Meet Raphael Sebbe from Creaceed

Continuing in our Meet a developer series, this week's interview will be with Raphael Sebbe from Creaceed.

First, please take a moment to introduce yourself and Creaceed
We are Creaceed, a small company based in Belgium. We develop creative/utility apps that we sell to customers on Apple platforms, Mac and iPhone/iPad. We incorporated in 2008, following a successful freelance experiment. We are located in Mons, in the Initialis Scientific Park. One funny thing is that we are 50 meters away from Microsoft's Innovation Center…

I graduated as an electrical engineer in 2000, and later got a PhD in image processing.

What is your role at the Creaceed
I am CEO at Creaceed, and I personally develop most of our apps.

What is the size of the Creaceed and would you want to introduce others?
We are 2 people, Sandrine Loiseau and me. Sandrine has a management & translator degree, and is mostly involved in product marketing and business management. We've been working mostly on our own, with some external help sometimes. We'd like to hire 2 people later this year.

What is the Idea of the Creaceed's business (self publishing, services, etc)?
We develop applications that we sell in our own name. Mostly creative or utility applications highly relying on technology. For instance, we push apps that make use of advanced image processing or speech recognition techniques, but at the same time that are intuitive and elegant, as most Mac and iPhone users are expecting.

What platforms do you develop for?
Mac, iOS.

How many Apps have Creaceed published
We've got 8 apps (4 on the Mac, and 4 on iOS).

What was your flagship app that you think brought Creaceed to the limelight?
Difficult question. The first one was probably Morph Age, it's a morphing app that we first brought to market in 2002, and that evolved quite a bit to version 4.0. More recently, Hydra for HDR imaging and Prizmo for scanning and OCR on the Mac were successful as well, and on iPhone, Vocalia and Prizmo. It's quite the mix actually which brought us to the limelight.

Which is your favourite app amongst all your apps?
Probably Hydra.

What is your favourite app that you have not created?
Although I haven't used it so to say, I've always been intrigued by Softimage XSI.

What is your favourite device (Computer & Phone) and why?
The Mac. It has the power and programming tools that enable to make full featured creative apps. The limit is your imagination. iOS is coming closer to Mac OS now. Not everything can be made (battery life, smaller CPU…), but it's portable and always with the user, and that brings a whole new category of app possibilities.

Can you tell us a little bit more about Hydra?
We first released Hydra in 2008, and version 2 early 2009. We're hard at work on version 3 to be released later this year.
Cameras have a limited dynamic range, and as a consequence pictures can't get the whole scene (they are either burned, or under-exposed). The HDR technique helps solving that, your pictures look like what your eyes actually see. And that technique can also be used for surrealistic effects.

What was the inspiration for the app?
Some existed before Hydra, but we wanted to bring the user experience to new levels of intuitiveness and speed.

What are the main categories your apps are in? (Games/Utilities/etc)
Photography, Video, Productivity.

Do you advertise for any apps you have published? What was the outcome/results?
We tried that a couple of times, it's difficult to measure whether it's worth it or not. We do push our applications through journalists, social networks, blogs, and some other contacts.

When did you start development?

How did you get into Development? What attracted you to this?
I was a student in 1998, and had a dream of making that next great 3D app. I was mostly a user of creative apps at that time. I tried different development platforms, Windows, Linux, Mac OS, BeOS, and OpenStep (Yellow Box). I found out that the last one was the most elegant and powerful, you could write small and full featured code with it. I made a bet it would emerge at some time and it did as Apple's Cocoa. I was also lucky to be one of the 300 students Apple invited for WWDC 2000, which further confirmed my choices.

What is your favourite programming language?
Objective-C / Cocoa.

Do you believe in the giving back code to the society to help aid development
Yeah, that's good.

Do you have any GitHub repositories or OpenSource or code repos?
Yeah, I've got accounts on github, bitbucket, and some other ones. I've only contributed to some projects so far (Pixie, Murky, and fixes here and there). I have a plan to release some of our stuff later this year, in the hope it will be useful to others. We also do make use of open source in our apps, license permitting.

What do you do other than Development?
I like to travel and spend time with friends, but I have to admit that managing a company takes most of my energy.

What is your method of commute? (Bike, Train, Car, Walk)

So what is next in the pipeline for Creaceed
Hydra 3 this year. We'll also have substantial updates to some other apps later this year. Our long-term plan is to have apps relating to 3D technology, but that takes time to build.

What advice would you give to other developers out there?
Start by learning one tool. Stay focused. Work hard. Seek quality and value. Love your users.

Would you want to provide your contact details if any one would want to get in touch with you
I'm @rsebbe on Twitter.

Thank you for your time, we appreciate your participation