Tag Archives: kwik

Kaboom: Kwik Particle Emitter Plugin

A week or so ago, my colleague Alex Souza asked me to beta test his new plugin, “Kaboom“. It is an add-on for Kwik Photoshop plugin that lets you create particle emitters for your universal Corona apps. The benefit of using Kwik and Kaboom is that you can create full mobile applications with special effects without having to write a single line of code. Everything is done by placing artwork in Photoshop and telling it what you want it to do.

Within 5 minutes, I was able to create this:

I even wrote a tutorial on how to use Kaboom to create a similar project, which can be found here. If you order Kaboom within the next 2 weeks, you’ll actually save $20 off of the regular price, so it’s definitely worth acting quickly.

Please note: Corona Labs has not officially announced whether or not particle emitters will be supported¬†in Starter or Basic versions of Corona SDK. If you’re a Pro user, you can use Kaboom today, but it’s unclear if Starter and Basic users will be granted access.

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Kwik 3.0 Now Available

Last week, Kwiksher released their latest version of Kwik Photoshop plugin. I was fortunate enough to be part of the beta testing, and helped CEO Alex Souza discover some of the bugs before the final version was released.

Kwik v3

I was even able to release Maddie Bear’s Birthday for the iPad using the beta version of Kwik.

maddie bear's birthday

Kwik now is compatible with Corona SDK’s new storyboard tool called “Composer” as well as their new Graphics 2.0 anchor point system. It offers a revamped interface and a plethora of new features and settings that were not available in previous versions. You can now add monetization with iAds and AdMob, splash screens, in-app purchases if you’re a Corona Basic, Pro or Enterprise subscriber, and you no longer have to deal with the annoying task of enabling Adobe Flash to run the plugin.

kwik

Kwik has also switched over to a subscription business model to allow for more updates in order to keep up with the ever changing world of mobile app development. When Apple or Android make a change to their operating systems, Corona Labs has to follow suit, which in turn makes Kwiksher have to follow their lead.

There is also another huge benefit to their new subscription model. Let’s say you have an idea for a storybook app, but you’re not ready to make a huge investment in software in case your app doesn’t make you a lot of money or in case you just don’t end up liking app development. You can download the Corona Lab’s Starter Kit for free and then just do a 3, 6, or 12 month subscription to Kwik, depending on how long you’ll need it.

You can also have your script reviewed, have video chat support, and pretty soon, Kwiksher can even publish your app to all of the major app store for you via their services program.

My latest book, Maddie Bear’s Birthday, would have taken much, much longer to develop had I not used Kwik. It saved me days worth of coding. Check out my app at MaddieBearBooks.com to see what is possible with Kwik.

Maddie Bear's Birthday for iPad
Maddie Bear’s Birthday for iPad

From Kwik to Print

Since 2011, I’ve written, illustrated, and developed two children’s book apps and I’m currently working on my third. I’ve also recently illustrated and developed a book app for Huggable Melodies. Thanks to Kwik, creating the apps was very easy and it allowed me to focus on drawing instead of coding.

I drew the artwork in Flash, and then using Photoshop and the Kwik plugin, I was quickly able to covert the artwork into apps for the iPad and Kindle Fire tablets. However, since my daughter is only 16 months old, I wondered if iPads would even still be around in a few years when she could really comprehend the stories I had written for her. This made me want to consider self-published print versions.

The first company I tried out was Bookemon. It allowed me to upload artwork in landscape dimensions in full color and order on an as-needed basis. The only qualms I have with Bookemon is if you only want one copy, it’s a minimum of $15 shipped, which is kind of pricey for a small book. Also, if you allow the general public to order your book from Bookemon, they can read the entire book without buying it and Bookemon takes a royalty fee. I’m considering trying CreateSpace or Lulu for my next book and I’ll post about the process when I decide.

