Tag Archives: iPhone Art

Imaginary Pursuits Part 2

Yesterday, I shared images and descriptions of several of my CD album cover mock-ups.

Here are the rest of them. In 2015 I shall be creating another series of album cover mock-ups. For fun, and because I can LOL.

image I saw these birds sitting on telephone wires early one morning, and they reminded me of musical notes on manuscript paper. Hence the title “Dawn Chorus”.

image This one was inspired by a visit to the Art Gallery on Western Australia. The poor puppet was squished into a display cube, perfect for my CD album cover.

image This was actually a giant shoe at an exhibition in Perth. I decided it was too good to pass up on.

image I seemed to like telephone/telegraph poles and lines a lot. The pole, line and tree are real, the “struck by lightning effect” is actually from a photo I took of an abstract painting.

Enough said!

The Griffin came from an exhibition
I decided it was too Harry Potter to pass up on, hence the title.

The Orang Utan image came from the Taiping Zoo in Malaysia. I simply transported him digitally to the Great Eastern Highway, Perth, Western Australia.

These socks were tied to chainlink fences outside the derelict Guildford Hotel in Guildford, to protest the Council’s blocking of the hotel owners’ efforts to repair and restore the building to its former glory, after its roof was blown off in a storm several years ago.

The Moon image is from an App, I simply used it to illumimate and contrast with the branches of a cherry blossom tree.

Now this one Really became a true-to-life CD album cover. It was for hubby’s electronic music, under his name ElectroCelt. I had fun creating this, using the Apps “Deco Sketch” and “Phonto”.


Imaginary Pursuits Part 1

Sometime back in 2011-2012 I created several CD album cover mock-ups. Partly for fun and also partly in preparation for hubby ElectroCelt’s own music production…in case he was ready to release his music as an album anytime.

I had a lot of fun creating my mock-ups, and I think in 2015 it’s time, perhaps, to make up a few more mock album covers.

Anyhow, I never really got around to explaining the images behind the mock-ups. And now I will. So, without further ado, here are some of my personal favourites from my collection. (These were done on my old iPhone 4, so it will be interesting to see what I can do with my new Samsung Note 4 next year).

I loved mushroom-hunting when I lived in Spain. These 2 common mushrooms were found near my kid’s school in Australia, the sight of them brought back happy memories. So I thought I’d immortalise them with a trippy, almost 3-D effect. The title “Underground Empire” actually relates to the fact that mushrooms and other fungi first grow as an intricate system called mycelium under the earth, and what we see above ground and eat are actually its fruit.

I spotted this very Australian bird, the kookaburra, sitting on a telephone wire, and just couldn’t pass up on the chance to create some puns. See how many plays on words you can spot here.

Mahogany Creek is the name of an actual place, somewhere near the township of Mundaring, along the Great Eastern Highway out of Midland near Perth, Western Australia. It was autumn when we drove through it one year, so I thought it fitting to create an autumn-themed CD album cover.

With this one it was the huge billowy clouds that inspired me. Hubby liked the title so much he has actually named a musical track of his after it.

I was inspired to create this after visiting an exhibition about scientist Nikola Tesla in the city.

I had several dozen images of cemetery statues on my, which I processed using predominantly the App Snapseed’s grunge and vintage filters. This is one of them. (Yes, I am susceptible to lurking about in cemeteries LOL).

The tree-house was from a visit to Malaysia to see my ailing grandma in 2011. The plane was from the airport. I put the two together and named it “Leaving The Nest”, which is essentially what I did back in 1992 when I left Malaysia to study in England.

This is a composite photo of 2 images from the movie “Legion”, which I shot on screen. I liked how they appeared to fit together.

This was a fun one to create. The rows of bins were from an outdoor festival we’d been to. I just added the gore and suggestive title.

This big tree, seen on one of our road trips along the coast, was the inspiration. Silver Gum and Paper Bark are 2 species of Australian gumtrees.

