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Creating a New Yorker Cover On the iPhone 226

Posted by kdawson
from the eye-of-the-beholder dept.
Jaime Leifer writes "The cover of the June 1, 2009, issue of The New Yorker, entitled 'Finger Painting,' was drawn by Jorge Colombo entirely on his iPhone — a first for the magazine. Colombo, a New York-based artist and illustrator, uses the iPhone's Brushes application to vibrantly depict New York street scenes." There's a video recapitulating the creation of the piece, omitting all of the undos.
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Creating a New Yorker Cover On the iPhone

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  • by guruevi (827432) <evi@@@smokingcube...be> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:02PM (#28099027) Homepage

    Artist using new technology is nothing new. I like Apple and the iPhone but this is just a plain "Apple PR News" story, nothing for nerds, nothing that matters.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Is a man not entitled to his own computer? "No!" says the man in Washington, "It belongs to the poor." "No!" says the man in the Vatican, "It belongs to God." "No!" says the man in Moscow, "It belongs to everyone." I rejected those answers; instead, I chose something different. I chose the impossible. I chose ... Apple.

    • by garcia (6573)

      Artist using new technology is nothing new. I like Apple and the iPhone but this is just a plain "Apple PR News" story, nothing for nerds, nothing that matters.

      It's not even new technology!

    • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:30PM (#28099489) Journal
      An artist did print ready work from a communication device, rather than a laptop or desktop computer, that's the news.

      sure, it's not the first time, but the point is much more subtle: why use a laptop or desktop computer?

      What this is is the next level of miniaturisation, and it is an important one. There is fundamentally no difference between an iPhone or iPod and a computer - they all have input devices (keypads, sensitive screens, cameras), RAM, Storage, and output (audio, video, files).

      an iPhone with a beefier processor, some USB ports and a mini HDMI port (a la Macbook) and you have your next desktop replacement device. Not only would you have phone calls, but with an HDMI - VGA adaptor, you have a screen to do world processing, image editing, video editing, audio editing, 3D, whatever.

      It's the next big deal.

      RS

      • by amicusNYCL (1538833) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:36PM (#28099577)

        Calling an iPhone a communications device is like calling a computer a word processing device. Apple has made damn sure with all of their marketing that people associate more than communication with the iPhone, it's made out to be more like a PDA with a phone program than a phone. And I doubt this is the first time an artist has made "print-ready" work (for various definitions of "print-ready") from a PDA. This still seems like a piece of Apple fluff.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        an iPhone with a beefier processor, some USB ports and a mini HDMI port (a la Macbook) and you have your next desktop replacement device. Not only would you have phone calls, but with an HDMI - VGA adaptor, you have a screen to do world processing, image editing, video editing, audio editing, 3D, whatever.

        This is a joke right? No serious professional is going to be doing image/video editing or drawing on a color-inaccurate 3.5" screen.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by sbeckstead (555647)
          Guess what, you're wrong.
        • by PitaBred (632671)
          Aren't most display devices LCD any more? Why is it "color-inaccurate" then? Most views of it will be on an electronic media, which would mean that the source is what makes the definitive colors.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:58PM (#28099867)

          an iPhone with a beefier processor, some USB ports and a mini HDMI port (a la Macbook) and you have your next desktop replacement device. Not only would you have phone calls, but with an HDMI - VGA adaptor, you have a screen to do world processing, image editing, video editing, audio editing, 3D, whatever.

          This is a joke right? No serious professional is going to be doing image/video editing or drawing on a color-inaccurate 3.5" screen.

          This is a joke right? No serious professional is going to be doing image/video editing or drawing on a color-inaccurate 3.5" screen.

          Yeah. So the guy that just created and SOLD the cover of the bloody NEW YORKER on the iPhone is not a "serious professional", right?

          Matter of fact, in my field, thousands of working photojournalists (those in the top ranks among them) work with similar (color-inacurate) screens and no color correction. The color differences are subtle in 99% of the cases, and don't matter in 99.9% of them, especially when printed in newspaper and/or magazine papers.

        • by rgo (986711)
          You are right, but the original poster never implied that the device he mentioned would be useful for professionals.
          Think home users.
      • by Kjella (173770)

        I call nonsense. Yes, clearly we could make much smaller laptops, let's call them iPhones if you will, if we didn't include a monitor or keyboard but then there'd have to be a monitor and keyboard everywhere you'd like to use it as a desktop/laptop. Just like very many of those I know in a professional setting use a docking station to get dual monitors, full sized keyboard, full sized mouse etc. it's not the computer, it is the interfaces. Saying "they all have input devices (keypads, sensitive screens, cam

      • by Locke2005 (849178)
        why use a laptop or desktop computer? Because my eyes are not good enough to make out fine detail on a 2" display? The population in getting older; as they do, they require larger displays, not miniaturized ones. Also, position detection using finger is not accurate enough to do realistic artwork.
      • but the point is much more subtle: why use a laptop or desktop computer?

