Illustration software that's easy to use
You take your life in your hands when you ask us to draw something. Look at the screenshots here, and tell us you can't tell that we're really writers with clipart. While it's obvious we don't spend all day coloring in fantastic illustrations, we do very often need to sketch out rough images -- and that's where Artboard shines. It is a fully-fledged illustration application of sufficient calibre that a full-time artist could work in it full-time -- but it is particularly suited to those of us who occasionally need a powerful tool, and don't want to dole out the cash for a monthly subscription to a software giant.
Google adds Colbert Report set to Street View using Business View
Google has recreated the set of The Colbert Report in Street View, in honor of the show's last episode. The virtual tour of the studio, including around the main desk and interview area, was created by Business View, a service which uses a Google-certified photographer or agency to take photographs at a location before generating the explorable 360-degree images.
Mac app gets demanded pinch-to-zoom option
Pixelmator Team has released updated Mac and iPad versions of its namesake image editor. The Mac update, v3.3.1, now supports pinch-to-zoom gestures on trackpads, fulfilling a popular demand. Resizing and scrolling options have been added to the Shapes, Gradients, and Styles palettes.
CFO Mark Garrett says company as 'completed' transition to subscription business model
As part of its fourth quarter and 2014 financial report, Adobe announced its agreement to acquire stock content marketplace Fotolia, and a new, often wished-for, collaboration feature in its Creative Cloud suite. Saying the firm had successfully transitioned to its subscription-based business model, CFO Mark Garrett said the company now expects revenue to grow sequentially every quarter of the year, rather than only when upgrades are announced.
YouTube adds GIF creation tool to some videos
YouTube has added an animated GIF tool to some of its videos. Spotted by Gizmodo, the tool appears under the Share menu, with users able to select a section of video and create a six-second GIF from the clip, complete with a caption at the top and bottom. So far, the tool has been discovered on some videos created by PBS, but it may appear on other YouTube content in the future.
Proposed tool would help keep photographs taken while drunk away from Facebook
Pictures of drunk people on Facebook may lessen in future, if plans revealed by the social network's AI research lab come to fruition. Lab head Yann LeCun wants to create a digital assistant for Facebook which is capable of detecting whether photographs being uploaded to the service are being done while the user is under the influence of alcohol, with the aim of preventing anything the user would find embarrassing when they are sober from being shown to visitors.
New webpage editor finds accessibility while incorporating detail
If your work or personal situation is anything like Chilton Webb's -- a freelance web developer, and head of Conjurebunny Software -- you may have wanted for an app that simplifies the process of web design, with specific attention paid to working on one webpage at a time, as opposed to an entire site. Conjurebunny's Landscape for OS X aims to provide tools "that can quickly assemble complicated webpages, without confining the artist to a template or a limited design," in a freeform style that is also responsive on all platforms. Currently priced at $40, Landscape purports to be at once easy and detail-oriented. Version 1.2 was recently released, so we gave it a bit of a test run to find out if it, in fact, achieves the middle ground it's aiming for.
Vimeo starts accepting 4K-resolution video from Pro subscribers
Vimeo is allowing Vimeo Pro users to upload 4K-resolution videos to the service. GigaOM reports that subscribers of the $200-per-year service can transfer the high-resolution video files to its video-on-demand platform, putting the videos up for sale and download by customers. While downloads are available, Vimeo is not allowing 4K streams to operate yet, with CTO Andrew Pile admitting the lack of device support for the format.
High accuracy of scripted bots prompts change in Captcha system
Google is updating the reCaptcha human authentication system, by effectively removing the Captcha element for the majority of users. Dubbed the "No Captcha reCaptcha," the new API will attempt to monitor the user's interaction with the captcha to see if they are genuine or a script, with most valid users able to simply click a tick box without seeing a Captcha at all.
Google updates YouTube counter after limit reached by Gangnam Style
Google has been forced to upgrade the counter used on YouTube, after Psy's Gangnam Style video exceeded its maximum value. The Register reports the video sharing site had used a 32-bit integer for the counter, which failed once more than 2,147,483,647 views of the video occurred. Google has now changed the counter to fix the problem, as well as showing what the counter would read if it kept using the old system.