More to come in tomorrow’s post.😄

My Profile/Bio updated

Just updated my Profile/Bio on 500pix and thought I might as well post it here, for those of you who are wondering who I am and what makes me tick :’).

I’m an iPhoneographer/iPhone Artist/mobile photography artist based in Perth, Western Australia. I love taking images of the mundane, trivial and pedestrian, and turning them into something extraordinary and special. My website is http://alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow. I am also on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/alyzenmoonshadow. I have my work up on several online sites such as: Redbubble at http://www.redbubble.com Zazzle at http://www.zazzle.com FineArtAmerica at http://www.fineartamerica.com deviantArt at http://alyzenmoonshadow.deviantart.com  Society6 at http://www.society6.com/alyzenmoonshadow and ArtOfWhere at http://www.artofwhere.com/alyzenmoonshadow. When not engaged in making mobile photography art and design, I also like to set my images to accompany original music, by creating YouTube videos using iMovie on the iPhone 4/iPad/Macbook Pro. To date, I have created several YouTube videos for the electronic musician ElectroCelt (who also happens to be my husband), you can find them under my publishing name or channel “electroceltess10” on YouTube. My first outside collaboration with another musician, Brian Vassallo, set my images to his electronic music track entitled “I Am Always In Your Heart”. I am also a Classically trained musician currently working on composing music on my Yamaha Tenori-On. You can follow my work and my words on my blog http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.com

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“Print on Demand” Book Publishing

I have to date published 3 books of my images, being “Dalienutopia”, “The iFlower Series” and “Surreal”.  These were all done through different publishers, as I was (and still am) exploring which one would ultimately be the best one for me.

“Dalienutopia” was my very first book.  The title is a play on the words “Dali”, “Alien” and “Utopia”, the word imagery I was aiming for is the strangeness of Salvador Dali juxtaposed against the backdrop of a Utopian world, in an alien surrounding. Close to where we lived at first in Perth is an area called the Baigup Wetlands, which is mainly a swampy area where you’ll find silvery grey gumtrees with exposed roots sticking out of the water, and lots of native birds. It really is a strange environment to find yourself in, and I was reminded immediately of Dali’s famous “Swans Reflecting Elephants” painting.

Here is the link to the book “Dalienutopia“,  the publisher is Blurb (http://www.blurb.com). If you click on the link it brings you to the Preview page, and if you click on the shopping trolley below the preview pictures (please make me happy and do so!), you can purchase the book for yourself.

My second book, in 2012, was “The iFlower Series”, at a time when I was so enamoured of flower photography that I simply couldn’t walk past a single flower without whipping out my iPhone 4 and snapping away at it from every conceivable angle. I’d had problems using Blurb’s “Booksmart” template, and in the end a techie from Blurb had had to reset the template for me online as I couldn’t get in to edit my pictures. So, not wanting the stress of going through that again, I decided to try out Lulu instead (http://www.lulu.com).  It was easier to navigate, however I found the quality of the paper wasn’t as good as Blurb, plus it offered fewer size options. But, it was cheaper.

Here is the link to preview and purchase “The iFlower Series“, again please do check it out, thank you!

My third foray into self-publishing was the surreal “Surreal”, this time published in 2013 by Mixbook (http://www.mixbook.com). Mixbook claims to be have of the easiest user interface, and indeed it was a doddle creating my book using their templates. The price was more expensive than Blurb or Lulu, however. With Lulu I was able to get a 52-page book for just over $15, but for a similar price Mixbook could only offer me 20 pages. At the time I published “Surreal”, I was into my surreal phase of photographing everyday images and then distorting or blending them with other elements to create a sense of the unreal…some of the images are quite unsettling!

