Top Picks for Creative Computing on the Go
October 23rd, 2012
This post sponsored by Lenovo® IdeaPad U Series Ultrabook™ laptops
With the advent of the IdeaPad Ultrabook™, portable computing has gotten faster, lighter weight and more stylish than ever before. These portable powerhouses have enabled a whole new level of creativity for users that was once reserved for the desktop and heavy laptops. With that in mind, I’ve assembled a list of some of my favorite applications and add-ons for IdeaPad Ultrabook users, to extend and enhance their usefulness in creative projects.
Whether you’re a budding artist or sell your work on Etsy, Art Rage 3 Studio Pro ($60 USD) is an incredible bit of software, letting you use your computer as a virtual canvas. It can simulate real media like oil paints, watercolors and charcoal, and colors mix together just like the real deal. It even can simulate paper textures and the variety of realistic brushes provides tremendous creative control. It also provides tools for tracing photos and stenciling, and supports the use of graphic tablets for added control and precision.
A perfect complement to Art Rage Pro is the Wacom Bamboo series of tablets ($79 to $199 USD). I’m a big fan of these compact input devices, which plug into your computer’s USB port and can be easily stashed in a backpack or bookbag. The Capture and Create models support both pen-based input and multitouch gestures, and can be used to draw, paint and manipulate images like a pro, replicating pressure and angle of your pen strokes. And there’s even a wireless option available, so you don’t have to lug a cable around with you.
If you’re more into motion images than still ones, you’ll want to check out Magix Movie Edit Pro 18 MX Plus ($100 USD). This powerful video editing application is optimized for fast performance, and lets you create professional quality video work on a budget. It includes support for full HD video editing, numerous transitions and effects, and even Dolby 5.1 Surround Sound and path-based animation tools. Also includes professionally-designed templates to get you up and running fast, and sharing tools to quickly publish to YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook.
Of course if you’re into music, there’s something for you too – the Novation Launch Pad ($149 USD) is a great creative input device for digital music composition. The compact (9.4″ square) device plugs into a USB port, and gives you 64 multi-color, backlit buttons for sequencing music, samples and controlling live performances. Comes with Ableton Live 8 Launchpad Edition, so you can compose tracks out of the box without any additional software.
While trackpads are great, some of us still move fastest with a mouse. Logitech’s M515 Couch Mouse ($50 USD) is the perfect gadget for pointing wherever life takes you. That’s because it works on any surface. Yep, you can even use it on your couch, or your pants leg and it’ll work flawlessly. It also supports “hyperscrolling” which lets you zip through long web pages at supersonic speeds, and an astounding 2 year battery life. It also has hand-detection technology, so your cat can’t accidentally move your cursor when you’re not looking.
For something a bit more whimsical, check out the L8 Smartlight ($69 USD). Recently launched through a successful Kickstarter campaign, this little programmable LED gadget connects via Bluetooth and lets you truly express your creativity. Display custom animations, use it for notifications, or just have it light up when somebody enters the room. Its onboard sensors can detect proximity, temperature and luminosity, and it’s fully programmable to your creative whims. If you didn’t get in on the initial Kickstarter batch, you’ll have to wait a few months to get one – but it’ll be worth the wait.
Last but not least is something that helps you quickly and neatly connect your mobile gadgets to your Ultrabook on the go. Instead of carrying around a bunch of long and tangled USB cables in your bag, the AVIIQ Ready Clip Kits ($20 USD/set of two) are just the perfect thing. These 5.5-inch-long cables are exactly the same length as a pen, so they fit into the pen compartment of backpacks and bookbags. They’re available in USB to Mini-USB, USB to Micro-USB, and USB to 30-Pin versions for connecting just about any gadget.
Armed with these add-ons and apps, you can take your Ultrabook laptop to the next level, providing new outlets for creativity and productivity whether you’re at home, school, traveling or at the coffee shop. And if you are in the market for a new computer, be sure to check out Lenovo’s IdeaPad U310 and U410 Ultrabooks, which weigh in at under 4 pounds, offer battery life up to 9 hours, and look great doing it.
See what you can do with the Book of Do, the IdeaPad® U Series Ultrabook™, at Lenovo.com.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This is a “sponsored post.” Technabob received compensation for writing it, however, we only recommend products or services we find interesting or have used personally, and believe will be good for our readers.