A-ha’s classic video for “Take On Me” was the result of painstaking effort — it took 16 weeks to rotoscope the frames, creating that signature blend between the real and hand-drawn worlds. Now, however, you only need an iPhone to recreate the look yourself. Trixi Studios has shown off an augmented reality iOS app that produces the “Take On Me” look in your own home. The proof-of-concept software makes do with virtual versions of A-ha’s Morten Harket and the pipe-wielding thugs, but its effect is more convincing than you might think.
In many ways, the app (which isn’t publicly available, alas) is a showcase of how easy it’s becoming to implemented augmented reality. Trixi wrote the software using Apple’s ARKit, a software toolbox that gives iOS developers a relatively easy way to weave AR content into their apps. They don’t have to make an engine from scratch. You certainly don’t need ARKit to create the “Take On Me” effect, but a framework like that makes it possible for even small outfits to produce slick results. That, in turn, could lead to developers treating AR less as a novelty and more as an important creative tool.
The likes of Korg and Moog have their own synthesizer apps for iOS devices, and now there’s a new option for loading up a virtual instrument on those mobile devices. Electro-Harmonix has released a version of its Mini-Synthesizer EH-1600 for iPad and iPhone that delivers a digital re-creation of the ’80s analog gear. The original had pretty basic controls, but it was responsible for some fairly iconic synthesizer sounds like you’ve heard from Rush, Van Halen and more.
The app comes with 22 presets and offers users the ability to store any custom settings as well. While the original Mini-Synthesizer was a monophonic instrument, this digital version is a polyphonic synth, meaning that you can play four notes at the same time rather than just one. There’s a switch to toggle between modes though, so you can still get the classic tones alongside the new functionality. The company also expanded the keyboard to a full 88 keys, too. In total, there are 12 sliders and 9 switches for tweaking pitch, filters, delay, reverb and more inside the app that has a look that closely resembles the physical instrument. And yes, you can use the mobile software with connected MIDI devices.
If you’re looking to give it a shot, the app will set you back $ 2.99 for the iPhone version and $ 4.99 if you’re looking to use in on an iPad. Don’t worry Android users, the synth will arrive for Google’s OS in late September. For now, you can hear what the app is capable of in the video below.