Click the title to preview and purchase “Surreal“.  Thanks for looking! 🙂

Here is a handy page with a run-down of various Print On Demand Book Publishers, and their pros and cons.  3 years ago, when I started researching Print On Demand, the list for the Top 10 was very different and included Blurb, Lulu and Mixbook…the story is very different now, judging from this current list http://online-book-publishing-review.toptenreviews.com. Just goes to show how we live in exponential times, and things move by so swiftly and change happens so fast, that if you stood still and blinked, you’d be passed by in an instant. The article might be of use to you if you are considering going down the route of self-publishing yourself. Self-publishing can be as simple as creating a book for your own enjoyment, and that of your family and friends, or it could work out to cost $$$$ in marketing and advertising if you’re wishing to conquer the world.

This article here provides a useful insight into the pros and cons of “do it yourself” publishing i.e Print on Demand, as opposed to applying to mainstream publishing houses.  Of course, this is only one of many articles online that discuss POD. It seems that everyone is a writer/photographer/artist/poet/actor/musician/etc today! 

As for myself, no, I still haven’t found the Holy Grail of POD book publishers. But I seem to have fed my self-publishing daemon and have managed to move on to other projects and aspirations. I may come back to this at a later time, as I would like to see my books available on mainstream sites such as Amazon…I understand having a Blurb book these days comes with inclusion into Amazon’s listings.  But, my first and only experience creating my book on Blurb wasn’t particularly stress-free, and I’m not quite ready to go through that again just yet.

There is one POD publisher that I would like to use, as I’ve not found any other that offers printing on matte paper.  I love magazines that use matte paper instead of the usual glossy paper (Frankie is one of my favourites).  It just gives the whole magazine a more organic, handmade feel, like some arty journal. The publisher’s name is Artifact Uprising, and they offer a surprising number of templates and styles you can choose from.  However, as I live on Mars in Australia, their FAQ points out that it will cost me $68 (!!!) to send just ONE book to me. Which makes it economically NOT viable for me to go down this avenue. To those of you lucky enough to be living on this planet, I would recommend that you check out Artifact Uprising. Definitely  one to watch!

The (non-existent) Mobile photography art scene in Western Australia…or, How Hard It Is Being Western Australia’s Only Mobile Photography Artist

I touched upon how I became an iPhoneographer in an earlier post (“iPhoneography and me”).  Now I’d like to expand on that and go into details about my ongoing journey of discovery, and how living in Western Australia is helping or hindering my artistic endeavours.

When I first started out in iPhoneography in December 2010, shortly after arriving in Australia, the concept of mobile photography was still in its infancy.  Apple was marketing the multitudinous functions of its iPhone, but not the photography side of it.  When I happened to mention the word “iPhoneography” in social circles, I would be met with a blank stare and the conversation would swiftly move on to other things.  Maybe it was an Australian thing, for certainly when I mentioned “iPhoneography” amongst my European and American counterparts, they knew what it was all about.

Nevertheless, undaunted and unflustered by an overwhelming lack of  public interest, I approached the Perth Apple Store and instigated Western Australia’s first iPhoneography exhibition and talk.  I rounded up 6 other budding iPhoneographers, and we submitted a total of 12-15 images each, which were displayed on large Macs at the Store in July 2011.  Each artist got his/her own Mac and the images were rotated in sequence.  I gave a short demonstration on iPhoneography, followed after by another iPhone artist, and then everyone mingled and fielded questions afterwards.  I like to think it was a great success, however I’m not convinced Western Australians were ready for mobile photography art then, or even now, as there hasn’t been an iPhoneography exhibition at the Perth Store since.  However, in Europe and America and even the Eastern Seaboard of Australia the Apple Stores have had numerous exhibitions and workshops, giving my fellow artists there a chance to shine, while back in this backwater I think I may be the only active mobile photography artist around!  Thankfully there is the world wide web and various forums and online communities dedicated to the art, otherwise I think I would be working in a vacuum.  It sometimes does feel that way, when I read about my fellow artists meeting up for photography walks and chats, or giving workshops and demonstrations on iPhoneography, or having exhibitions at this gallery and that.

