhere so I can see the correct step or do you planning an upgrade soon? Congrats for your "baby" and all the best 🙂

      • Hey gio
        Thanks for the observation I just corrected it check it now!
        ALSO if you guys could give the app a review in iTunes it would be a big help thanks dan

        • Thanks Dan, I have noticed that already! I will sure write a review when I will read all the ebook.Its awesome and I am reading it while the same time I learn so much things for apps I thought I know good.
          It will make everyone a better iphoneographer.Looking already forward for many many updates.
          All the best! 🙂

  • I bought it yesterday. I'm barely digging in but it's awesome so far. Tons of content. I'm fortunate to have an iPad, but I can understand the disappointment of those who don't have one. I'd recommend this to my iPad having friends, I just fear the $8.99 will force many to wait for a sale. Perhaps it should have been listed under eBooks and it would look like a bargain. 🙂

  • kittywake

    yep–“drat!” I’m ipadless 🙁 And agree w/ Richard Bailey. Extremely ironic – but guess it would suck up my “other” storage space (of which I have little available) & then I couldn’t do anything!!

    • As a designer the iPad real estate allows me to design in a nice book form and allows the user to work with his iPhone as he reads or watches the videos on his iPhone. That said I am working on an abbreviated version for iPhone dan