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 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.” —, 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,, 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.” —, 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.

Image Blender: Great App for the Toolbox

imageblender logoI’ve mentioned Image Blender a few times over the past few years and whenever I need to blend some images it is always the app I pull out from my toolbox. It’s simple enough and the name says it all – it blends images. From the description:

A simplistic and creative app for combining images with masks and different blend modes on your iPhone and iPad.

While the use and basic idea is very simple, there’s almost an endless list of things you can do with it. Some things worth highlighting are:
- Multi Exposure
- Choosing where and how much to apply of filter from other apps.
- Adding or replacing objects.
- Adding textures.
- Creating your own personalised filters with overlays

Image Blender outputs the full resolution without any limits to the size of your source image.

I often use Image Blender when creating ‘artistic’ images, but mine are nothing compared to some of the ones in the Image Blender Flickr Group. I found a nice tutorial on how to use the app, so you can see the capabilities of the app.

Image Blender is currently $2.99 on iTunes.

4/365 Afternoon Transit
Afternoon Transit, 2013. Image Blender was used.

Tin Man's Desire
Tin Man’s Desire, 2011. Image Blender was used.

My Photo Toolbox Is Born, Snapseed Is First

I’ve wanted to do this for awhile and on a nice cool summer morning I’ve finally gotten around to it. I added a new page on the site called ‘My Toolbox‘ that will list all the apps that I can’t live without on my iPhone (or other iOS device). This list will start out exceptionally small since I’m going to try to do a short post about each app as I add it. If you ever miss a post, you can always find a link to my toolbox at the top of the page.

I decided to start out with Snapseed.

Snapseed is a free Universal app that has been around for several years. It was originally created by Nik Software and was for sale for $5. Google then bought the software company (along with the app) and made it free (always a great price).


There are many highlights. From the iTunes description:

‘…hands down the best photo app for the iPad to date.’ ~~ Scott Kelby, President, National Assoc. of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP).

• Easily adjust your photos with a single tap using Auto Correct
• Tweak your photo to perfection with Tune Image
• Use Selective Adjust to enhance specific objects or areas in your photos
• Experiment with fun & innovative filters like Retrolux, Drama, Vintage, Grunge, and Tilt-Shift
• Add one of the many high quality frames for a finishing touch
• Share your creations via email, Google+, and other built-in sharing methods

I use the app daily to tweak photos. The Tune Image portion is great. The HDR Scape is also a fun one for those that enjoy adding a bit of HDR to their image.

There are a ton of positives, but a few negatives as well. It is a destructive editor. After you apply a change in one of the sections (such as Tune Image, Grunge, etc.) you can’t go back and undo that change in any way. Also, you can’t zoom in on the image (except in the Details section) so you can’t easily tell how much noise you are adding when doing various edits. My one fear is that Google may decide to abandon the app one day. I certainly hope they don’t.

So if you don’t already have this one on your iPhone, grab it right away. It belongs in your toolbox. :)

Snapseed [download]

It took me about 20 seconds to convert a really bad/boring image to a prettier version of the same shot (taken as I sit here typing this blog post). Although both are pretty bad! Below those is an image of a railroad crossing that made heavy use of Snapseed.

Before Using Snapseed

Before Using Snapseed

After Using Snapseed

After Using Snapseed

38/365, Two Tracks
Two Tracks by R. Pfaff, 2013. I used Snapseed and PhotoToaster.