On the technical side, converting a book app to print-ready artwork was fairly easy and just took a little knowledge of resolution. Most digital artwork is 72dpi and printed work is 300dpi or higher. The book on Bookemon is 7.75″x5.75″, so I created a new document in Photoshop at that size with a resolution of 300dpi. Then I changed the image size resolution to 72dpi and got the new dimensions. I changed the stage size to those new dimensions of my Flash file and scaled down the artwork page by page. Since Flash creates vector artwork, there was no loss in quality. I exported each page as a .png file at 300dpi and uploaded them to Bookemon.

A few days later the print books had arrived and the line quality looks great.

 

Because of the vector artwork and high-resolution exporting, the artwork is crisp and colors are vivid. It’s nice to have an interactive digital version as well as a traditional print version of the books. For my next book, Maddie Bear’s Birthday, I may try to implement an in-app purchase in the app version that allows you to order a print version as well. First, I have to finish drawing the book and then decide on a publisher.

Have any questions about going from digital to print? Leave a comment.

Kwik “Next”

Today, Kwiksher announced its upcoming software “Kwik Next”, or as it will officially be called, just “Kwik”. Kwik will offer a variety of improvements to the user experience, a new pricing system, and a plethora of new features. Kwik will now be on a subscription service rather than a one-time fee. Those familiar with Adobe CC, Corona SDK Pro, and Lanica software have probably noticed the recent trend of subscription software. I’m glad Kwiksher chose to switch to subscription because Corona SDK is constantly changing to keep up with the changes in the Android and iOS ecosphere, which means Kwiksher also has to constantly change. Now instead of having to buy a new version every time Apple decides to change the iOS standards, Kwik users will always have up-to-date software.

A Kwik software subscription also means that you can now do a 3-month plan in case you just want to quickly publish your book idea. A 3 month subscription is expected to go for $99 USD as of the time of this writing, which is a great price for indie developers and children’s book authors. A year subscription is expected to be priced at $249 and also gives you the ability to vote on the next feature you’d like to see implemented into the software.

Right now, Kwik is still in beta and looking for users to help test the software. Kwik 2 customers can join the beta team for about $149 USD. You may be asking why you’d want to pay to beta test software when most companies offer it for free. In this case, the $149 gets you a 15 month subscription to Kwik, which saves you about $200 ($249 for 12 months + $99 for 3 months – $149 Beta = $199) and this deal is only good until Corona Labs lifts the new storyboard NDA. The new version of Kwik will run on the officially supported Storyboard tool once it’s finished by Corona Labs, whereas Kwik currently runs on director. So this deal could last a day or it could last a couple months, it’s hard to say. Regardless, I joined the beta team as soon as I could, which brings me onto this next segment.

Installing the new Kwik

A lot of Kwik users had trouble getting the software setup initially, which Kwiksher has addressed with this new version. Now when you run the software, it takes you through step-by-step, and copies any text you’ll need to your clipboard for you.

installScreen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.46.53 AM

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.46.57 AMScreen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.47.08 AM Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.47.11 AM Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.47.14 AM Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.47.18 AM

If at anytime you need assistance, you can click on the Help button and it will take you to a video tutorial of how to install it step-by-step. The Settings window now has an option for Colored Icons, which is a great new feature that I’ll show you momentarily.

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.47.50 AM

The new Kwik panel also has a built-in showcase for Kwik-made apps when it first opens. You only see the ad until you start a project or open an existing one. The panel also gives you easy access to pre-made templates if you’re new to Kwik and want to see what is possible. Your previous projects are also listed in the panel so you can quickly open any project you’ve worked on in the past.

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 8.38.51 PM

Now onto the colored icons. The colored icons allow you to quickly (kwikly?) see what interactions go with each group. Here we can see that Animations is a yellow group, so anything listed in yellow is an animation. Pink are related to Interactions, Purple are Physics, etc. This will be especially helpful to newer users. Now you won’t have to wonder where to go for say, Body Properties, you can see that they’re purple, so they must be under the purple Physics panel.

