The Breakroom

Announcing Linea Sketch 4.1

May 17, 2022

By Ged Maheux

Today’s update brings a host of new features specifically designed to make Linea Sketch easier, quicker, and more flexible than ever before. With this new version, you can turn any drawing tool into a textured eraser, sketch inside strokes and canvas elements, organize projects into handy collections, and watch video tips and tricks in a new Video Help Library. 

Less Really Is More

Linea Sketch 4.1 lets you turn any of the app’s drawing tools into a textured eraser. Select the Clear Ink swatch from the top of the color palette, then draw or paint with your tool of choice to “erase” areas of your sketch.

Clear Ink is great for blending areas of one layer into another, knocking back part of a layer into the background, and much more. 

Always Draw Within the Lines

Linea’s new Transparency Masking is a great way to re-color existing parts of your drawing or sketch. Once activated from the Layers palette, transparent pixels are ignored, confining your drawing to only what’s visible on the current layer.

Add textured shading inside shapes with Linea’s pencils, flood fill entire shapes with new colors quickly and easily, or paint with Linea’s watercolor brush, all without having to worry about adding pigment where you don’t want it. 

You can even use the blending tool in combination with Transparency Masking to create soft gradients and tonal transitions within existing strokes, doing away with the need to erase afterwards.

Stay Organized and Save Time

Linea now offers users a way to place projects and their associated sketches into handy collections that can be arranged and organized to fit your work. Collections let you group similar projects together for easy, quick access.

Use them to archive older work and get it out of view, keep work separate from play, or cross-reference sketches by assigning a single project to multiple collections.

You can also assign a custom thumbnail to a collection for quick reference. Collections sync to all devices via iCloud and are a great way to stay focused on what’s most important.

But That’s Not All

A new Video Help Library lets you watch tutorials, get in-depth walk throughs of Linea’s features, and enjoy time-lapse drawings. Topics include a wide range of frequently asked questions and include “how to” sessions to get the most out of the app. You’ll even get an in-app notification when new content is added.

You can even watch videos using iOS’s picture-in-picture feature to follow along while working in Linea!

We’ve also added the ability for Linea Link, our free companion app for macOS, to safeguard your work and automatically backup your sketches on launch. If you own a Mac, Link’s new auto-backup feature is invaluable. 

There are many more improvements, including a new Trash container in the Project view to safeguard your sketches, new Apple Pencil double-tap actions for use with Clear Ink, improved color handling, and even a fun, new selection of templates for playing games.

Today’s update is the perfect opportunity to see why so many people call Linea their favorite sketchpad. Visit Linea’s version history page for the complete list of what’s new, and then head on over to the App Store and grab the FREE download of Linea Sketch. It’s where your ideas begin!

You Can’t Keep a Good Bot Down

May 10, 2022

By Webmaster

Frenzic: Overtime, Chapter 2

When last we saw DoBot and his factory friends, they had just finished saving the world. Unfortunately for them (but fortunately for you) their work isn’t over yet. We’re proud to present Chapter Two of Frenzic: Overtime!

Chapter Two continues the adventures of DoBot, InfoBot, and WhizBot, as they’re pursued by a hit squad of HenchBots. This chapter adds over 30 new levels, new goals and achievements, along with some exciting new game mechanics.

Head on over to Apple Arcade to get Frenzic: Overtime and keep building those powercores!

CandyBar – Sugar Free Edition™

April 5, 2022

By Webmaster

If you’ve been following our work for awhile, the name CandyBar may ring a bell. It’s an app we worked on with Panic and released in 2002. Twenty years ago!

CandyBar did one thing and it did it well: every system icon on your Mac could be changed, including folders and disks, with the click of a button. It was a collaboration where Panic provided the code and we provided the content. People loved it then the same way they love widgets on iOS now: it gave your Mac a personality as unique as your own.

We also had another product around that time called Pixadex. It was a library app, much like Photos, that helped us keep track of all the icons we were making as freeware. It was also a joint effort with Panic.

In 2007, CandyBar 3 was released with the functionality of both products combined. It was a hit and folks were having a grand time customizing their Macs.

But all this sweetness slowly started to sour. The reason was simple: Apple started taking steps to lock down the security of Mac OS X. CandyBar worked by replacing icons in well-known locations, and when those places became inaccessible, things began to break. We did the best we could, but eventually pulled the plug in 2012. Ten years ago!

