Tag Archives: toolbox

SKRWT: A Necessary Tool

It took awhile before the first few perspective correction apps were released for iOS, but last year SKRWT was released. It’s one of those apps that as soon as you use it you’ll know you can’t live without it. The description starts out as:

No more crooked lines! This keystone and lens-correction tool turns your phone into a view camera. All hail symmetry.

CORRECT LENS DISTORTION
Converging lines have always been a given in iPhoneography due to the fixed focal length of today’s mobile phones – but not anymore. You can now correct horizontal and vertical perspective distortion with just one swipe. It’s really that simple!

ALL-PURPOSE LENS CORRECTION
If you have been using any adapters for your mobile phone – from wide-angle to tele-zoom or external cameras with wifi-connection – you now have your all-inclusive distortion-correction with you at all times.

Let’s just say I could live with just those features, but the list is far more extensive. If you want to know how important lens distortion can be, and what this app can do for you, spend a few minutes watching this video.

I always have a tough time remembering the name of this app, but based on the spelling I mentally use ‘screw it’ as the name when I use spotlight to find the app. I figure I need to twist (screw) the image to correct it. A screw is also a simple machine on wikipedia, and this app certainly makes it a simple process to correct image distortions.

The SKRWT app is currently $1.99 on iTunes. You can find out a lot more about the app on the SKRWT site. It is designed for the iPhone, but runs with no problem on the iPad.

This is one of those apps you absolutely need on your iPhone. Worth every penny.

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.
Untitled by R. Pfaff, 2014. Used Big Photo to upsize output from Trimaginator before further processing in other apps.

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.