        Because pictures that look like a toddler daubed them with his foot look hip and trendy until about the second time you see one, when it starts to get old and sucky real darn quick?

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        The distinction between "communications device" and "computer" blurred about five to ten years ago.

        Welcome to the 21st Century.

        It's the next big deal.

        I'm glad you've finally discovered. Welcome to the party, so glad you can make it as we didn't think you'd be turning up for a moment.

        • Nice to be so snarky, buttface.

          Read the comments in this thread, and you will find that most of them are FAR behind what you and I are talking about.

          Your sarcasm is not grounded - while it is true that comm devices are computers, their capabilities are limited. We do not YET have a true "iPhone" that is also a full on desk/laptop level computer.

          What I was pointing out was an obvious point, true, made clear years ago, true, but still not (yet) implemented. Your snarky sarcasm simply comes off as hipste

    • by PopeRatzo (965947) *

      this is just a plain "Apple PR News" story

      Does anyone here have any doubt that the artist was paid by Apple to create the work on the iPhone? I think it's a smart move by Apple to do this.

      • Oh come on, tons of people own iphones and it's inevitable that someone's going to use theirs for something.
    • by mgblst (80109)

      Yeah, I agree 100%. Also, they have been making new CPUs for a long time, that is not news. And new OS have been coming out for years, that is not news. Rights have been violated since humanity left the trees, that is not news.

      I think we are safe to say shut the site down, there is no news anymore, apparently.

  • Kinda Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by s73v3r (963317) <s73v3rNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:03PM (#28099045)
    This is kinda cool. Not so much that it was an iPhone, but that it was a handheld device. How much longer until these phones replace a laptop for most of our day-to-day computing?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Myrimos (1495513)

      This is kinda cool. Not so much that it was an iPhone, but that it was a handheld device. How much longer until these phones replace a laptop for most of our day-to-day computing?

      Much of the appeal of a laptop is the screen real estate. You can use your iPhone as a laptop, and you can can use your laptop as a phone, but seriously. Use the proper tool for the proper job.

    • Re:Kinda Cool (Score:5, Insightful)

      by clang_jangle (975789) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:13PM (#28099195) Journal

      How much longer until these phones replace a laptop for most of our day-to-day computing?

      The minute we can get proper monitors in our sunglasses and data plans free of ridiculous limits.

      • by shird (566377)

        You can get data plans free of ridiculous limits on your laptop? You can use WiFi and get the same kind of access and limits as a laptop.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by EkriirkE (1075937)
    • Re:Kinda Cool (Score:5, Interesting)

      by stokessd (89903) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:22PM (#28099357) Homepage

      For a lot of what I do it already has. I am always up to date on reading my email and much faster on sending high priority replies. For low priority replies I still wait until I have a proper keyboard in front of me. When I'm lunching by myself I do a lot of surfing on the phone including slashdot. When laying on the couch, the screen navigation features are good enough that if I have a quick surfing need, I'll just pull out the phone rather than walk to my computer.

      It's not a complete replacement, but it's way more of a replacement than I imagined it would be with such a tiny screen and no keyboard.

      Sheldon

    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by blhack (921171)

      How much longer until these phones replace a laptop for most of our day-to-day computing?

      As long as it takes them to create one with a real keyboard, and a monitor that is at least as big as the one on my Acer Aspire.
      The idea of a phone replacing your computer is probably really great if you're speculating from behind your iBook while sipping on a Mocha Frappacheeno, but for the people actually USING their computers? The ones traveling? The ones doing more than updating their twitter status?

      Phones will not EVER replace their laptops (they will[do] supplement them).

    • Take a look at the blurred and aquarelle-like picture [photobucket.com] in TFV and compare it with other New Yorker covers and then think about what you wrote there.
      While you are at it - try writing a memo on your phone.

      If it is an iPhone there is probably an app for it. Or two. Or 183.
      I hear that there is an app for EVERYTHING on iPhone.

    • Colours for the DS (Score:3, Informative)

      by Spatial (1235392)
      The DS has a homebrew drawing program called 'Colours'. Check out the drawings people have made with it. [collectingsmiles.com] Unlike the iPhone the DS supports pressure sensitivity, although it's not used in official programs (if I remember correctly it's due to per-unit variance and being forbidden by the official guidelines).

