PixelTwister Spins Lines of Pixels

PixelTwister is a new Universal app that lets you create sketch-ish looking artwork from your photos.

PixelTwister turns any picture into a work of art that resembles a sketch or a scratchboard drawing. Just take a picture, manipulate the settings (or click the Randomize button and see what happens) until you get something you like, and then save or e-mail a high-resolution copy of your creation!

Note that although the screen display on the iPad and iPhone are different due to resolution differences, the full-size images produced by the app are the same on both.

There is a free version of this app which includes iAds, and a $0.99 version that has no ads.

The GUI is rather simple. You can select an image (or take a picture in the app) and then adjust various parameters or choose random settings. Then you can email or save your image.

PixelTwister: Main Controls

PixelTwister: Main Controls

PixelTwister: Adjust Parameters

PixelTwister: Adjust Parameters

I’ve used the app for awhile and here are a few things I’ve found (this is all on my iPhone 4S).

  • Output size was 1500×2000 pixels when you choose the large size option. A full picture on iPhone 4S is 2448×3264
  • Output size was 320×427 pixels when using screen size option (which is half the actual screen size).
  • It would typically crash after doing three saves with different parameters.
  • When you first open an image in portrait mode it will open in landscape mode.
  • What you see on the screen is not what you’ll get when you save the image.

The WYSI-N-WYG (what you see is not what you get) issue always bothers me. When you select the screen size option for saving your image what you get will be one half the size of what you saw on the screen. In this situation the output image does have the general appearance of what you saw.

However, when you use the large size option the exported image is significantly different from what you saw. The app doesn’t give you any way to preview what the output file will look like, so you just have to take your best guess.

Here is a reduced original image I used, what I saw on the screen, and the small and large output files. I’ve reduced file sizes on the large image, if you’d like full size files just leave a comment and I’ll post them. The files posted here give you a very good feel for the differences in appearance despite the reduction.

Original Image (reduced to 600x800)

Original Image (reduced to 600x800)

PixelTwist GUI

PixelTwist GUI

Small image saved.

Small image saved.

Large file saved (reduced to 600x800)

Large file saved (reduced to 600x800)

With that same original image I adjusted the parameters to get a “lighter” image.

Used Random Settings

Used Random Settings

This is version 1.0 of the app and there is certainly room for improvement. With the free version available it won’t hurt to give it a try. Overall I like the idea of the app, but the WYSIWYG feature is high on my list of things I’d like to see, along with full resolution output.

View from a train.

View from a train.

I could easily see using this app together with others such as Blender to create some interesting looking shots. Above is one image I created with PixelTwister alone (used the screen size export).

PixelTwister Free on iTunes (free)
PixelTwister on iTunes ($0.99)

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