Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Appy New Year!

I do not frequently get new art apps for my iPhone or iPad.  When I first received my iPad, I did download many of the usual suspects in the digital painting section of the iTunes Store - apps like ArtStudio, ArtRage, and Sketchbook Pro - but I have found little time to devote to this medium.  I have not written this area off, and I can certainly appreciate what artists like David Kassan or Robh Ruppel do with these digital tools, but for now, using my iPad or i Phone to create art has been pushed to the back burner.  Every so often, however, I do come across an art app which grabs my attention, and today, I thought I would share two of these with you.

The first is L'Ecorché, an anatomy app - for artists, by artists - from MD3D Inc..  Conceived by animation sculptor Michael Defeo, L'Ecorché is a portable classical anatomy guide updated through today's technology and understanding of the body.  Defeo came up with the idea after taking anatomy lessons with Scott Eaton, a traditional sculptor and a pioneer in the field of digital sculpture who often consults for the movie and gaming industries regarding CGI character design.  After gaining Eaton's support for the idea, Defeo began fundraising for the project through Kickstarter, and with donations coming in from around the world, was finally able to realize his project early in 2012.

At the center of the app's lessons is the 1767 sculpture, l'Écorché (Flayed Man), by Jean-Antoine Houdon.  Using a hand-held scanner, Defeo mapped an original casting of Houdon's l'Écorché in detail, and users of the app can now see those refined scans in close-up, and from any angle.  The figure can be viewed in its entirety, or by body section - head, torso, arm, and leg.  Additionally, each image can be viewed through a different visual anatomy system:  the original, as sculpted by Houdon; a transparent view in which the skeleton can be seen; a planar, architectonically conceived view based on the work of German anatomist Gottfried Bammes (1920-2007); and, my favorite, an updated version of the Houdon sculpture with modern muscle information provided by Scott Eaton, with an optional muscle color mapping filter (this can be toggled on or off through the application).

Also included in the app is an index of muscles in the human anatomy.  By clicking on an individual muscle's name, users are directed to a separate page which details the location of that muscle and the action it performs, as well as further, non-interactive anatomical drawings showing the placement of the muscle on the skeleton.

The L'Ecorché app by MD3D Inc. is available at the iTunes App Store for $4.99, and has recently been optimized for iPhone 5.  Downloads will work on both the iPad and iPhone.  Defeo plans to have the app available for the Android platform some time in the near future.

For more information on Scott Eaton's Anatomy Courses, please visit www.scott-eaton.com.

Clockwise from Upper Left:  Houdon Original, Eaton with Colored Muscle Groups,
Skeleton, and Bammes.

Skeletal view of arm.

Eaton view of head with colored muscle option turned off.

Skeleton view of head.


The second app is Munsell DG from The Classical Lab, a company whose goal it is to create educational materials that merge classical aesthetics with "the formal methods and rigor of pure scientific inquiry."  Designed by artist and Albert Munsell colorspace expert Graydon Parrish, and engineer and artist Steve Linberg, this free app allows users to browse the Munsell color system as organized by hue, value, and chroma, and find a specific color's RGB equivalent for digital use.  Though this is by no means a replacement for the big, glossy, Munsell Book of Color by X-Rite ($994.75 suggested retail), this is an excellent, easily navigable introduction to the Munsell system that traditional artists as well as digital artists can find useful.

However, the real interesting aspect of the app is unleashed when users purchase the $2.99 upgrade, which creates a bridge between traditional painting and digital painting.  Adobe® Photoshop® users (CS 5 or later) or Photoshop® Elements users (version 10 or later) are able to use the Munsell DG app to create an external palette from their iPad, iPhone, or iPod Touch.  This allows digital painters, who previously did not have access to a Munsell color system, to use their external device as a color picker, so that they can apply the same concepts to their digital work as they might to art created in traditional mediums, such as paint on canvas.  For traditional artists, this gives the opportunity to use Photoshop® to do poster studies using the same color model as they would in their painted works (and for people using the Munsell Student Color Book, this also makes the exercises a lot easier to do!).

Munsell DG is available from the iTunes App Store for free, and has recently been updated to work with iOS6 and the iPhone 5.  New developments, including online tutorials, are planned for release later this year.


Chris Boyd said...

Very excited to see this on Android. Looks like a great resource.

md said...

HI, Mike Defeo here. Thanks for the review. This project was a labor of love. I hope it is useful to artists of all mediums.