The best iPad creativity apps

The Apple iPad is one of the most popular and influential consumer electronics devices in history. Its sleek design and great portability have made it an excellent slate for web surfing, movie watching, email checking, and numerous other activities.

That said, the role that the Apple App Store has played in its success should not be overlooked. According to Apple, over 375,000 iPad apps have been released worldwide. That's a lot of apps that run the gamut from the entertaining to the business-centric. You can transform your iPad into virtually anything.

Obviously, you couldn’t possibly install all of these apps due to storage or quality limitations – and picking out the best iPad apps isn’t an easy task. You could scour the App Store for user reviews, but really, do you want to go down that road? First of all, it's an incredible time sink. Secondly, user reviews can be highly biased, and a little-known app may only have a handful of reviews.

That’s why we’ve done the hard work for you, and compiled our own list of top iPad apps. This is number four in a series of articles looking at the best iPad apps in a number of different categories – we’ve already covered the best communication and social apps, business and productivity apps, as well as entertainment apps. This time around, we’re looking at creativity apps.

Note that our crowning of top apps focuses on native iPad apps that deliver unique and compelling tablet-based experiences all of their own, not iPhone apps running in 2X mode.

Install all the apps that appeal to you (assuming your iPad has the available storage!), and by the time you’ve finished reading this series, you'll be well on the way to an excellent tablet computer experience.

Finally, if you think we’ve missed some classic apps out, please let us (and other readers) know about them in the comments section below.

Right, that’s enough preamble, let’s get on with looking at the top creativity apps for the iPad, which include the likes of Garageband, Pinnacle Studio, and Skitch. Click on the title of any app to link through to download it on iTunes.

Adobe has done an excellent job of translating its leading image editor onto the tablet. Using Photoshop Touch is easy and intuitive, but don't expect it to offer full Adobe Photoshop power. Still, you get some great tools for your Apple slate. (If you want to read our review of the iPhone version of this app, it’s right here).

Express your artistic side with this mobile version of the desktop painting and drawing tool. ArtRage lets amateur Picassos sketch, blend digital watercolours, and add layers, all from the convenience of your iPad.

GarageBand for iPad melds in-depth recording, tons of loops, and Smart Instruments into one killer audio creation app that music lovers should check out.

Apple’s latest version of iMovie for iPad is a fun and powerful application, with impressively responsive performance and an intuitive multitouch interface. As the app promises, you can indeed create Hollywood-style trailers or sophisticated home movies with a minimum of fuss.

iPhoto is a stunner, featuring multitouch gestures for photo correction, brushes for applying effects onto specific areas of a photo, and "Journals" for creating attractive photo collections that can be shared on iCloud. As with any good photo editor, iPhoto for iPad offers a simple button that takes you right back to your original image should you have gone awry.

OmniSketch is a drawing tool which uses mathematical algorithms that interact with your lines to produces stunning artistic patterns. One of the neatest is Mirror Mode, which duplicates an image either horizontally or vertically – which is great for most abstract pieces. Your creations can be saved to your iPad or emailed to others.

Pinnacle Studio for iPad packs some surprisingly powerful editing techniques for a tablet app, and despite this, it's a cinch to learn. Many folks might prefer iMovie's themes and impressive trailer creation, but Pinnacle leaves you on your own when it comes to creating a feel for your movie. If you want prefab options that restrict you but are guaranteed to produce a respectable result, Apple's iMovie is for you. But if you want the most control, power, and ease-of-use in your iPad video editing project, Pinnacle Studio is the way to go. The cost might look a little steep, but this gem gained a Best Buy award when we reviewed version 2.0 earlier this year.

SketchBook Pro is a professional-level paint and drawing app with a staggering number of tools. It features 75 preset brushes, pencils, and pens, plus synthetic pressure sensitivity, numerous fill and draw tools, and support for up to six layers. The app also exports to Photo Library and even as layered PSD files for further work in Photoshop or other processing.

The iOS version of the popular Mac app brings image annotation to Apple's slate. You simply snap a photo with your iPad's camera, or import images already stored in your photo album, and begin to mark them up with arrows, circles, text, and other annotations. If you frequently snag screenshots, this app is well worth a look.

Snapseed has scooped many awards, and is certainly a quality app that can do amazing things with your photos such as localised adjustments, enhancements, and powerful corrections. What’s more, it was recently turned into a free app, so you don’t even have to get your wallet out to enjoy these features any longer. We reviewed the Android version of the app, if you’re interested.