      A PSP-sized device with that kind of capability would be a pretty great portable drawing device. The DS is a bit too small for me.
  • by Archfeld (6757) * <treboreel@live.com> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:09PM (#28099137) Journal

    a group of 30 4 year olds using a magnetic refrigerator alphabet wrote all the features and articles in the same magazine. In un-related news the New Yorker seems to be having financial problems as fewer and fewer people read the garbage they publish.

    • by Steauengeglase (512315) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:45PM (#28099693)

      In their defense the articles are often pretty good, generally 20 pages longer than necessary, but the writing is good. Now the New Yorker cartoons are simply indefensible.

      I've been going through one of the New Yorker desk calenders this year and it is about 1 out of 20 strips that actually work. The rest are simply lazy. I mean am I supposed to create the scenario? Is that how it works? Is that why it is so clever? Because it makes me feel like I'm smart? That isn't a joke, that is the sound of an armless man masturbating.

      http://cache.gawker.com/assets/resources/2007/07/BadNewYorkerCartoon.jpg [gawker.com]

      • by potaz (211754)

        That is the best description for a bad comic I've seen in a while. Nice!

      • by pileated (53605)

        I'm not quite sure how the desk calendars work but I got one a couple of years ago. Dullsville! But I've also been subscribing to the New Yorker for last three years or so. The cartoons in the magazine are much funnier. Maybe these calendars have this in small print:
        'Rejects from', and in large print 'The New Yorker.'

        As far as the drawing I'd be willing to bet that cover wouldn't have been published if it had not been drawn on an iphone. And I'd be willing to bet the 2nd, 3rd, ...400th drawings done on ipho

  • Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think one important issue with the capacitative screen as used in Apple's phone is that while it does support multitouch, it does not support different pressure levels corresponding to force applied against the screen? To get pressure sensitivity similar to a Wacom-style pad, you'd need to be using a Palm/WinMo handheld which, with resistive screens, can support different pressures applied by finger or stylus. Is this correct? If so, then it's remarkable that he managed to produce quite a nice cartoon given the limitations of the device he was using. But you have to wonder how much more efficient a similar artist could be with a more artist-friendly approach. I assume that this brushes application lets you create a swipe, then click it afterwards to increase or decrease the transparency/strength/brush effects. That's got to be a lot less intuitive than just pressing your finger/stylus more or less to get the same effect. In effect, a single gesture dimensioned using pressure has been elongated into a mutli-step gesture dimensioned with serial, semantic twiddling.

    • by Zerth (26112)

      It could also use time. Drag your finger over quickly, it uses X% opacity. Drag slowly to get completely opaque. Or vice versa.

      • That's true, good point. I've just plugged in the old 2000-vintage Wacom to check how Photoshop registers coverage using the stylus. There seems to be an on-off signal, a pressure signal and yes, for some brushes, a time component that strengthens or re-iterates the effect when held stationary over an area.

      • by mdwh2 (535323)

        It Just Works!

    • by EkriirkE (1075937)
      Think of it as the "flow" control of photoshop brushes. Linger in one area, more pigment/color is applied in the spot. Move quickly and just a light dusting is applied.
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Actually, a big problem with capacitive screens is... you can't tap accurately. Instead of a sharp "point" on a resistive touchscreen (within the accuracy of the analog side and the ADC), you get an area. Things like controls (buttons, fields, etc) tend to have to be larger and spaced out on a capacitive screen because getting an accurate point is extremely difficult.

      It's like trying to draw using a mouse vs. a touchpad. It'd doable, just a bit more difficult.

      Adding fine detail to a photo is extremely hard

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        Sorry, I meant with high precision, not accuracy. Tap the same spot twice on the iPhone screen and you'll end up with different coordinates. Big buttons make it easier by allowing a larger error radius, though.

    • by willy_me (212994)
      I imagine that pressure could be inferred by looking at the point of contact on the screen. The larger the point the harder the person is pressing. Because different people have different sized fingers, the software would have to be very intelligent in order to work accurately for all people.
  • WOW! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Paul Slocum (598127) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:25PM (#28099403) Homepage Journal
    FTA: "Before, unless I had a flashlight or a miner's hat, I could not draw in the dark."

