Discovering great iPad art applications for creativity


Let’s take a look at Enlight. I am constantly amazed by the quality of the iPad art applications we have available for making innovative, fantastic digital art. One of my favourite iPad and iPhone art applications has been iColorama. I find it’s quite easy to get into a situation where you enjoy using a particular application so much you forget to try some of the others. Especially with an application like iColorama which has such a breadth of tools and options you could spend weeks if not months exploring. I also find that using an application it’s easy to get into a situation where you are constantly using your favourite tools and effects. That’s not a good thing and we really don’t want our artwork to look all the same. We want our aunt to be original and different from everybody else’s. We also want our art to grow creatively and to have new looks and styles applied to the finished works. Us artists like to think our art is getting better and more interesting with each subsequent piece we work on. It’s always good to stretch the limits of our iPad art creativity with great iPad art applications.

Video recorded by the Enlight app as I made changes to the image I started with.


So it’s a good idea every now and again to put our favourite creativity application to one side and have a look and see what we can do with a different one. Sometimes we’ll be delighted and amazed by the other application finding techniques to give our artwork that something special. On the other hand, there are times when we pick something and wonder why the hell we have it on our iPad or iPhone. The poorer quality iPad art creativity applications are the ones which are basically just filters to apply on top of photos. There are rubbish applications meant for non-artists lacking creativity. The sort of applications are a simple application of a filter with no possibilities of making adjustments or masking certain areas off. Applications like this where you don’t have any ways to blend and manipulate multiple techniques or multiple photos and drawings should be avoided. I suppose one possibility would be to use one specific effect from an application and then move into something elsewhere you can really let your creativity have full reign.

great iPad art apps

Enlight iPad art application is now in the list of my favourite applications for creating iPad digital art. It’s an application that’s been languishing on my iPad for some time. I haven’t used it is an awful lot but I was prompted by an email I received. In this email there was a short tutorial on how to get the best from this application blending two photos together. It is possible to blend two photos together creatively in iColorama and also recently downloaded another application specifically for blending photos which goes by the name of Diana. That one is more of a one trick pony, but is a good option as part of a larger artistic workflow.

When you go used to using one application it takes a while to get used to another application. You have to finance where all of the tools are situated and what they can do. Fortunately with Enlight you have an area they called backstage in which as well as settings you have access to a tour and tutorials. Within the tutorial section you will find 12 tutorial showing you how to do a few different types of images. That includes mixing typography with pictures, adding text over images. Adding gradient colours to on-screen items and creating dramatic portraits using black-and-white effects and borders. Is Enlight going to be one of the applications you look at when searching for great iPad Art applications?

Canvas Menu

Over on the right hand side you have your menu items in a list. The first menu item is Canvas and within that you have just three tools. Crop, skew and refit give you some simple things and some amazing things you can do to your images. The cropping tools are simple enough where you can cut out areas from the edges of your photo you don’t want any more. You can crop completely freely by dragging in from any of the edges or corners. The other possibility would be to use the fixed ratios in case you wanted to have something 16:9 to use within a movie you are making for example. Or maybe you wanted it to be square for sending off to Instagram. Within the tools area there are other options such as vertical or horizontal flips, 90° rotations or straightening one or two degrees at a time.

Enlight Menus 1

Enlight Menus

Enlight Menus 2

Enlight Menus 2

Skew or De-Skew

From the skew menu it’s possible to skew images so that items within are straightened. An example of this would be if you are de-skewing a picture of a building so that it no longer looks as if it has any perspective. You can make it look as though you were dead centre and looking straight at it when you took your picture. From the distortion tool slide your finger to the right for the image to go convex and to the left to make it go concave. You’ll be left with your picture shape in the centre of the screen showing which parts will be kept and which parts will be discarded. If after playing with these controls you like what you have created tap on the checkmark to the right top of the screen. That will apply the changes you made to your picture.

Using Enlight app

Refit the Image

The refit option is a lot more interesting. Imagine you take a photo where you’ve got an interesting item on the left-hand side of the screen. There is another interesting item on the right-hand side of the screen and a boring space in the middle. With the refit option you can select the interesting areas by freezing them. You then slide your finger across the screen to crop away the part of the image in between the two frozen areas. I was amazed by this iPad art application technique. It is fantastic how well it works and you may choose to go vertically rather than horizontally if you wish. I was impressed by this tool within the Enlight artists application.