As for myself, I must admit that Western Australia is proving to be as barren as its deserts, culturally. Here we have a dual speed economy, where society is split into the haves and have-nots, the haves being those in the mining services industry who easily earn over $150,000 a year, the have-nots, who consist of us other mere mortals.  The Haves make up about 5% of the population but have driven up the cost of living for the other 95%, so much so that people are struggling to meet their weekly bills and home loans. The same appears to apply to the Arts scene…there is an invisible echelon of anointed and chosen people who get their work into galleries, have openings and occasionally sell a painting or two.  Then there are those who struggle to even get a response from galleries.  I fall into the latter category; 80% of my emails to various art galleries around the Perth region remain unanswered 6 months later.  It could be disinterest, maybe their eyes glaze over at the mere mention of “mobile photography art”, or maybe the general belief is that it’s just not good enough to grace their walls and the walls of their clients’ homes.  Maybe “mobile photography art” is somehow NOT real Art??  I followed the advice given by marketing books, and sent chase-up emails, and then further chase-up emails…and still the stubborn 80% of them remain silent and unobtainable.

Every so often, on the other side of the world, or just the other side of Australia, I hear about a mobile photography artist who’s been selected to judge a contest, or who is having a solo exhibition, or who has been picked to join a gallery, or who has sold a number of framed images, or who’s been invited to give a talk/write an article/write a book, contribute to a group show, fill in the blanks yourself.

I made the decision a while back not to participate in any contests/competitions that required an entry fee.  The only ones who benefit from these contests/competitions are the organisers.  Nowadays I will only take part in free competitions.  I once made the mistake of paying quite a large sum of money to enter my images into a Georgia O’Keeffe photography competition.  I submitted 10 of my best images of flowers, those that I’d received feedback on, with people saying they bore an uncanny resemblance to Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings.  Did I get even an honourable mention?  Nope!  And the winning images that I saw later on were drab and mundane and ordinary.  That was the last time I parted with my hard-earned cash entering a photo contest.  Maybe one man’s meat truly is another man’s poison.

And so, while my fellow iPhoneographers were busy perfecting their chosen techniques and styles, I was busy exploring other aspects of mobile photography art.  In September 2012 I bought an Olympus E-PM1 digital camera, with the idea to use its 10 MP camera to print extra large images at high resolution.  I was using it in conjunction with my iPad 2 (which I bought about 2 months before Apple released the iPad mini grrrr!!), but transferring images from the Olympus to my MacBook Pro and to my iPad, and then working on them, proved cumbersome and time-consuming.

Then the Samsung Galaxy S3 came into the market.  I did my research, saw that it was (IMHO) The best Android mobile camera around, and even though the camera was only 8MP, it was still more attractive than the new iPhone 5.  So I jumped ship in November 2012, and bought myself a Galaxy S3.  And as a consequence I inherited the best of both iOS and Android worlds.  By then I was researching printing methods, and chafing at the old problem of mobile phone image sizes being too small for commercial purposes.  I use Perfect Resize 7, by the way, so I know I can increase my image sizes up to 10 foot by 10 foot, within reason.  I wasn’t too concerned now about image resolutions, as the Samsung Galaxy S4 was announced in March 2013, and by June 2013 I became an early adopter of an S4 with its 13MP camera.

Right now I’m investigating and researching the field of Art Licensing and Publishing.  By Licensing I mean letting companies use my images for their homeware products such as bedlinen, curtains, china, etc etc.  By Publishing I mean getting my images onto greeting cards, calendars etc.  It’s hard work searching out these companies as there is no Magic Directory of names and numbers one can use.  I believe the book that I need hasn’t been written yet.  Once again, Western Australia did not fail to disappoint me by its strange black-hole attitude towards unknown and upcoming artists.  I fared better with American companies, and an agent at ArtHog has 3 of my Madhatter’s Teaparty images with a homewards company, and hopefully I will make some sales come Christmas time when their catalogue is published in September this year.