    Apple, thank you for finally enabling us artists to draw in the dark. Only Apple could pioneer this astounding technology.
  • by strength_of_10_men (967050) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:28PM (#28099453)
    How ironic that TFA has a flash video that does not work on the iPhone. I'm sure there's a youtube version out there somewhere but I'm too lazy to look.
  • Nothing new (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yetihehe (971185) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:28PM (#28099463)
    Peaple are drawing Mona lisa in MS Paint [youtube.com]. THIS is an achievement.
  • by serutan (259622) <snoopdoug@geekazon . c om> on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:29PM (#28099485) Homepage

    The video of the process is a work of art all its own, capturing the evolution of the scene. There is a sense of change and even of loss, which you wouldn't get from the finished work alone.

    • by Spatial (1235392)
      It's a cool feature, yes. It's been in 'oekaki' drawing programs for years, and that homebrew drawing program 'Colours' for the DS has it too I think.
    • Is that you?

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      This has been done forever. Fractal Design Painter would not only generate these movies many years ago, but it also actually records and plays back strokes, and it can play them back with different media. If you are into "natural media" art on the computer, you owe it to yourself to check out Painter.

  • by eyrieowl (881195) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @03:31PM (#28099493)

    to refrain from complaining about a kdawson post, but I saw this early this morning and thought it was cool as well. So sue me. Yes, people have been drawing on computers for a Long Time with lots of different input devices; and no, it's not the best tool (portable or otherwise) for drawing with. And I detest all the often-unmerited love that Apple gets...but this was cool, it is an example of how, even on a converged device that can't touch dedicated devices, technology has become accessible enough that people are able to do real worth with it, no matter where they are. It's similar to Chase Jarvis and his iPhone pictures. It's not the best camera, not even the best camera phone, but it's both a demonstration of how art isn't about the technology, it's about the artist; and it's a demonstration of what we could each accomplish with even these limited tools if we had the talent and discipline to use them to their fullest. It's not, to me, about it being an Apple product, it's about art, talent, and the progress of technology.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      It's not, to me, about it being an Apple product, it's about art, talent, and the progress of technology.

      I'm not trolling here, but why does it seem like the buzz is often about apple products then? I don't see much about people creating art with their blackberry or their palm. Or is there a lot of this going on and I just missed it?

      If someone asked me, I would say that it's a combination of Apple products marketed well and that they make pretty good products to begin (e.g. easy to use) -- I don't th

      • by eyrieowl (881195)

        I'm not trolling here, but why does it seem like the buzz is often about apple products then? I don't see much about people creating art with their blackberry or their palm. Or is there a lot of this going on and I just missed it?

        My take is that this is largely about "buzz" being a bit of a feedback loop. Apple has been very good about using prior buzz to create new buzz for its new products. This, in turn, has been great at driving sales to people who want the attributes being marketed (ease-of-use, rich functionality). They, in turn, create content that gets buzz (often simply for being an example of how "buzzworth product x" can be used), which helps reinforce the buzz around the product. It's possible that you could do somet

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by hondo77 (324058)

        I'm not trolling here, but why does it seem like the buzz is often about apple products then? I don't see much about people creating art with their blackberry or their palm.

        The art was created by a third-party app. Apple did not write Brushes but they made it possible for a developer to not just create it but easily put it in the hands of customers. So, it's not strictly an article about Apple products.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by joNDoty (774185)

      Coincidentally, Chase Jarvis commented on the New Yorker's cover in his blog yesterday:
      http://blog.chasejarvis.com/blog/ [chasejarvis.com]

  • I found the process far more interesting than the choice of technology. I find it interesting that he drew each layer completely, even if it was going to be over written. I always try to figure out shat is not obscured then draw only that. Obvously I'm not an artist, nor do I have any training.
  • by Jamamala (983884) on Tuesday May 26, 2009 @04:16PM (#28100113)
    Another thing that's cool about this particular project is that the artist said it allowed him to just quietly work in the corner. He didn't have to set up with an easel and influence the behaviour of the people around him. To everyone else, he must have just looked like he was texting.
  • Artist can create art on almost any medium while my biggest achievement is a stick figure pictured below ;)-

  • by StikyPad (445176)

    is all I can say. It is truly amazing that anything created on a phone could embody the level of dignity and sophistication required to appear on the cover of the same magazine that featured the "Obama Terrorist Fist Bump" and other cartoons of much hilarity and wit [gawker.com].

  • so I found that he created the background images, only to almost totally obscure them by foreground images, pretty interesting. You can clearly see pedestrians and three cabs about mid-way through; but by the time of the final image you can barely see the light of one of the cabs. Interesting, to me at least.

    Can an Artist comment on if that's a typical of the process of iterating on the image, or is it done to give depth of field etc that wouldn't be possible to layer in later? I suppose if I were to go

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