Mostly we were left with bittersweet memories. But there was one thing that CandyBar could still do very well: manage a large archive of icons. So we’ve been using it periodically for the past decade.

With the arrival of Big Sur and Monterey, a bunch of annoying bugs started to surface. Our long beloved tool was showing its age. Over the annual Christmas break, we dusted off code that hadn’t been touched for years, and squashed the most egregious bugs (there are still plenty of bugs). We also removed the features that let you change system icons. That ship has sailed and ain’t coming back.

The result is CandyBar – Sugar Free Edition™. Like the version released a decade ago, it’s still FREE. It’s also completely unsupported so there’s no technical assistance for the app whatsoever. After you download the app you’ll need to get past Gatekeeper (the code signing identity is one of those many bugs). Once you’re running, you’ll have a glimpse of what Pixadex looked like so long ago, but with support for the latest operating systems and Apple Silicon.

Here’s to another decade of CandyBar goodness!

Tot + Shortcuts = Geek Bliss

March 25, 2022

By Craig Hockenberry

macOS shortcut showing a simple workflow where the clipboard contents are converted to uppercase text and added to Tot

Our wildly popular app, that manages bits of text simply and efficiently, has been updated to version 1.3. The biggest news in this release of Tot is the addition of Shortcuts on macOS and iOS.

Tot’s shortcut actions are as simple as the app itself:

  • Get the text from any one of the dots
  • Set the text for any dot
  • Add text to the beginning or end of a dot
  • Query a dot for additional information, including line/word/character counts, a JSON representation, and more
  • You can also switch which dot is showing in the UI

Tot’s actions let the app be a convenient place to put the output from one of your shortcuts (when creating a file is overkill). It’s also a great way to collect and prepare text as input for a workflow. In short, Tot has become a scratchpad for automation. And because the actions are identical on macOS and iOS, your customizations work anywhere.

Mac power-users who love Command-Tab also get a great new feature: Smart Icons. When this new option is selected for “Control With” in Settings, you’ll get a menubar icon that opens the popover window as always. But now when you detach the popover, you’ll get a Dock icon as well. This lets Tot show up in the Command-Tab list and display menubar items. It’s the best of both worlds.

The release also includes performance improvements and interface refinements. A complete list of the changes and more information about the app is available on the Tot website. Tot is a FREE download on macOS and a paid download on iOS.

Triode 1.3: Music Your Way

March 9, 2022

By Webmaster

We’re pleased to announce a new version of our Internet radio app: Triode.

Screenshot of Triode's new station editing user interface. The Select an Image… button allows you to pick custom artwork.

Version 1.3 introduces a new feature that many customers have been requesting: custom station logos.

Just tap the ℹ⃝ button on any station you’ve created and you’ll see a new Select an Image… button. From there, you can pick any artwork from your iOS Photos library or Mac desktop. Your customized station artwork is then synced automatically all of your devices running Triode (including tvOS).

We’ve also improved the labels and layout in the station view, making things more consistent and allowing for longer station names.

Another big change is on iOS: the now playing view includes a colorful background by default. Each new track gives you a beautiful new look:

Three screenshots of the new colorful background in the now playing view.

The original Black appearance is still available in the app’s Settings tab.

This release also includes a new setting on macOS that makes it easier to sample stations (using the Station > Stay on Station menu item). We also fixed some issues with the display of Triode’s icons in CarPlay, multitasking indicators on the iPad, and the Track History on the desktop.

All-in-all, this is a great update for fans of streaming audio. You can learn more about Triode on its website and download the FREE app on iOS, macOS, and tvOS. Rock on!

Tot’s Got Your Back

January 12, 2022

By Craig Hockenberry

We’re pleased to announce the immediate availability of Tot 1.2.4 on macOS. Besides the normal bug fixes and minor improvements, there’s a feature we hope you never have to use: Automatic Backups.

Tot now makes sure you have a copy of your notes stored on the local disk as well as in iCloud. Backups are performed every hour while you’re using the app and at launch or quit. There’s no configuration, “it just works”.