My ambition now is to get my work licensed by not just one but a few companies, and to actually start generating some income, no matter how small.  And so, whenever I have a free hour or two on my hands, I surf the net using keywords such as “art licensing”, “online homewares companies”, “licensing and publishing artwork”, etc, with the hope of winkling out one or two gems that I can then contact and submit my images to.  I doubt very much Australia has the inclination to look at mobile photography art, well certainly not here in Western Australia anyway.  So I shall be concentrating my efforts on the rest of the world.

If you know anyone who may be interested in representing me or using my work, please do lead them this way, thank you!

AlyZen Moonshadow’s favourite iOS Blender, Grunge and Touch Up Apps

Here we have 3 different categories of Apps that I use: Blenders, Grunge and Touch Up Apps.

A lot of my creations involve taking elements from one image and superimposing them on another image. I know some fellow artists who are meticulous in cutting around images and then copying and pasting them, one at a time, onto a background until they have a composite involving several different elements. The way I operate is very simple, I will often blend one whole image with another, and where the fun lies is in deciding what type of blend mode to use – be it Normal, Multiply, Addition, Subtraction, Screen, Overlay, Difference, etc.  I like the little serendipitous accidents that happen during a blend, for example where part of an image gets obscured or emphasised, or where I get an effect that I never thought would work but which, in retrospect, then becomes the main characteristic of the final image. As you can tell by now, if you have been following my blog, I am a BIG fan of Randomness!

One example of such serendipity can be found in my workflow for creating my “Madhatter’s Teaparty” Series, inspired by the Lewis Carroll’s “Alice in Wonderland”, teacups and china.  Of which I will write more about in a later post.  But do check out my Wix website for images pertaining to said “Madhatter’s Teaparty” at http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow.

iOS Blender Apps
iOS Blender Apps

My favourite iPad App is Layover, as it offers a range of blend modes with an easy user interface. I did ask the developers if they would be making the App available on Android, and was told no they had no plans to do that :-(.

In my early days of iPhoneography, I cut my teeth on DXP, PicBlender and Blender. Once again, these are not available on the Android market…in fact, I have searched and searched for decent blenders on Android’s Play Store and have come to the conclusion that the only one of note is PS Touch. PS Touch does not have as many filters or effects as I would have liked, and I find the user interface rather strange, however, it is my go-to App whenever any blending is called for.

Juxtaposer is somewhat different from the other Blending Apps.  It actually belongs to the “Cut and Paste” brigade, where the user can lasso/cut out a part of the image, to be placed somewhere else on the same photo, or on another photo altogether.  Hence the image of the dog’s head on a person’s body as the App’s icon. There is nothing on the Android market like this; however, as it is not an important element of my own creative style, I haven’t been hunting for the holy grail on Android’s Play Store. There might very well be Apps like it that I am not aware of.

Another element I like to incorporate into my images is Grunge. There are many iOS and Android Apps that offer this, but here are my favourite IOS Grunge Apps. Some I still use to this day, others I keep for sentimental reasons (yes, soppy me).

iOS Grunge Apps
iOS Grunge Apps

Plastic Bullet was my earliest Grunge-style App. I initially got it when I was starting out in iPhoneography in my Lomography phase, when I was fascinated by light leaks. I don’t believe the App has had any recent updates, and I don’t use it anymore, however I keep it in my folder for nostalgia.

My favourite iOS Grunge Apps were Bad-Camera and FotoMuse, 2 lesser-known Apps compared to PicGrunger, Grunge and ScratchCam. I adored Bad-Camera, it certainly lived up to its name, it was so bad it was good. Ditto FotoMuse. I found QuistCam quirky, and a little annoying as it generates grunge and light leak effects at random, but also automatically saves it to the camera roll…I was forever deleting the crappy ones.  Also, it saved at a low resolution. So I only used it sparingly.

