TwistCam Serves Photos with a Twist

TwistCam is a new app from the developers of Tiny Planets that allows you to distort images with twists, ranging from a single twist to as many twists as you want in your photo.

Shrubbery after TwistCam
Shrubbery after TwistCam

I often call this sort of app a one-trick pony (an app that does just one thing). There are a number of these that I use regularly including WordFoto, Image Blender, Tiny Planets, and Percolator. This app does twists.

Once you’ve loaded (or taken) an image you will primarily use two buttons: the settings button (the one that looks like a gear), and the twist button. When you press settings you will be able to position the center, radius, direction, and magnitude of the twist by dragging the central dot and the “magnitude” dot (the one with the left/right and up/down arrows on it). You can also adjust the number of rings on the slider, ranging from one to forty.

TwistCam GUI
TwistCam GUI

After getting those settings taken care of you simply press the twist button. If you don’t like it the undo button will go back (and back, and back..).

One nifty thing about the app is the little indicators that show the amount of rotation each ring will get (see the red arrow in the picture above). You can see that the outer edge and center will barely rotate, but the region about 1/3 of the way to the edge will be shifted the most. I like being able to see that ahead of time.

You can also zoom in on the image when you are not in “settings” mode. To do this click the gear to see the twist controller, drag it near the area of interest, click the gear to deselect the twist controller, and then zoom in using the typical two-finger zoom. Once again click the gear and you’ll be able to more accurately position the twist on the zoomed in view.

Currently the app saves images with a maximum size of 1500×2000 pixels, so it isn’t saving at the full resolution on my iPhone 4S. I’m hoping that gets updated in a future version.

Overall the app works rather well. I used it for multiple photos with lots of twists and the app seemed very stable. It never crashed and nothing unexpected happened, which is great for a version 1.0 of any app.

I’d like it if the twists would be a bit smoother when using a high number of rings. On the other hand, in many situations (such as with architecture) it is nice to have the distinct breaks at the rings. I’m not sure if it would help the smoothness if more than forty rings were allowed or if higher resolution was included.

The app is definitely unique. I’m not sure if I’m artistic enough to decide exactly what to create with the app, but the shots by Nick Sitton that were done with this style certainly give me a few ideas. I also have a feeling this might be interesting when creating some abstract artwork on my iPhone, as is Tiny Planets.

TwistCam Effects

The image above shows a close view of a few shots I created. As one of my friends said, the twisted face is a bit disturbing. I kind of liked the twisty legs on the bottom of the chair. A few other shots are on the TwistCam Flickr page.

If you are interested in using twists in your iPhone artwork this is definitely a good app to grab. A one-trick app full of twists. 🙂

It’s currently $0.99 on iTunes.

TwistCam creates “Inception” like distortions in your photos. The app ripples through your photos to show another world.

How does it work? The app creates a series of concentric circles, each is turned at an angle. These work to shift the reality of your photo.

Configure the size of the circles, the number of circles and the angle to create your own twists on reality. Add as many twists to your photo as you like.

The app has undo functionality built-in, so feel free to experiment; if you don’t like that last twist you added, just hit undo and try again!

Inspired by Nicholas Kennedy Sitton’s Twisted series.


Twitter: @infodingapps #twistcam
Flickr group:


1. Use photos from your camera roll or launch the camera and take photos in the app itself.
2. Configure your twists with the easy-to-use touch-based interface.
3. Add as many twists to a photo as you like.
4. Undo any twist if it didn’t quite turn out the way you wanted.
5. Share your twisted photos on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Flickr, or via email or save your them to your camera roll.

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