We are delighted to publish our wonderful Columnist Sarah Jarrett’s latest article to her The New Renaissance Column. This section has a wide remit and takes the form of interviews with artists about their working techniques, looking at approaches to a particular theme by different artists, showcase some unusual collaborations between Sarah and other artists and offers insight into apps and their creative uses.
Sarah herself explains, ‘I am really passionate about this whole area, I have my ear to the ground and guarantee to uncover some really inspiring ideas – over to you Sarah (foreword by Joanne Carter).
“I have been really lucky to gain some insight into the world of the app developer through interviews with James Cuda, co-founder of Procreate, Teresita Alonso Garit developer of iColorama, Ilkka Teppo developer at Repix and Gilles Dezeustre from the 11ers,developer at Glaze. All four of these unique apps are profoundly integrated into my own creative journey in iPhoneography and the insight and feedback they all gave, makes for a fascinating read.
Last Tuesday we published my interview with Teresita Alonso Garit from iColorama:
and previously James Cuda from Procreate:
In each installment I will illustrate the article with images I’ve made using mainly the featured app to demonstrate some of its individual, creative strengths. The most striking aspect from all the developers I interviewed is their intense, individual dedication to their app and its development and the genuine pride they have in their achievements.
This week I feature Glaze and interview one of its developers Gilles Dezeustre from the 11ers”.
‘Life in Technicolour’ – ©Sarah Jarrett
SJ – Glaze was one of the first creative apps that really caught my attention. What I really love about it are the endless capacities to experiment and achieve unique, unpredictable outcomes. I like the way it mimics acrylic, gouache and pastel in fine or really textured effects. Thick painterly textures are very difficult to attain I’ve found in many apps but Glaze gets it right. I return to this app over and over again. I was interested to know how ‘Glaze’ came into being?
GD – ‘Dan and I met,almost twenty years ago while working on image processing software at a now defunct company called Xaos Tools. There we met Michael Tolson, a pioneer of the idea of combining paint simulations and genetic algorithms, and we always loved the images he made. Over the years, long after moving on to 3D animation and game technology, we kept talking about starting a company and making cool “auto painting”, “style breeding” imaging software for the public. The call of the mobile app gold rush of 2011 was too tempting to resist, so we called ourselves The 11ers and made Glaze.’
SJ – What do you think makes this app so unique ? What stands it apart from others?
GD – ‘First the quality of the rendering: Glaze renders, high fidelity, real 3D rendering of brush strokes, have a level of finesse and depth that sets it apart. They are easily generated at print quality and look stunning when processed on a giclée printer.
Second, the style generation algorithm opens up a nearly infinite world of rendering possibility by combining presets and random styles to produce a unique look.That is also rather unique.‘
‘White Tulips’ – ©Sarah Jarrett
SJ – How much attention do you pay as an app developer to the imagery being created with the app? Does this influence its ongoing development? Do you interact with your users?
GD – ‘I’m on Flickr, Instagram, Mobitog (and many others) every single day looking at what people make with the app, hearing what they love, what they are missing or confused by, and marveling at what they achieve. This is one the best part of our jobs. Our formative years as developers were the trenches of a major 3d feature animation studio, since then for us a symbiotic relationship with our users is the only way we ever want to work.’
SJ – Is there a point when you see the app has reached a state of perfection and needs no further changes? Do you feel compelled by competition to keep making the app better?
GD – ‘We might get there eventually with Glaze but this is clearly not the case yet. We intentionally kept Glaze with a minimal initial feature set so we would only add what is truly needed. Once a feature is in you can never take it away, and an app like Glaze needs to stay rather small. It’s more our users feedback that is pushing us right now than competing apps.
We do hope to get to a near perfect completion point with many of our apps. One great thing about the app model is that you don’t have the pressure to keep adding features just to convince people to upgrade. If Glaze ever gets to that point we would gladly not mess with it. We have way more app ideas than time to implement them.’
‘The Vintage Egg Basket’ – ©Sarah Jarrett
SJ – How fast is technology changing in creating apps that can offer users a better and better experience?
GD – ‘For an app like Glaze each release of a new iPhone or iPad is having enormous benefits on the user experience: the retina display on iPad really took the beauty of the renders to another level; faster processors, especially the graphic processor since Glaze (and all our other apps) are so graphic intensive and GPU accelerated also yield a huge improvement in rendering times and output resolutions. ios7 and the iPhone5S are probably yet again game changers for apps like ours.‘
‘Pretty Vacant’ – ©Sarah Jarrett
SJ – Do other apps influence what changes you make to the app?
GD – ‘Oh yes. Early on we were very impressed and influenced by Percolator and Snapseed. Later on by Popsicolor too. We’re bigs of fans of Etchings, Tangent, TangledFX, Repix, iColorama, ColorThief, KitCam, VSCO. Of course I always go back to the apple stock Photos and Camera apps as they define de facto standards for every iOS users. I download and try new apps every single day, it’s part of my morning routine. I also see a ton of apps that I don’t like and try to learn from that too.’
SJ – How competitive is the market?
GD – ‘It is competitive, new cool apps come out about every day, but the scope of possibilities is immense and the demand for high quality app is growing.’
‘In search of Alice’ – ©Sarah Jarrett
SJ – How difficult is being an app developer?
GD – ‘It’s easy to love being an app developer, but I wouldn’t say it’s an easy job… Targets are constantly moving, rules are constantly changing. App buyers are expecting quality at a very low price, they want something new enough to get excited and yet familiar enough so it will be obvious to use.‘
SJ – What vision do you have of apps in ten years time? Where is the technology going?
GD – ‘For photo apps I see less toys and gimmicky apps and more real tools, more professional and better integrated with our home computers and cloud data. There is a lot of room for improvement in the general user experience of photo apps as far as archiving, retrieving, searching and of course editing.‘
‘Spring on my table’ – ©Sarah Jarrett
SJ – Anything else you would like to add?
GD – ‘When we wrote Glaze we had no idea that such a community existed around mobile art and iphoneography. Our users have used Glaze in ways and with an intensity we were really not expecting. Fellow photo app developers have also been incredibly friendly, welcoming and helpful. Blogs like this one, theappwhisperer have basically made us known to our users, in a way that we would have never been able to achieve otherwise. The human dimension of making Glaze has been really unexpected and amazingly rewarding.’
SJ – Thank you very much Gilles for generously giving your time.