Basic Image Controls

Any of the great iPad art applications will have the basic image manipulation such as brightness, contrast and exposure. You get all of that in Enlight and you’ll find further options within the Basic, Details, Colour, Split Tone and Curves sections. So within Basic you can adjust brightness, contrast and exposure. With the Offset option you have a way to set an area such as a background either to be either just black or just white. Choose the setting you want to work with and slide your finger diagonally to make adjustments. When you have it as you want it hit the check mark/tick in the top righthand corner of the screen.

Curves in Enlight

iPad art apps

Within the clarity section you can sharpen, saturate or desaturate your image. It’s not necessary to apply these controls, settings or filter effects to the whole of the image there are masking tools. Use the masking brushes to apply or remove a masked area. Enlight also has a section called target which will apply a mask either as a spot which is re-sizable and movable across the screen. Or you can have mask which is linear, going in whichever direction you want it across the image. The other option would be to have a mirror type of mask. This gives you a central area which is affected by your image controls and settings fading out in both directions from the centre line.

Basically within these areas you have lots of fine control for you to do whatever you want with your image. The masking works well with the Apple Pencil. You have the chance to see what’s happening with your photo when you press the button towards the bottom right-hand corner which will give you a before and after you of the image.

Using the filters

Analog Effects

When you go to the analog effects in Enlight your first come across a whole load of presets. You can cycle through these presets if you wish and maybe there’s something there that will suit you just perfectly. Or you can change to the tools menu using the button in the centre of the screen at the bottom. From there you can get access to film effects where you can apply fade, grain, and intensity. For any of the settings within the Enlight art application you slide your finger from left to right across the screen to increase the amount of affect your giving it. Don’t forget you can also go into the masking area and as well as brushing on or off the mask you can feel all clear the whole image. There are also settings to change the size, opacity, feather and edge of the brush. This is what makes Enlight one of the great iPad art applications. You get a good deal of fine control over how your image is affected by any of your choices. It is more than just a simple app for applying filters or other little tricks to an image.

Changing the image to black-and-white or monochrome

You have available a whole range of black-and-white filters to apply to your image. Choose from the presets or going to the tools section to work with the controls directly. You can even filter the image based upon colours within if you want the black-and-white filter to work specifically on certain colours. In this same area of black and white adjustments you have other effects such as adding vignette or a grain. If you want to add borders there are a range of them available including plain black or white along with splotchy effects. It would be cool if it was possible to add your own border effects to this list. The only way around that at the moment is to add them using the mixer and blend tool.

Great iPad art applications

Going duo

This is all about using two colours and how you want those colours to be overlaid across the top of your image. Same as with some of the other effects where you can use a radial, linear or mirror distribution of the effect. Further adjust the distribution using masking techniques. Choosing the colours is easy by tapping on either colour one or colour two. This gives you a range of colours across the screen and in centre you’ll see there is a place where you can swipe upwards to access the infinite range of colours. Then all you have to do is to decide on how you want those colours to be blended. Same range of blend modes available in other tools in the application. Overlay, soft and hard light, multiply, screen and so on.

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Tools Menu – Mixer, Reshape, Heal And Tilt Shift.

Mixer tool

This is the tool to use if you want to add other images to put on top all blend into the image you’re working on. You can choose blend modes of which there are eleven apart from the normal mode. Within the tools you can choose an erase tool which is handy if you want to erase a background. You can get really good control over which areas you erase by pinching to zoom in as close as you need to. I was impressed on how well I was able to delete a background when using my Apple pencil and the images zoomed in really close.

Reshape tool

Within this reshape tool you can move pixels around to refine just certain areas. For example, you might like to make somebody’s ears a whole lot bigger. You could turn somebody into a pixie by giving them pixie ears and they pointy chin. The reshaped tool does something similar but with a larger portion of the image. If you’ve taken something a little too far you can try pushing it back with the tool you use to reshape it in the first place. If that doesn’t work then there is the restore tool. With that you can just draw in any of the areas you want to put back to the way it was before you’ve messed it all up.

Heal tool

With the heal tool you can remove blemishes with a re-sizable round dot. I found that in some areas this can work quite well but in other areas all it does is just to blur wherever you had placed the tool. The patch mode gives you two circular areas. One area is where it will do a copy and the other area is where it will place the copy. It is just a clone tool by another name. It is quite good in that you can also add a mask to operate on the clone. This gives you excellent control over how this tool works on your image. You also have access to settings for controlling the brush.

Great iPad art applications

The blue image was blended on top with the Mixer tool and the circles are the Patch tool for cloning


Tilt Shift

This is a cool thing when you want to make a photo look like it is toy town or like a model village. It does this by making it seem as if you were using macro photography and having to deal with very short depth of field. You can use a spot focus, linear or the mirror mask to achieve the effect you are looking for with a specific photo.