Search separation proposal set to be finalized, voted on next week
The European Parliament is looking to break Google apart into multiple sections, according to a draft motion discovered by the Financial Times. The proposal seeks to separate Google's "search engines from other commercial services," in an attempt to curb the power gained from being the most dominant search engine on the continent.
Imgur, The Onion among initial partners
Google has launched a new service called Contributor, allowing people to pay to remove ads from participating websites. At the service's portal, visitors can pick which sites they want to contribute to, and whether to donate $1, $2, or $3 per month. Once a subscription is active, visiting those sites will display thank-you messages and/or pixel patterns in place of the ads.
Home Design 3D Gold helps users draft a design project on the go
Drafting programs on iOS aren't really new anymore. They've been around long enough for users to realize that most are overly fussy, or incredibly impractical with the touchscreen interface, and with some inherent inaccuracy for precise placement. However, there are a few great apps out there for just about anyone to use which take into consideration the limits of the platform -- Home Design 3D Gold, by developer Anuman, has plenty of practical uses.
App makes it easy to turn the 'caption a picture' technique on its head
These days, graphic design is king (again). More and more people are looking to play around with typography and imagery, particularly using their own photos -- whether it be captions on photos or a Facebook graphic. Rather than shell out money or invest time in learning complicated programs like Photoshop to accomplish this, a visit to the App Store is a great way to get started. TextMask, by youthhr, is a pretty neat app that allows users to create impressive text-masking imagery in just a few taps.
Developer edition of Firefox set to launch soon
Mozilla is increasing the privacy options available in the Firefox browser, with a few new additions. A "Forget" button has been added for the first time, alongside the privacy-focused DuckDuckGo as a default search engine option, with Mozilla also introducing a new version of the browser for developer use, one which should make creating add-ons for the browser much easier.
Includes Handoff, iCloud Drive
The Mac version of Pixelmator has been updated to version 3.3, codenamed Limestone. The interface for the graphics editor has been lightly redesigned, in part to match the flatness and transparencies in OS X Yosemite, but also to support the 5K Retina display on new iMacs. Another key addition is support for two Yosemite features, iCloud Drive and Handoff, the latter of which allows work to be shuttled back and forth with Pixelmator for iPad.
Alex Springer relents on Google News story fee demand in Germany
Germany's largest publisher, Alex Springer, is allowing Google to show snippets of articles in its search results and Google News. A number of major German newspapers restricted the information Google was allowed to show, in a bid to try and force Google to pay a per-story fee, but some have relented after discovering traffic to the sites went down far lower than expected.
Globe Theater opens video on-demand store for Shakespeare plays
The Globe Theater has launched a streaming service specializing in Shakespeare plays. Available globally, the Globe Player store offers a selection of performances filmed at the London theater, with a seven-day rental priced at approximately £4 ($6.50) and sales including offline viewing priced at £8 ($13) for each of the famous plays, though it also hosts a number of interviews with notable performers which can be viewed at no charge. Currently, the service only works through a web browser, but the service is considering creating mobile apps if the demand warrants it.
Gold-colored Moto 360 spotted on Amazon with matching metal bands
New color options of the Moto 360 are on the way, according to a leak on Amazon. The now-removed listings spotted by Android Police showed a champagne gold Moto 360, combined with matching 18mm and 23mm metal bands, with the existing black and brushed steel versions also shown by the online retailer as being sold with their respective-colored metal straps.
Versatile pixel color grabber offers 24 color formats
Visually creative professionals have long been in favor of using OS X to get their job done, in part because of simple, included utilities, like DigitalColor Meter. This utility allows users to magnify screen contents and copy the RGB pixel components, suited for those who seek a specific hue for their own design project - web, graphic or otherwise. This included tool is great, but for those who seek a more integrative alternative, we decided to check out ColorSnapper, priced at $5, to see if more features made a better pixel color picker.
win one of five copies of Printworks
MacNN just finished its hands-on review of Belight Software's latest update to their page layout and design software title, Printworks. This software can be used for everything from creating business cards and calendars, to CD labels, postcards and more, and for a limited time it's priced at only $30 (normally $50). We have five copies to give away to our readers.
