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iSplash Photo for iOS Review

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We review iSplash Photo, a photo editing app for iPhone.

What is iSplash?

iSplash is a color block or black and white filter app, available in both the free and paid (99 cents - ad free) form. As we have not reviewed the paid version, all references are for the free version.
iSplash is a straightforward app with a minimal variety of uses. The app allows you to manually select specific areas of each photo where you would like colors to be featured. You cannot select which colors you would like featured in the photos - as iSplash takes from the original colors of the photo - rather, you select where in the photo you would like color to be and where the photo should remain black and white.
Upon iSplash’s initial download, there is no prompt to upload photos, so the inexperienced user is forced to navigate the app without instruction. Once familiarizing yourself with the nine icons available for use, iSplash is a simple, easy app for color blocking your photos.

Filters and Forwarding
Each uploaded image begins with a black and white filter. All color edits process immediately, and you can “un-color” any portion of the photo each step of the editing process by using the the grey spray can at the bottom of the screen, or the “back or “forward” option, accessed by the corresponding arrows at the top of the screen.

The Joys of Freemium
If you do not save edited photos to your library before closing the app, all edits will be lost. To “share” the edited photo, click the framed flower icon with the arrow pointing outward. This will then show options to either “save to library” or “email to friend.”
There are constant ads on the top of the screen, under the navigation buttons, which always block a portion of the photo and there is no way to close the ad. Most of the time, there is an accompanying ad on the bottom of the screen, covering the bottom of the photo, but there are brief moments when this ad disappears. Occasionally, when iSplash is open but idle, a full screen ad will pop up that you can easily close. After long term use of the free version, we suspect the obstructive and unremovable ads will prompt iSplash users to switch to the paid version.

iSplash Highlights

How to color and decolor a photo using the “spray can”
The spray can allows you to color any portion of the photo by tapping the part you would like to have colored.
Simply swipe or tap the portion of the photo you would like colored. Depending on the size of the desired colored portion of the photo, swiping or tapping may be easier. We generally recommend swiping for larger areas and tapping for smaller areas.
These same directions apply for the grey colored spray can which allows you to decolor any portion of your photo.

How to use the color wheel and color square
The color shapes (square and wheel) allow you to add color to your photo by creating color blocks within the photo that are the shape of the selected color shape. This feature is similar to taking a screenshot on a computer in that you must select the entire frame that you wish to color before letting go of the grab, or else the desired frame size will not be reached.
In this portion it is much easier to over select a frame size, then you can erase extra portions with the decolor spray can tool. If you under select a frame size, you will then have to create another frame to get the missed portions; at time this is difficult as the frames do not always connect as desired.

If the color frame areas or sizes are completely off, you can use the back arrow just redo your last step.

Getting the Basics Right: iSplash

How to adjust the flash with iSplash
As iSplash uses the iPhone’s built in camera for photos, simply use lightning bolt icon at the left corner of the screen to select “Auto,” “On” or “Off.”

How to adjust the picture quality with iSplash
This feature is not available with this app.

How to zoom using iSplash
To zoom into photos, swipe fingers outwards on the screen. To zoom back out, pinch fingers inwards on the screen.
3rd Dec 2013, 17:54   comments (0)

Photosynth for iPhone review

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We review Photosynth for iPhone- an app allowing you to take very good quality 3D pictures and easily sharing them with the world.

What Is Photosynth?

Photosynth is a free app by Microsoft Corporation for iPhone, IPad and Windows Phone with an extremely simple interface that allows you to create interactive 3D panoramas horizontally, vertically and even in a full sphere, which you can easily share with the world.

When you open the app you will see a screen with three icons at the bottom.
By tapping the camera icon in the middle of the bottom of the screen, the display becomes the camera interface and you will be on your way to taking a three dimensional panorama.

You will see a rectangle with a centred dot to indicate the area being captured. After the first image is captured, you will only see a small rectangle showing the picture you have taken and the rest of the screen will be black. As you move the camera around, keeping it in the same plane of motion, not rotating it or tipping it forward or backward, the app is able to capture new portions of the panorama, automatically filling in the black background.

If the app can match up a scene as you move the camera around, the rectangle shows a green outline with a green dot. The app beeps when you are aiming the device at an area that can be added to the existing panorama. After you hear the beep, hold the device still and the app will automatically take a picture.
If the rectangle and dot are yellow, it means that the app cannot automatically take a picture and you can tap the screen to force a capture. The app is very quick, but if you are not patient enough to wait for the app to take a shot automatically you can also tap the screen to force a capture when the outline of the rectangle is green.

If the rectangle and the dot turn red it means that the system is not able to add the current image from the camera into the overall image.

The algorithm relies on identifiable features, so you should try not to use this app in an area with a lot of motion or with a plain or smooth appearance, as you will get a lot of yellow and red rectangles instead of green ones and so you will find it difficult to efficiently take a complete three-dimensional picture.
When you feel you have taken enough pictures to show the full 3D panorama, tap the done icon at the right bottom of the screen and the app will show a preview of all the frames captured. It will then rapidly stitch them together to create an impressive three-dimensional interactive image.

The resulting image may then be shared on Photosynth, on Facebook or on Twitter. It can also be emailed or saved to the Camera Roll as a non-interactive image.

Panoramas always remain in the app’s local library, where you can share or edit them later. You can access them by clicking on the right icon at the bottom of the screen.