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.55.29 AM

Another new feature is the ability to search for items. In my first project test, I had a few interactions for ball objects. Rather than having to look throughout the Kwik panel for anything named “ball”, I could easily look for them using the new search tool.

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.57.06 AM

Another new method of searching for specify items is to look by the type of interaction or property you’ve assigned to it. Here I looked for anything that had a Physics Body.

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.57.36 AM

Those are just a few of the new features available right now in the new Kwik beta. If you’re hesitant to sign up now, you can still buy Kwik 2 until the end of September, which is not a subscription or you can wait until the final version of Kwik is released and download the free trial, which will allow you to create a few pages for free.

Screen Shot 2013-09-12 at 6.56.36 AM

Overall, I think the new Kwik looks and feels great to use and I’m very excited to see what Kwik will bring once Corona Labs releases their new storyboard tool. I think the subscription plans of $99-$249 have something to offer every indie developer regardless of budget and Kwik will be a great investment for children’s book authors.

New Kwik 2.0 Tutorial

I was curious if it was possible to create an app using Kwik Photoshop plugin and Corona SDK that allows you to use a camera to insert a picture of someone into an app. I wanted to use Kwik since it is mostly used by children’s book creators and thought it might be fun to put a child’s face directly into a storybook app to add interactivity.

Using just a few lines of external code, I was able to accomplish this, so I showed it to Alex, the creator of Kwik software. He thought it might make a nice tutorial, which you can follow here: http://www.kwiksher.com/tutorials-kwik/image-replacement-from-camera-intermediate/

Tutorial: Importing Flash Animations into Kwik 2

As an animator, Flash has always been my go-to software for computer animations. When I needed animations for my mobile apps, I would export the drawings as .PNG sequences and then compile them into a spritesheet. Well now Animo software and Kwiksher have partnered to make importing Flash animations into apps seamless.

Rather than force you to read the step-by-step process, I figured it’d be easier to show you in a video.

You’ll notice at 1:03 in the video I forgot to change the radio button from TexturePacker to Animo, but it still works. That’s because at the time of this recording, they’re very similar. However, to avoid problems in the future, you should change it to Animo if you’re importing your spritesheet from there.

New Tutorials

I submitted the first draft of How to Create a Breakout Game in Corona SDK to RayWenderlich.com, I’ll keep you posted when it will be published. The tutorial takes you through step-by-step, creating a game where you hit zombies with a bullet in breakout-style fashion.

In case you’re not one for writing lots of code to make a game, I also created a tutorial How to Make a Breakout Game using Kwik 2. Yeah, that’s right, you can create a game using the Kwik 2 Photoshop plugin and not write a line of code. It’s not as detailed or elaborate as the Corona SDK tutorial, but it’s a great example of what can be done in Photoshop with Kwik 2.

Create a Game in Kwik 2 (no code required!)

Tutorial Writing and Presentations

Yesterday I officially became a tutorial writer for RayWenderlich.com. My first tutorial will debut on the site on Monday, September 17 at 11:00am EST and will cover how to create an interactive eBook App using Kwik 2.0 beta. It’s a long tutorial, but it will let you create an eBook app even if you don’t have any experience with apps, coding, Kwik, etc.

Sample of the book I’ll teach you how to create

I was a little hesitant to write tutorials for Ray’s site, since I use it myself to learn Objective-C, but he assured me that some of his readers were asking for tutorials other than the usual Xcode ones. My next tutorial will be an introduction to CoronaSDK/Lua coding, which I hope to get published within the next few months.

Also, on Saturday, September 29 at 12:00pm, I’ll be speaking at the first NEPA BlogCon. I’m going to be covering a wide range of mobile application and blogging subjects. Pretty much anything the audience wants to know, I’ll do my best at answering their questions. Plus, I’ve got a few Corona Labs stickers to give way at the event so if you’re in the northeastern Pennsylvania area, get your ticket and stop in to say hi.

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