Venerable desktop publishing program given 10 features voted on by users
Today Quark Software Inc. unveiled QuarkXPress 2015, the next major version of Quark's design and layout tool for print and digital publishing. Coming in the first quarter of next year, Quark promises that QuarkXPress 2015 will deliver increased performance with a new 64-bit architecture, efficient print and digital production, and many of the most user-requested features. The new version of QuarkXPress will continue to be sold as a perpetual license as opposed to a subscription service.
Win one of 5 copies of RapidWeaver 6!
Earlier this week, we reported on a major update to Realmac's web publishing tool, RapidWeaver 6. It is now built exclusively for Mavericks and Yosemite, and has a dozen major new features. Immediately, our team was hard at work putting RapidWeaver 6 to the test, and yesterday our full hands-on review was published. We aren't quite done yet, though -- MacNN has five copies of this software to give away to our readers!
Layer-based editor leans on 64-bit processing
Initially teased at Apple's iPad and iMac event last week, Pixelmator for the iPad has now been released. The app attempts to carry over many of the features of its desktop counterpart, including numerous brushes, effects, and adjustment options. Users can for instance control levels, curves, white balance, and hue and saturation. Individual sections of an image can be lightened, darkened, blurred, and repaired, or even distorted and transformed.
Improved graphic-focused website creator now more powerful
Just because you need a website, doesn't mean that the best option is to hire someone to create one out of whole cloth. The alternative is either learning HTML, CSS, and a host of other acronymic technologies, or seeking out all-in-one website design software that allows users to publish a website without requiring coding knowledge or a ton of design expertise. Realmac Software has announced the release of RapidWeaver 6, an upgrade to its longstanding website creation app, and we've had a chance to put it through its paces.
New version of font management package adds Dropbox, Google Drive sync
Extensis today released a major update to its Suitcase Fusion 6 font manager. The new version brings full OS X 10.10 Yosemite compatibility, Adobe Creative Cloud 2014 integration, font library synchronization with Dropbox or Google Drive accounts, as well as continuing bug fixes and speed enhancements.
Major update to RapidWeaver requires Mavericks, Yosemite
Realmac Software today announced the immediate availability of RapidWeaver 6, a major new upgrade to the company's long-running website creation app. RapidWeaver 6 has over a dozen major new features, hundreds of enhancements and refinements, and is now built exclusively for OS X Mavericks and OS X Yosemite.
Desktop publisher offers tools suitable for beginner and experienced users
Standalone desktop publishing software fills a need for those who want to create a variety of printed projects, particularly if seeking a structured, template format. Launched earlier this year, Printworks for OS X is an all-purpose page-layout and desktop publishing app that offers templates for a wide variety of documents, as well as the option to design a document from scratch. A comprehensive app currently available for $30 (regularly priced at $50), Printworks' attention to detail throughout the creation process of a document is suitable for personal use or for small businesses who are seeking software specifically for this purpose. Is it worth the pricetag?
Programs gain new look, tap into Yosemite features such as iCloud Drive, Mail Drop
In addition to updating its iWork apps for OS X to better support the formal release of OS X 10.10 Yosemite (and give the programs the signature design language of the new OS update), Apple has also updated iMovie, iPhoto and GarageBand with similar changes in the user interface and back-end improvements to take advantage of Yosemite features such as Mail Drop and iCloud Drive storage. In addition, the company issued what is likely to be the last update to Aperture, making it Yosemite-compatible, and also updated iBooks Author to version 2.2.
Suites gain Dynamic Blocks, previously Windows-only features
Autodesk is now shipping the 2015 Mac editions of its flagship design products, AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT. There are several major additions this year, including Dynamic Blocks, which can be used repeatedly in other design elements and simply tweaked in size and shape as needed. Improving parity with Windows, AutoCAD for Mac now also supports layer states, including data such as color and linetype.