The third part of this Trinity is the category I call “Touch Up”. These are simply Apps that allow close, detailed work on images, often concentrating on one aspect only. I mainly use 3 – BlurFx, Touch Retouch and FrontView. BlurFx allows parts of a photo to be blurred, thereby facilitating lovely bokeh or tilt-shift effects. Touch Retouch allows parts of an image to be erased almost by magic, very handy for removing unwanted people from photos, for example.  (My Samsung Galaxy S4’s camera has a built-in option that erases such unwanted photo crashers, simply using face recognition – take several images of the same subject, and it will keep the people you wanted in the picture, and erase those who simply “dropped by” or walked onto the scene by mistake). FrontView is a different kettle of fish altogether. You know the images I mean, the ones where you couldn’t get a full frontal, so had to take the photo from the side, and now you’re unhappy as it’s skewed and not straight on. Well, with FrontView you can tweak the image so it’s centred. PS Touch, and a number of other Apps allows such “warping” to be done, so it’s not a new concept, but at the time I got this App it was new, so again I’m keeping it for the happy memories.

iOS Touch Up Apps
iOS Touch Up Apps

AlyZen Moonshadow’s favourite iOS Arty Effects Apps

iOS Arty Effects 1
iOS Arty Effects 1

iOS Arty Effects 2
iOS Arty Effects 2

                             This time, it’s about Arty Effects.

I tend to use these Arty Effects as one-trick ponies, most times.  I will process my images using any or many of the photo editing suites I posted about earlier, and then run the image through any or many of the Apps above, until I get an image that I like the look of.  But it doesn’t just stop there.  Sometimes my images can be run through 5-7 different Apps until I’m satisfied with the final result.  And sometimes I just need 2 different Apps and then I’m done!

I call these Arty Effects, as some of them give you paint effects, cartoon effects, graphic design.  Back in 2011, I published an App Review on LetterMPress on Mobitog, even though it wasn’t strictly an image editing App.  Right now I’ve got a passion for graphic design, hence you’ll see in the above images Apps dedicated to creating shapes that I can utilise later.  I find these particularly useful for creating Visuals that can be used as posters with the addition of Text.  Set Paint Go, for example, which I’ve already posted about earlier, gives me the freedom to create random abstract artwork, which I can then use to layer images with and create more arty images, or to add an element of texture.

More Arty Apps
More Arty Apps

These are the Apps that allow me to add Text to images (Phonto, Curved Text, Phoster). Then, don’t forget my favourite graphic design Apps, the fabulous twins AddLib S and AddLib U (claps hands with delight). Phonto was updated recently and now offers several backgrounds and more filters that can be modified, a nice touch, seeing as it has serious competition with Phoster.  In creating my Visuals (see previous Posts) I used mainly AddLib S, AddLib U, Phoster and Phonto.  (There are other Apps that I used on my Galaxy S4, but I will talk about these later when I post about Android Apps).

Diptic should really be in its own folder, as it offers neither text nor graphics, but the ability to put together 2 or more images and arrange them in different positions. Placed close together with the frames narrowed down to almost nothing and touching each other, it is possible to achieve a nearly smooth composite image. Or, it can be used for collaging different images together.

Moku Hanga, Haiku and Glaze offer strange and wonderful effects that change how an image looks. Moku Hanga, for example, can produce woodcut or linocut-look images. Haiku, with the right sensitive tweaking, gives you an enchanting Chinese/Japanese ink painting look, complete with washes and runs. Glaze goes even further by offering several filters not seen in other Apps. There was a period when I was enamoured of HDR effects, and the App I used the most was Simply HDR by JixiPix. Now, JixiPix have over the last few years created a number of excellent photo editing Apps, and I once wrote a review of their Apps on Mobitog http://www.mobitog.com/threads/app-developer-review-jixipix-software.673/#post-25468  Since that Review, JixiPix have come out with several more Apps, the prolific buggers  folks, their latest one being Artoon, just released on 1st August 2013. Check out JixiPix on their website here http://www.jixipix.com

I went through a phase where I wanted to emulate the Past Masters of Art. Photocopier came to the rescue, and allowed me to produce images that resembled the brush strokes of Van Gogh, or Miro, for example. Photocopier offers not only the Past Masters, but images in the style of Movies – so, if you wanted your image to look like a still from the Alien movies, you could choose that filter.