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.

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).

Snapseed

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).

BENEFITS:
• 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.

iOS 8 Will Revolutionize Your Camera

The Apple World Wide Developer Conference (WWDC) is currently taking place and Apple announced iOS 8. Apple is finally going to let developers have access to the camera API which will let third-party camera apps can have precise control over exposure, focus, and white balance in addition to the controls they already have.

This will let developers create photo apps where you’ll have the ability manually set the ISO, focus, aperture, zoom, white balance, and shutter speed. A full blown manual camera! I really can’t wait to see some of the new apps!

iOS 8 editing photos

Several other new features were discussed. The built in photo editing is going to get a bit fancier, but Apple will also allow developers to embed their filters and editing tools directly into the Photos app. So you can apply third‑party effects to images without leaving the app where you view your photos. Apple did a demo of this on the stage and used used Waterlogue (a really nice app that I can’t live without).

Tracks at sunset
Created with Waterlogue.

Another major feature will be iCloud where you’ll be able to store all your photos. The pricing for various storage plans is competitive with companies so it will be interesting to see what happens. This should allow you to easily get full resolution photos on any device and keep them in sync as you edit them.

One other item of interest was the time-lapse option as one of the shooting modes. I’m interested in exploring this when I start using iOS 8.

There were many other things mentioned. If you want to watch the full video of the WWDC you can do that on the Apple site (warning, it is almost 2 hours long!).

Developers can already start using it to update their apps, but it won’t be officially released until the fall of 2014. I can’t wait to see the first apps that make use of these features.