Squarespace announces major platform update, adding Google Apps, Getty Images
Squarespace has announced the release of Squarespace 7, a major platform update comprised of new features and integrations. Squarespace provides tools for Web and mobile content creation, and the latest release aims to improve upon the rebuilt codebase of Squarespace 6. Using a new visual language, according to its Frequently Asked Questions page, Squarespace 7's icons and buttons are now clearer, simpler and more intuitive.
Desktop, mobile connectivity outlined by Adobe that includes shared profiles
During the Adobe Max conference in Los Angeles, the company kicked off with a number of announcements for items coming in the next release of Creative Suite. On top of adding a number of mobile solutions that connect to existing tools, Adobe added universal profiles and other enhancements to desktop applications. Additional tools that utilize cloud resources for creation and productivity are coming as well, including a talent search through Behance.
Clip marks first attempt at iOS-based video editing
Adobe has updated its suite of iOS apps, launching several new ones in the process. The most significant of these may be Premiere Clip, the company's first effort at mobile video editing. The title can be used independently, or in tandem with Premiere Pro CC; projects started on iOS can be automatically synced with Premiere Pro by way of Creative Cloud.
Year-old German copyright law interpretation in dispute between publishers, Google
Google has changed the way it shows articles in search results and Google News in Germany, as part of an ongoing battle against publishers in the country. Searches for news will now just show a headline and link to the story hosted on certain German news sites, removing the thumbnail images and article snippets Google usually displays for the listings.
Launches Elements Live portal for online learning, tips and tricks
On Tuesday, Adobe released major upgrades to its two consumer-oriented "Elements" programs -- the image-editing program Photoshop Elements, and the video-editing program Premiere Elements, now both at version 13. In addition, both programs now feature a new help and instruction portal called Elements Live that offers various tips, tricks and tutorials on using the programs. Both programs boast several new features.
Software creates dynamically-updating magazine apps, could aid publishers, iBooks Author
One of Apple's routinely-unpublicized acquisitions this year was magazine-app creator Prss. The firm, which created software that makes it easy to create magazine apps (and more importantly, to dynamically refresh them with silent updates), shut down this July -- and some of the former employees now appear to be working at Apple, according to Dutch enthusiast site iCulture. The iPad maker recently confirmed the acquisition.
DuckDuckGo unavailable in China since start of month
The privacy-centric search engine DuckDuckGo is unable to be used in China. Selling itself as a service which does not collect personal information about its users, DuckDuckGo has been inaccessible in the country since earlier this month, and though there is no official explanation from any party, it is believed to be an act of censorship by the Chinese government.
Country-wide redirection from Nokia part of gradual branding changes
Microsoft is slowly migrating away from the Nokia branding it has used since it bought the phone manufacturer's Devices and Services division. Visitors to Nokia.com located within the United Kingdom are now being pointed towards the mobile sections of Microsoft.com, with the Microsoft Mobile Devices site also receiving a refresh in the process.
Founder bills Netropolitan as social network for the affluent
A new social network for affluent individuals has launched, with an unusual membership strategy. Netropolitan is billed as the "world's most exclusive online community," with new users looking to sign up to the service required to pay $9,000 for the first year's membership fees, followed by annual fees of $3,000 in subsequent years.
Part is likely to be the PowerVR Series6XT GX6650, running at 1.4GHz
An analysis of the claims of Apple and leaked benchmarks with regards to the graphics performance and technologies in the new A8 chip that powers the iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus indicates that Apple has likely moved to a new PowerVR GPU. The most likely candidate is the six-core PowerVR Series6XT GX6650 made by Imagination. Apple is also likely using a revised version of the Cyclone architecture, first used in the A7, to manage graphics processing.
Adopts drop-down menus, other touches
To accompany its iPhone and Watch announcements, Apple has launched a redesigned phone edition of its website. It sports a flatter look, in keeping with iOS 8 and OS X Yosemite, and includes a drop-down menu for jumping to different product categories or the online store. Depending on the product, further submenus are hidden as drop-down items or immediately swipable.
