Category Archives: Reviews

Brushstroke — a rather cool iOS filter app

Blue JayI love the idea of tak­ing a good pho­to­graph­ic image and manip­u­lat­ing it so it looks like it was a paint­ing. It fol­lows then, that I quite enjoy exper­i­ment­ing and find­ing a cool ios fil­ter app that facil­i­tates this.

I like see­ing how tech­ni­cal­ly gift­ed peo­ple have cre­at­ed soft­ware to ‘see’ as a water­colour artist sees, or as an impres­sion­ist sees. Cre­ativ­i­ty. You can see some of my exper­i­ments on my Flickr stream.

My lat­est explo­ration has been with Brush­stroke — a rather ful­ly-fea­tured iOS fil­ter app. The Blue Jay image above is a ren­der cre­at­ed with Brush­stroke — almost has an illus­tra­tion qual­i­ty about it.

Yeah, it’s pret­ty pow­er­ful — han­dling both water­colour style as well as oil — and things in-between such as acrylics and gouache.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly it doesn’t real­ly label them all accord­ing­ly (Oil, Washed, Hatched, Sim­ple, etc) but then again, it’s kin­da fun to explore.

Cur­rent­ly $2.99 in the app store — a fair price for a pret­ty capa­ble app!

 

Unleash your inner Spielberg

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I’m sure all of us have, at one point or anoth­er, dreamed of releas­ing that movie direc­tor deep inside, and mak­ing our own movie, com­plete with music and spe­cial effects.

Well, if your dream is to make one that hear­kens back to the gold­en days of silent cin­e­ma, then I’ve got an inex­pen­sive app for you.

Silent Film Direc­tor, released today, can help you make movies in a style rem­i­nensent of the clas­sic Hol­ly­wood sil­ver screen.

It’s a very slick app that lets you shoot, edit and share movies on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad (in Uni­ver­sal mode). Con­tin­ue read­ing Unleash your inner Spiel­berg

Review: Filterstorm — Ansel Adams said what?

Fil­ter­storm 2, one of the uni­ver­sal image enhance­ment apps I’ve been watch­ing for a while, just got a pret­ty good review over at MacLife:

With Fil­ter­storm 2, uni­ver­sal for iPad and iPhone, you can “make” just about any pho­to your imag­i­na­tion con­ceives. It’s so good, in fact, that it may — for every­one but a true pro­fes­sion­al — obvi­ate the need for desk­top edit­ing suites.

Well worth check­ing out.

From Glass to Tablets — Tiffen Photo FX Ultra

tlogo.jpgOne of the long-time play­ers in the glass pho­to fil­ter and acces­so­ry space is com­pa­ny called Tiff­en.

And recent­ly I learned that they were also in the iPad  image edit­ing space with Pho­to FX Ultra -a very pow­er­ful image edit­ing app that includes a sur­pris­ing num­ber of fil­ters and a few effects I’d not seen before.

I’ll save the fea­ture list for the end, but here’s a cou­ple of the neat fea­tures I use:

Dif­fu­sion
Great set of grad­u­at­ed dif­fu­sion fil­ters. One cool fea­ture is that not only can you use a pre­set fil­ter set­ting (Soft­FX 1, SoftFX2, etc), but you can also tweak the set­tings to suite your cre­ative judg­ment.

Image 201132101255.jpg

 

Grads/Tints
A great selec­tion of grad­u­at­ed fil­ters and neu­tral den­si­ty fil­ters that you can selec­tive­ly apply to an image — in this one I’ve applied a neu­tral den­si­ty gra­da­tion to the top por­tion of this image.

Image 201132101318.jpg

 

Light­ing
This one is neat — it puts a light pat­tern into your image -either a gobo-style light­ing pat­tern or a win­dow pat­tern.

Image 201132101306.jpg

 

You can adjust the place­ment of the pat­tern, and to add a bit more depth to the effect, you can selec­tive­ly erase the pat­tern, cre­ate a new lay­er, then put a new copy of the pat­tern in a slight­ly dif­fer­ent loca­tion to give the illu­sion of depth.

And as promised, here’s the full list of fea­tures in this iPad dark­room app:

  • Choose from 77 fil­ters orga­nized into 8 dif­fer­ent fil­ter groups
  • Select from a total of 934 pre­sets
  • Try one of the 65 dif­fer­ent col­or or black and white film looks
  • Add real­is­tic dif­fu­sion to pho­tos using a library of 50 inter­est­ing tex­tures
  • Cre­ate nat­ur­al light­ing effects using 117 dif­fer­ent pat­terns
  • Choose from 27 grain pre­sets to sim­u­late pop­u­lar motion pic­ture film stocks
  • Paint on the image using Col­or, Clone, Blur, Black and White, Mosa­ic, Red Eye, Repair, Scat­ter and Eras­er brush­es
  • Crop, Rotate, Straight­en
  • Zoom into the image with the Close-Up Lens fil­ter
  • Add mul­ti­ple fil­ters with­out sav­ing
  • Selec­tive­ly apply fil­ters by paint­ing a mask
  • Mod­i­fy fil­ters with slid­ers, on-screen con­trols or pre­sets
  • High res­o­lu­tion sup­port up to 3072 pix­els
  • Edit in por­trait or land­scape mode
  • Com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with the still image edi­tions of the Tiff­en Dfx Dig­i­tal Fil­ter Suite
  • Quick­ly search for fil­ters and pre­sets
  • Inte­grat­ed Help

Caveat
One prob­lem I had reg­u­lar­ly with Pho­to FX Ultra was when work­ing with very large images — the app would crash with­out warn­ing when try­ing to add a new lay­er or sav­ing out the image.

This wasn’t a prob­lem when work­ing with nor­mal iOS images such as cap­tures from an iPhone or iPad screen­shots, but when I was work­ing with large .jpg images import­ed from a DSLR (around 4 — 5 mb) the app would be chal­lenged.

I’ve reached out to the devel­op­er on this and am await­ing feed­back — and will update this post when I’ve got news. and the devel­op has respond­ed:

We don’t put a res­o­lu­tion lim­it on images that you can process on the iPad. How­ev­er, the iPad only has 256mb of mem­o­ry and 128mb are used up by the sys­tem before you run any­thing. The iPad is sev­er­ly under­pow­ered to process DSLR size images. You can increase your odds by mak­ing sure no oth­er app is run­ning when using Pho­to fx.

 

Still Rec­om­mend
Yes, even thought it has issues han­dling larg­er images, for the vast major­i­ty of work I do on my iPad I can I still rec­om­mend this app for the great vari­ety of pre­set fil­ters that have direct cor­re­la­tion to the real-world fil­ters made by Tiff­en.

As well, the way you can move and selec­tive­ly apply the fil­ters offers you greater con­trol than I’ve seen oth­er sim­i­lar­ly priced image edit­ing suites.

The con­cept of adding lay­ers of edits to your image brings it into the realm of desk­top edit­ing soft­ware such as Pho­to­shop.

And once the devel­op­er address­es the large image size prob­lem, this app will be one to have in your dig­i­tal dark­room took­it.

So, as long as you’re not work­ing with images that are large, in my expe­ri­ence over 4mb DSLR images for exam­ple, you’ll find Pho­to FX Ultra a valu­able addi­tion to your toolk­it.

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