Imagine Triangles. Lots and Lots of Triangles!

As I mentioned the other day, I’ve been having a lot of fun creating some abstract art and just wanted to let you know a bit about Trimaginator, a Universal app. Like so many useful apps, it really just does one thing. It creates triangular shapes from your image using a method invented by the mathematician Boris Delaunay in 1934. The process behind it is complicated, but in the end the image is reduced to its essentials and turned into a triangular mesh.

Trimaginator GUI

Trimaginator being used.

Tap on your photo to add mesh points or drag your finger across it to add multiple points. You’re also able to remove points if necessary. The geometry of the image will change almost instantly while performing your drawings, thanks to an extremely optimized triangulation engine!

Trimaginator also features different rendering styles and several shape detection algorithms to achieve stunning results in no time!

· Import any picture from your library
· Take a new photo from within the app
· Draw, Erase
· Select within a range of 11 effects
· Toggle between 11 rendering styles
· Save image in high resolution
· Portrait and landscape modes are supported

You can see a lot of the abstract works I’ve done using Trimaginator as the starting point in this Flickr album. If you want to see a more artistic take on how to use Trimaginator you should check out this video created by the developer of the app.

In the next week or so I’m going to do a video showing how I combine a few apps to create my images. BrushStroke, PictureShow, Waterlogue, Camera+, RollWorld, and Artomaton are a few that I have used for these abstract shots, but Trimaginator is always the starting point.

Trimaginator is a Universal app that is currently selling for $1.99. There is also a free version that will let you see how it works – Trimaginator Lite is free.

Image created with Trimagintor.

Empty Mind by R. Pfaff, 2014. Used Trimaginator as the starting point, and then Artomaton for ‘sketch’ look.

Photos of Meteor Showers with Your iPhone? Really? Yes!

The Perseid meteor shower peaks tonight, but lots of meteors from this shower will still be around later in the week. If it is clear (and dark) in your area, you may want to open up NightCap Pro and see what you can capture. For those of you that have previously gone out looking for meteor showers you probably know this can be a challenge.

Luckily, there is a really nice blog post by the developer of Nightcap Pro that will help you go out, watch the showers, and possibly get a great shot of it with your iPhone!

The picture below, taken using Nightcap Pro on an iPhone 5S, shows a nice little meteor zipping through the night sky (upper center area) as the stars spin through the sky. Really nice.

Stars and a trail

Taken with NightCap Pro on an iPhone 5S. You can see star trails, the dashed lines left by planes, and at the top middle the small dash of a shooting star. Full size image is on the Nightcap blog post.

As a child I never imagined being able to take a picture of a meteor shower with something I carry around in my pocket, and as a physicist I am amazed that I can do that.

Update: Here are some promo codes for a free copy of Nightcap Pro!

9MA6W3TE6N6H
WPKAKAY3WRLW
KH7HT9JKRPTH
7XR46WFRNLKY
4PRHWWM99P3H
7KNMRRK4YHH3
6MHW9F9XWMPR
THRAWA3RJA3Y
7HJH49WAWMWN
9MHJA7RWR3X4

If you don’t know how Apple tells you how right here.

Pearl Mountain: Collage and Publishing Apps for Mac

Every now and then I pull up a chair and start working on my Mac at home (work is a different story – I’m always in front of my Mac). I tested out two Mac Apps from Pearl Mountain Software: Picture Collage Maker 3 and Publisher Plus. The collage maker is primarily geared towards collage, greeting cards, scrapbooks, photo books, etc., and Publisher Plus leans toward brochures, newsletters, posters, short magazines, and other similar things. There are both free and pro versions of each so you can try them out to see what you think (I’m always a fan of that option).

Each program uses very similar techniques to deal with photos, text, and other graphics on the screen. It took me about 20 minutes to feel familiar with how some things worked. I have a feeling that spending a few minutes watching the intro video would have helped me a bit, but I always love to learn by trying. This is the video for Picture Collage Maker (and here is intro video for Publisher Plus).

Once I got the hang of the programs I created a few images. The first was done with Collage Maker, and the second with Publisher Plus. I’m currently going through a bit of an abstract phase so I used many of my recent creations.

Strive Collage

Art Sale Poster

As I’ve said in past posts, I don’t use a lot of software like this. I’m sort of an Adobe Illustrator, Lightroom, and Photoshop sort of person (when I’m on my Mac…now mostly iPhone and iPad). However, I have a feeling that apps like this would be useful for a lot of people. Go ahead, try out the free versions if you want to.

Publisher Lite on Mac App Store
Picture Collage Maker 3 on Mac App Store

Pearl Mountain has a lot of other Mac Apps, so check out their site if you get a few moments.

Big Photo: Useful Utility

This week I’ve decided to add Big Photo to my toolbox. It’s a superb Universal app that lets you upsize or downsize an image. The full feature set is giving in the description.