One combination pen and stylus released, two Bluetooth pens shown
Wacom has unveiled a series of new devices at the German IFA show this week. Starting the reveals are the third-generation Bamboo Stylus Solo and Bamboo Stylus Duo as a combination with a traditional ball pen for use on capacitive devices and paper. Also revealed are the Intuos Creative Stylus 2 for sketching, drawing and painting on an iPad. Finally, the Bamboo Fineline is a smart stylus with new "thin tip" technology for precise work with an iPad.
Free subscriptions for basic users, paid Pro level for photographers
After years of good reviews as a series of iOS apps, Autodesk has now brought its image-editing app Pixlr to the Mac. While it bears great resemblance to the myriad other filter-and-effect photo editors from the iOS world, the app does offer some features rarely seen in competitors, such as a "double exposure" collaging feature. As with the company's Sketchbook, Autodesk offers several "tiers" of use, the most "pro" level of which is available on an annual or monthly paid subscription.
Also gains new Text and Shape Cutter tools, Smart Edges
Corel has released PaintShop Pro X7, a major upgrade of its photo-editing suite. The biggest addition is said to be Magic Fill, a Photoshop-like "content-aware" tool that can erase an object and replace it with content that matches the background, even if that background is varied. Several other tools have also been added, including Text and Shape Cutters -- used to create objects based on underlying images -- and Smart Edge, which prevents brush strokes from crossing lines.
Firm has worked with Dell, HP, Logitech on a wide variety of consumer electronics
Google has acquired design firm Gecko, in an effort to bolster its Google(x) product manufacture efforts. The firm has previously done industrial design work for OLPC, Logitech, Sling Media, Herman Miller, Hewlett-Packard, and contributed to the Fitbit design, pre-launch.
New guide panel makes TV YouTube interface closer to desktop view
Google has overhauled the design of its YouTube for TV interface, and has started to roll out the changes to its set-top box apps. The new user interface, taking on many of the characteristics of Android L's Material Design scheme, aims to simplify searching for channels and specific videos for those preferring to watch YouTube clips on a bigger screen.
US Digital Service created to avoid issues similar to Healthcare.gov launch
The Obama administration has launched a new team dedicated to managing the IT practices of government agencies. The US Digital Service (USDS), headed by former Google engineer Mikey Dickerson, aims to help government-created public IT projects work as effectively as privately-owned services, in order to avoid issues similar to the ill-fated Healthcare.gov launch, a project Dickerson helped rescue.
OpenGL 4.5 released, group asks for participation in Next Generation OpenGL Initiative
The Khronos Group make a number of announcements regarding OpenGL today at SIGgraph 2014. On top of a number of industry implementations of OpenGL ES 3.1, the group announced the release of OpenGL 4.5. Khronos also unveiled a new project called the Next Generation OpenGL Initiation, in turn asking for participation in the project to help "define a future standard for high-efficiency access to graphics and computing on modern GPUs."
Macphun updates UI, image processing engine, adds effects
Image software maker Macphun has updated its FX Photo Studio for iPhone to version 6.0, revising its effects categories, improving the image-processing engine and updating the look of the app to a more modern UI design. The app, which has been downloaded more than 1.2 million times since the beginning of 2014, allows users to stack effects as well as adjust portions of the image using a Mask tool. It carries a complete selection of over 200 effects and filters -- combinations of which can be saved as presets -- alongside standard camera app editing tools. To celebrate, the app will be on sale until Monday for just $1, one-third of its normal $3 price.
Withings aiming for Activité smartwatch release in October
Withings is aiming to put its Activité smartwatch on sale in October, CEO Cédric Hutchings has revealed. At the same time as advising to Wareable about the updated release schedule for the wrist-based device, Hutchings highlighted the stylish and minimal design of the Activite compared to other smartwatches, claiming "We found that wearables were not that wearable." The Withings Activité will apparently cost around $500 at launch.