Going artistic with Enlight

Urban artistic Effects

Choose one of the presets if you wish with fancy names such as Galactic, Paintsplat, DayGlo and Twister. These are basically a set of filters you can access in the tool section, backdrop. You can adjust the threshold, smoothing and restore. With restore you basically set how much of the underlying image you want to obliterate. You’ll find all of this in the Artistic – Urban section of the controls.



Painting filters – you have a wild section of painting filters. Some of these will completely alter your image so no longer looks anything like what you started with. You can however go into the basic settings and restore your original image which is a basic blending setting. There are also settings for lighting, style and surface. The surface settings give you a few textured effects which are interesting but nowhere near as many as you would find in iColorama.

Sketch filters – here you have a reasonable range of pencil and crayon styles. Lots of settings allow you to change the scale, rotation, threshold, transition and how it all affects the details of the sketching filter. It’s quite impressive the amount of control you have to change hatching, stroke and paper effects. It’s this control which takes Enlight from being a mere set of filters to apply to being an artistic tool for creative digital art producers. Creativity is all about experimenting, choosing and using whatever tools and processes you have at your disposal. There’s plenty available for all sorts of artists in this application.

Drawing with the Apple pencil in Enlight

You start with seven different brush tips available which doesn’t seem a lot at first look. You can go into the settings for the brushes and choose size and opacity. The brushes don’t react to the pressure you apply with the Apple Pencil. When using the ink style brush to make it fatter you just have to move the Apple pencil faster. In the brush settings you can set the size and opacity. Lines you’ve drawn can be erased. While the drawing implements are not as good as you’d find in application like Procreate or Pixelmator for iPad it is useful to have some of these tools within Enlight. This you’ll find these in the artistic, doodle section of the tools.

Painting with Enlight

In the centre of artistic tools you also have effects. This will allow you to draw bubble, hearts and Snowflake effects directly onto your drawing. There’s not a huge range of these effects available but they can be handy if you want to splurge some colours, shapes or grungy styles into your image. It’s all about making creative juices and making best use of the tools in great iPad art applications.

The making of memes

You can simply use the text tool to add text to wherever you want it within your image. There are a reasonable number of funds to play with. It’s easy to change the colour of the text and to add drop shadows if you wish. As usual you have access to blend modes and masking. There are also a small selection of fairly useless decals. If you’re looking to create a meme there is a specific tool using a large standard font. It puts a lump of text at the top of the screen and or at the bottom of the screen. This is a fairly dedicated tool and will be useful to some users.


In the Painting section of Enlight where you choose the tools you want to work with. Surface will give you textures effects for your image. Also showing the types of text it is possible to add.

Textures added

Great iPad art applications -Texture added to Enlight image

You’ve been framed

The last tool available within this tool section on the right-hand side is the framing tool. You got a number of frames to select from. You get to make choices regards the width of the frame, the shape of the image and there are all sorts of patterns you can put into the background. The other option available is for making a collage. You can combine a number of photos or artistic work seem to an interesting arrangement.

The NoStylus verdict on the Enlight iPad art application

When I first opened up this application I assumed it was just for messing with photos and adding filters. After exploring and trying a few things out I discovered it’s far more useful than that. It’s a well laid out application in terms of the interface giving access to the controls you need to make your artistic choices. It isn’t a drawing and painting application but it is possible to do some of that within Enlight. I was particularly impressed with the refit tool where I could freeze certain areas and remove space in between. It’s good to have the blending tool available and useful in many of the other tools. The mixing tool for blending multiple photos works well especially when using the masking.

Sharing from Enlight

There are a number of sharing options allow you to share out to the usual suspects. Send your images to messages, email, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. There is a cool feature where you can save your Enlight working session as an animation. This is where you get to see the progress of your work from initial image through to the final piece. This gives you a video which you can save to your devices Photos library.

Enlight iPad art application

Same as iColorama you don’t get the layers you find in great iPad art applications like Procreate, ArtRage, Concepts or Graphic by Autodesk. No worries as you can always move images from and to Enlight to take advantages of other tools only possible to use in other great iPad art applications.


Great iPad art applications

Overall Enlight is a super application and I would highly recommend it for use by creative types. There are some limitations with what you can do with it, while at the same time there are a huge number of choices. I like the application and I can certainly see me using it much more often in the future. Great iPad art applications.

iPad artist

Good and Geeky iPad art book