Big Photo logo

1. Big Photo provides capability to view large images or photos over 20MPs (like panoramas) up to 110MP for latest iPhone/iPad, as well as small icons, all in full resolution, and zoom to pixel level.

2. Big Photo provides multiple options to enlarge or down size your photos or images to any custom sizes.

3. Big Photo provides crop tool to crop a “small” portion out of your full resolution photos/images, and produce high quality “blow up” results.

4. Big Photo provides Rotate/Flip (iOS 6.0+) at any angle, support alpha channel (transparent region).

5. Big Photo provides Batch Resizer (iOS 6.0+) – resize tens or hundreds of photos in batch mode. (Optional)

6. Work as your device’s universal image tool: for images in your emails or other apps, “Open in…” can launch Big Photo to view or edit.

7. Special algorithms to handle big pictures and large images: iPhone 4S/iPad 2 mini – 90MP+, iPhone 5/iPad retina 110MP for unlimited fine detail zooming. Similar sizes for crop – sum up the sizes of source and result images. 600% upscale: 8MP=>48MP+ on iPhone 4s/5/5s, iPad 2 or later. For other devices, adjust the sizes accordingly.

There are two reasons I end up using this app, one for downsizing, and one for upsizing. I have a rather limited data plan (a mere 200 meg) since I’m usually near a wifi connection, but every now and then I have to use the cellar data. When choosing to post a photo to Twitter or Facebook I’ll always do a drastic downsize of the image to avoid excess data. My friends won’t see the highest quality image, but I won’t end up paying more for uploading too many big photos.

On the other side of things, I use the upsizing to deal with output from many other apps I use that produce low resolution images. These are often apps that produce some odd effects and the authors didn’t take the time to have them produce full resolution output. [I'm not blaming software authors - I know how things are as I sit around programming all day. There are always decisions to be made, skills to learn, etc.]

One example of this is a recently released app call Trimaginator which creates interesting images that are typically around 640×853 pixels when exported. I will upscale those images so that when I use it in other apps I’ll end up with high resolution photos (useful if you plan to print them or want bigger images on the web).

The interface is so simple that you don’t really have to think. You just choose your output size and press resize. The app then automatically saves the new image to your camera roll. Doesn’t get much easier than that!

Big Photo GUI

This app is currently on sale for just $1 (usually $2). It has a few in-app purchases that allow you to do bulk resizing on multiple photos. This could be very useful for professional, but the vast majority of people probably don’t need that feature.

Download link: Big Photo

Untitled.
Untitled by R. Pfaff, 2014. Used Big Photo to upsize output from Trimaginator before further processing in other apps.

Toolbox Needs a Watercolor Artist

In my toolbox I’ve now included a nice free editor, and a very useful blending tool. Today I’ll throw in a watercolor artist. If you also want to carry one around with you, get Waterlogue. I know a number of painters who have seen what you can create with this app and they are really impressed (although they wonder if their days are numbered).

Waterlogue logo

Waterlogue is currently $2.99, but I consider that nothing when I look at the hundreds of images I’ve created with it. I like them all and would say I have a dozen that I truly love.

Painters may be worried about the gorgeous output, but if I could paint – I would paint. No matter what I make digitally I’m still jealous of those that can make it by hand. :)

The praise for the app sums it up.

• “…with Waterlogue, it’s clear that there’s a very thoughtful human touch behind the app’s painterly algorithms.” —WIRED, Mar., 2014
• “…Waterlogue is going to utterly amaze you, as it’s the first app I’ve seen that gives results that really look like a watercolor painting.” —Cult of Mac, Dec., 2013
• “Watercolor apps may not be a new idea, but Waterlogue does it in a gorgeous, intuitive way, and it’s quite a pleasure to use.” —AppAdvice.com, Dec., 2013
• “Waterlogue App (from Tinrocket) looks awesome!” —Jack Hollingsworth, Photographer, via Twitter @photojack, Dec. 12, 2013
• “It goes beyond typical Photoshop watercolor filters because it has more visual intelligence, and more of the feel of the real paint.” —James Gurney, Artist and Author of Dinotopia, gurneyjourney.blogspot.com, Dec., 2013
• “Ever since digital imagery came into its own over 20 years ago, there have been attempts to mimic traditional media. Where others have failed, Waterlogue nails it.” —PatrickSaunders.com, Dec., 2013

To learn more about the app you can visit the Waterlogue App Homepage. You can see some of the gorgeous images others are creating on the Waterlogue Flickr Group.

Download link: Waterlogue

Deteriorating dreams
Deteriorating dreams, by R. Pfaff. Created with Waterlogue.

One Way Sunflowers

One Way Sunflowers, by R. Pfaff. Created with Waterlogue.