iOS 8: Using 3rd Party Apps within the Apple Photo Editor

Apple has made 3rd party apps available directly within their standard photo editing tool.

Developers will need to update their apps so that this will be possible. I know Waterlogue is coming soon (and was shown in the original keynote about iOS 8), and I’m sure many others will get released soon.

Here is an example of how that works using Artomaton on my 3rd generation iPad (the first retina model). I think this is a great new feature since I often do a lot of app switching when I’m editing photos.

iPhone 6 Camera: Improved, but Enough?

Apple announced the brand new iPhone 6 today in two different sizes. The camera is very similar to what is in the iPhone 5, but Apple has improved the sensor and the software. The iPhone 6 Plus (the big 5.5 inch iPhone) will also include optical image stabilization. Forbes actually has a pretty nice write up pointing out the highs and lows of the new cameras. There are tons of other stories out there today so you can always just search for ‘iPhone 6 camera’ and you’ll see lots of stuff!

iphone6 camera

You can read all about it on the Apple iPhone 6 camera page. Although not exactly a photo feature, I’m really interested in the 240 frame per second super slow motion video. I’m interested in trying to get photos from that video of things such as ink getting dropped in clear water and other fun stuff like that.

You’ll be able to over/under expose a real-time image up to four stops. That will be a nice addition. Supposedly Apple will now let developers have access to camera controls so you will be able to manually set the focus and exposure. I’m really looking forward to developers turning the iPhone 6 into a near-DSLR camera that I always have with me.

The camera lens now extends a bit from the back of the iPhone. From just looking at pictures of it, I’m not really excited about this. Hopefully whatever case I get for my iPhone will be just a tiny bit ‘thicker’ than that lens protrusion (I’ve always been a pretty minimal case sort of guy).

Is the camera by itself enough to get me to upgrade from my iPhone 5? I’m not sure. Will the bigger iPhone get me to upgrade? What about the integration with the Apple Watch? Hmmm… Once again, I’m still not sure. But…as always…I’m probably going to upgrade. :)

A bigger question is what size should I get? The big 5.5 inch iPhone will have the added optical stabilization, and the battery life is longer than the 4.7 inch model. Longer battery life equals more pictures during the day. When I travel (not nearly often enough) it is pretty easy to drain the battery as I snap away all day.

I really want to get my hands on these new iPhones before making a decision.

Are you going to get an iPhone 6? Which size?

Are You a Glitch Wizard? Huh? What’s a Glitch Wizard?

Glitch Wizard is a new iPhone app that lets you take your photos and turn them in to Glitch art. What is that you ask? It’s the aestheticization of digital or analog errors, such as artifacts and other “bugs”, by either corrupting digital code/data or by physically manipulating electronic devices. Here is one example where I took a photo and glitched it multiple times.


When I first heard the app title I wasn’t really sure what it meant until I checked it out on Wikipedia. I don’t think I’m young enough to hang with the glitch wizards. :)

Although I didn’t know what it meant, I played with the app a bit and really liked what I could create. I immediately thought of the opening credits of Homeland and how many ‘glitches’ were involved in the creation of it.

In the app you can apply glitch after glitch (there are many different types) as you build up a sequence. You can preview the animation at any time, and you see a little square preview of each shot in the sequence. If you don’t like a glitch you made you can drag the little square out of the sequence and it will be deleted. As you learn what the various glitches do it becomes easier and easier to get the overall effect you are looking for.

After you have created your animated sequence you can share it as an animated gif via email, save it to your iPhone as a movie, or share it on a social network.

It was easy to learn how to use it. Right now it is an iPhone app, but the developer is working on making this a Universal app. In some cases when I saved it to my camera roll (on the iPad) the movie would just be black, but the developer of the app is aware of the problem and is working on it. [Note: when sending the glitch art via email it did not exhibit this bug.]

So are you ready to create some crazy opening credits, or maybe just glitch a photo in a wizardly way? If you are up for the challenge go ahead and try it out. You can find out a lot more on the Glitch Wizard home page, or download the app on iTunes. Currently the app is just $1.

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!


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