While the iPad is mostly a media consumption device for surfing the web, reading e-mails, and watching movies, there are some amazing apps like GarageBand and Keynote apps that make it a really creative tool for producing media. Another such app is Mixel for the iPad – an iOS5 app that truly engages your artistic abilities, or just your willingness to have fun with images, shapes, and letters.
Mixel consists of a blank canvas in which you add selected images from the Mixel library, your own iPad photo library, your Facebook photos, or from a web image search. If you have an iPad 2, you can also snap a photo and add to your “mixel.” You use Mixel to create a collage that can be shared with other Mixel users.
The creative collages that you produce on Mixel are the type typically created in applications like Photoshop. But this free app provides tools for even the most inexperienced user to create fun collages.
To use Mixel, you must register and log in with your Facebook account. From there you simply start with a “new mixel” canvas and add and edit selected images.
The Mixel toolbar also allows you to duplicate, delete, crop, flip, arrange photos in front and behind one another. The key to creating an artistic or funky collage is to use the crop tool to mix up images in uncanny ways.
The crop tool allows you to make freehand style crops of any image. If you don’t like the crop you have drawn, simply tap on the green dotted line or shape to start over. You’re not limited to typical rectangle or oval shapes. Sometimes you might even crop an image in a way that completely disguises its original source.
After you select an image, you simply double-tap on it to add it to the canvas. Mixel is so cool that it provides a feature that quickly shows you how other Mixel users have used that same image in their work.
You can also layer images similar to how it is done in Photoshop. You simply tap on the image and then tap the “To Front” or “To Back” button. Some images in the Mixel photo library will have a transparent background, while with others you might need to crop out which portions of the background you don’t want.
Flipping and duplicating an image is an easy single tap process, requiring a lot less clicking that you might do in Photoshop. One feature I like to see added to Mixel is an opacity tool.
Saving & Sharing
You can easily save all your Mixel creations, and then tap the Post button when you’re ready to share it with other users.
With Mixel, shared collages become a part of a larger community in which a mixel can be copied, imported to your library and “remixed”.
When you tap the remixed button, the elements of the collage are broken apart allowing you to delete, reuse, and remix anyway you like. Some popular collages get remixed like a Photoshop tennis competition.
You can also of course like, comment on, and share mixels on social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and via e-mail. Collages can also be saved to your photo library.
As with other social networking applications like Mixel, you can also select to follow other Mixel members.
Mixel really can become quite addictive. It allows for an infinite amount of creativity and inspiration. Let us know what you think of it, and if there are any apps similar to it that you like. If you want to know about other free apps for the iPad, check out the Top 20 Free Apps for Your New iPad.