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The e-publisher, inkling, founded by former Apple executive, Matt MacInnis, has developed an impressive list of interactive multimedia books for the iPad. Partnering with major publishers such as McGraw-Hill and Pearson, their textbooks in Medicine, Business & Finance, Communications, are some of the best yet published. Check out the text on Anatomy & Physiology.

Inkling is a leader in demonstrating that interactive, multimedia Fine Art books can be done, and done well. They have developed outstanding Fine Art Books, two of which are Getlein’s Living With Art, and Ching’s A Global History of Architecture (John Wiley, McGraw-Hill respectively). Review copies graciously provided by inkling.

Living With Art

Clicking on the link above brings you to a live demo page on the inkling site. You will see that each of the categories on the right of the image is a separate link to a more detailed information. Clicking on “Behind the Velvet Rope” brings you to a pixel perfect picture of the art work, which can be enlarged on the iPad with a simple gesture, so that you can see every brush stroke.

A Global History of Architecture

The 700 plus page A Global History of Architecture contains 20 Chapters, covering architecture from early cultures to globalization not only in Europe and the United States, but in the Middle East, India, China, and South America.

There are key features that can only exist in an interactive, multimedia eBook. “See Inside the Book” allows for a view into the interactive possibilities of the book for further in-depth study. “The Virtual Reality” feature allows you to manipulate 3-D images of buildings.

The text pictures and drawings clearly illustrate the key architectural points. For example, the section on the Parthenon states that because of optical distortion, where parallel vertical lines appear to the eye to slightly curve outwards, “each of the forty-six perimeter columns was tilted slightly inward … If the columns of the short side were extended upward, they would meet around 4.8 kilometers [3 miles] above the roof.” This is principle is illustrated by a simple diagram that makes the concept instantly understood and remembered.

In the chapter on Globalization, the loved or hated phenomenon of the international commodification of prestige buildings is illustrated by a photograph of the interior view of Santiago Calatrava’s Quadracci Pavilion for the Milwaukee Art Museum.

Both Living with Art, and A Global History of Archectiture meet the criteria for study of Fine Art in the New Media as outlined in the PURPOSE Page of this blog:

1. The first advantage of Fine Art in the new media is that it should be accessible.

2. Fine Art in the new media should be interactive.

3. Fine Art in the new media should be viewer directed. “I want to see what I want to see.”

4. Fine Art in the new media should be able to be manipulated, which enables the viewer to use their creativity. to examine, adapt, and experiment with the art.

5. Fine Art in the new media should be comparative, enabling the viewer to array pictures from different artists side by side to study technique, execution, and medium.

6. Lastly, Fine Art in the new media should be able to be viewed as a continuum of man’s effort for visual expression.

Moreover, focused concentration, aids learning as easier understood and remembered, visuals are treated as important as text. This last may seem a small feature, but think of how many Fine Art books, emphasize text over the actual picture. The the picture may be viewed in a full-page size to better view and study technique, composition, and use of color. The inkling platform also allows for addition of audio, music, and video. Each of these features is a major advantage over the printed book.

On February 12, 2012 inkling previewed inkling for the web which will make all of inkling’s titles available through the web, regardless of browser. This also allows users to take full advantage of the cloud and solves the problem of limited download space on the iPad and other devices.

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