If your notes ever get accidentally deleted, you can use the File > Show Automatic Backups… to get a list of your changes over the past few days. Each file is JSON text that can be viewed in a text editor and restored using File > Restore Backup…

If you haven’t tried Tot yet, now’s the perfect time. It’s available for FREE on macOS and as a paid download on iOS. You can also learn more about both apps on the Tot website. Enjoy!

Year In Review for 2021

December 21, 2021

By Ged Maheux

Another year has come to a close and it’s time to reflect on our accomplishments over the past fifty-two weeks. Spoiler alert: It’s a lot! The year 2021 was full of major milestones as we crafted a new and exciting chapter in the life of our very first game, celebrated 25 years in business, continued to serve our design clients, and launched a major release to one of our favorite productivity apps.

The Year of Frenzic

Frenzic’s long journey from the simple puzzle game in 2007 to this year’s exciting release of Frenzic: Overtime on Apple Arcade spanned a total of 14 years. Efforts on Overtime actually began in March of 2020 as we worked from our homes during the pandemic, and culminated with the release in June of 2021. 

Creating Frenzic: Overtime was a labor of love for our entire team and we were thrilled to bring this long-awaited sequel to life. The game combines fast-paced play with stunning visuals and sound to create a frenetic, fun experience for Apple Arcade players the world-over.

This title on Apple Arcade was accompanied by super-cool swag like collectible pins and an amazing, original soundtrack available for streaming on Apple Music and Spotify.

We followed up the initial release with Frenzic’s Test Lab Daily Challenge in October. Players flex their fingers and compete to become the top bot each day, participating in unique challenges and special holiday events like Halloween and Christmas. 

If you just can’t get enough Frenzic, fear not! The bots are hard at work assembling the next chapter in the story and promise to deliver new puzzles, strategies, and fun for everyone in 2022. Stay tuned!

Silver Linings

June marked a major milestone in the form of our Silver Pixel Anniversary. The Iconfactory celebrated our 25th year in business getting to do the things we love most – pushing pixels and creating apps.

The Iconfactory’s founders: Ged Maheux, Corey Marion, and Talos Tsui.

When we think back to where it all started, posting tiny 32×32 icons on AOL, and how we grew over the past two and half decades, we have to pinch ourselves. Along the way we’ve had the honor of working alongside some of the most talented developers and designers in the business and for that we are truly grateful.

We’re also proud to have a small sample of our work included in The iOS App Icon Book coming next year from our friend Michael Flareup. It’s wonderful to be honored in print along with so many of our iconic peers, and we hope you’ll check it out.

At Long Last, Linea

We shipped updates to most of our apps during 2021, including a substantial update to Twitterrific, and measured improvements in Tot, Triode, and others.

But Linea was our biggest update and our main focus in the second half of the year.

Linea Sketch 4 brought two major new features that users have been long requesting – support for text in the form of Annotations, and a way to paint and sketch organically with Linea’s new watercolor brush. Customers enjoyed the app’s improvements and continued focus on simplicity that lets them spend their time where it matters most – sketching out ideas.

Our Linea YouTube channel grew by leaps and bounds in 2021, offering new tutorials as well as tips and tricks to get the most out of the app. If you’ve not subscribed head on over and mash that button! There are more great improvements coming in the months ahead, so be sure to follow @Linea_App on Twitter for the latest news and sneak peeks.

One More Thing

Innovation at Apple has always inspired us. Even when it comes in the form of a notch on the latest MacBook Pros.

As we close out the year, we’re happy to have a fun little app that is our gift to Mac users everywhere: Notchmeister. It follows the long tradition of software on the Mac whose only purpose it to make you smile. Like any gift, the less you know about it before downloading, the better!

Snug In Our Beds

Twitterrific’s Ollie perched over Tim Cook’s shoulder during the WWDC 2021 Keynote.

As we take our well-earned holiday break, it’s easy to lose track of all the things we achieved in 2021. We added over 80 new wallpapers for our loyal Patreon subscribers, crafted new and exciting icons, emoji, and interfaces for our design clients, and even appeared in Apple’s WWDC Keynote address. Well, at least Ollie did :-)

Who can say what the new year will hold for us or our loyal customers and fans? We can only strive to continue to create the kind of work you’ve known and loved for the past 25 years. As always, new opportunities will arise, new challenges will present themselves, and hopefully we’ll all stay safe and thrive in 2022. We hope you’ll join us again next year. Happy holidays, everyone!

Notches Gone Wild!

December 17, 2021

By Craig Hockenberry

This holiday season we have a special gift for Mac users everywhere, especially ones with a new MacBook Pro and notch. We’re proud to announce the immediate availability of Notchmeister.

So what does Notchmeister do?

Think of it as a fun way to spruce up your notch. Or as a screen saver for something you can’t see. Or, maybe, just a useless waste of time.

If you’re now even more confused, just download the app and give it a try. It’s a FREE download on the Mac App Store.

And if you’re a developer and wondering how all this nutty stuff works, take a look at the code. Following @Notchmeister is also a good way to keep up with all the latest news.

Happy holidays!

Frenzic: Overtime Gains Accessibility, Speed

December 6, 2021

By Webmaster

We’re pleased to announce that Frenzic: Overtime has been updated with a new Accessibility option in the game’s Settings panel. Players can now choose to play with Frenzic’s default colors or using the new Colorblind Mode. The colorblind mode uses a different set of colors for the chips that should make it easier to play if the originals didn’t work well for you.

In addition, all players will enjoy the improved speed of the 1.1.1 update. The game launches faster, loads levels more quickly, and has a much smaller memory footprint.

The Frenzic corporate office will no doubt be proud. Download the Frenzic: Overtime 1.1.1 update from Apple Arcade today. Have fun, everyone!

Announcing Linea Sketch 4

November 16, 2021

By Ged Maheux

Today we’re pleased to announce a major update to Linea Sketch, our digital sketchbook for iPad and Apple Pencil. Version 4 brings a host of long-requested features that creators are sure to love: editable text annotations, a new watercolor brush, lockable layers, and much more. 

The Text’s The Thing

Linea Sketch 4 brings the ability to add text and labels to your sketches. Tap the new “Aa” icon to enter Annotation mode, then tap anywhere on your drawing to create an annotation. Scribble with an Apple Pencil to edit directly or tap with your finger to invoke the keyboard and type your own text. 

Choose from a wide variety of fonts including Linea Sans, a new custom typeface designed especially for use in sketches. You can easily adjust text formatting, alignment, and colors. Use preset sizes for a uniform appearance, or scale text dynamically with a simple tap and drag. Text can also be merged into a layer, letting you transform and stylize it as needed. The possibilities are endless. 

Water Water Everywhere

With Linea’s new watercolor brush, you can now paint and fill your creations organically. Create rustic and artistic effects by painting with pigment in three different modes:

  • Simple for textured, painterly strokes.
  • Wet for watery strokes with pooled pigment at the edges.
  • Cloud for textured splats that are great for skies, landscapes, or backgrounds.

Linea’s watercolor brush is unique and allows you to apply color in many new ways. We encourage you to experiment with the brush’s various modes to find the one that works best for your creations.

Work Smarter, Not Harder

Version 4 also includes a host of important features and improvements designed to reduce friction and save time when drawing in Linea Sketch. Chief among these improvements is the ability to lock layers: when you open the options for any layer, you’ll see a lock icon that prevents changes. Locked layers speed up your work flow, since you don’t need to worry about stray marks, merging, or accidentally modifying part of a layer.

We’ve also added the ability to adjust corner radii on rectangular ZipShapes. After you draw a rough shape and hold at the end, you’ll see four new green drag handles. Drag a handle and all four corners will adjust in unison, or tap & hold on a handle to adjust the corners individually.

There are many more improvements, including the ability to organize custom color chips, larger sizes for drawing tools, and snapping to size or aspect ratio when transforming. The version history has full details.

Introducing Linea Premium

Linea Sketch continues to be a FREE download with features that can be used without payment. Beginning today, new features like Annotations and the Watercolor Brush require a Linea Premium subscription. The good news is that you can sign up for a FREE two week trial and take these new tools for a spin.

If you’d prefer get these features without a subscription, Linea Premium is also available as a one-time purchase that unlocks the new features, as well as ones in the future, without recurring payments.

If you haven’t tried Linea Sketch yet, today’s update is the perfect opportunity to see why so many people call Linea their favorite sketchpad. Visit our YouTube channel to learn all about the app, see helpful tutorials, and get tips and tricks. The version history page has a complete rundown on what’s new, and a download of Linea Sketch is just a tap away. You’ll be creating in no time!