The app also offers panning and zooming of stored panoramas.
The icon on the left at the bottom of the screen lets you access the newsfeed, where you will be able to browse through panoramas taken by other people. You will be able to search and explore panoramas from the Photosynth community to discover other interactive images that you can like, share, and comment on. You can also build a personal newsfeed by following your favourite content creators and popular topics.


How to save time with Photosynth
Once you have clicked on the done icon and the pictures are being stitched together to create a three-dimensional image, a progress bar will give you an idea of how long it is going to take to complete the panorama. Whilst you are waiting you can edit the name and description that is a simple multi-tasking addition that many other apps don't have.

How to take a perfect picture even if surprises happen with Photosynth
A three-dimensional picture requires several shots and though it may not be a very long process, it can be long enough for changes in the scene to occur. For example, if you are in the middle of taking a three-dimensional picture and a cat unexpectedly jumps in front of you, fear not as you won't have to start all over again. You can tap the screen to force a capture and take the same shot again.

How to share and explore with Photosynth
You can sign into Windows Live and create a Photosynth account by just choosing a user name. Those uploaded panoramas can be added to the site’s public index and browser and are also available as a link in Bing maps at a geographical point you can set.
You can choose whether to share your pictures publicly so that everyone is able to see them or to keep them private, with the software generating a non-searchable link. Photosynth also lets you post to Facebook and Twitter by linking to accounts. With a Twitter account registered in iOS, the app pops up a simple dialog. If the Facebook app is installed, Photosynth switches to it and lets you choose to approve its link-up. You can decide whether to upload the pictures as normal images, which you will be able to crop if necessary before you share them, or as interactive three-dimensional pictures, which people will be able to see on Facebook without having to download the Photosynth app.

Getting the Basics Right: Photosynth

How to adjust the Contrast and Brightness with Photosynth
It is not possible to change the contrast and brightness with Photosynth.

How to adjust the flash with Photosynth
The flash settings are set in the iPhone’s default camera application rather than in the Photosynth app.

How to adjust the picture quality with Photosynth
You can change the resolution and quality of pictures in the iPhone’s camera application as it is not possible to do so with Photosynth.

How to zoom using Photosynth
Although you will be able to zoom when viewing the stored panoramas, you will not be able to zoom when taking pictures.
25th Nov 2013, 17:39   comments (0)

PicLab Review for iPhone

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We review PicLab, a photo editing and sharing application that lets you edit photos with various typography, overlays, filters and adjustments, then distribute them on different platforms.

What is PicLab?

PicLab is free, but you are limited to selected features, an extra $0.99 will unlock masks and remove the branded watermark. Although the hidden cost is disappointing, it’s rare to find a good app that doesn’t have one, and it does allow you to try it before you buy it.

The start up screen comprises of the lens view and the main tool bar. The tool bar takes up almost half the screen, leaving the remaining area for your image; this can feel like insufficient space, especially if you are used to taking pictures with the entire screen and if you are looking to capture landscape views.

On start up you have the option to take a fresh photo, or use an existing one from your gallery. The shutter button is in the middle of the tool bar with keys to your gallery on the left of it and settings to the right. The downside to taking a picture through the app is the limited view options, with less screen space and the inability to zoom.

After you have captured or selected an existing image, you are presented with the editing options. These are divided into four main sections: text, overlays, filters and adjustments.

The cross button will cancel all edits and let you start afresh. You are requested to confirm before this happens, in case you select it by mistake. All editing functions are applied post shot, which can be restrictive but means you can play around with all the different editing tools, and mix and match to your hearts content.

The first editing tool is text. Here you can write over your photo, selecting the color, font type and opacity, then rotate it and change the font size accordingly. The entire font collection does not come with the $0.99 purchase, and requires another $0.99 but there is plenty to play with before you spend any more money. The next tool along is overlays. This section is subdivided into four further sections, being borders and shapes, light fix, textures and patterns. These masks are pretty basic on their own, but when used together, effective. Select one of the sub sections and scroll down, tap about until you find a style that you like, then move on to the next section. You can combine any four of the different overlays but you can’t combine more than one type of overlay in each sub section. Photo filter is the next tool. This is can be likened to the editing masks found in popular apps such as Instagram. There are nine to choose from, these are common but effective and a nice quick way to get a pretty, post card image. The last option on the toolbar is adjustments. You get your standard functions of brightness, contrast, blur, exposure and saturation. A slider is used to make adjustments. Although the editing functions are nothing new, the ease of use and ability to combine them seamlessly makes it a fun and satisfying experience. In each section, after selecting your layer or making an adjustment, pushing the little blue box with the tick on the right accepts the edit. The back arrow in the filters and adjustments section will revert the image back to its previous look. There is no undo function in the app, which would be useful, especially in the adjustments section. After you’ve worked your photo into the desired outcome, push the big tick key. This takes you to the sharing page of the app. This function is really useful and once again, easy to use. There are options to save to your gallery, share on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, open in Mosaic, present it on a Postcard, send in and email as well as transfer it to apps on your phone such as WhatsApp, Evernote and other photo editing tools. On the settings page you will find the options to unlock overlays and fonts, and select a theme for the app, however the only choices for this are black or white. You can purchase the PicLab HD Design Studio here, although we decided not to fork out the $1.99 for this so can’t say what it’s like. The actual editing functions of PicLab are pretty basic but the ability to combine all of these with interesting typography and share in several places, makes it a rewarding experience. It doesn’t have the depth of editing that tools like Photoshop and Snapseed have but it’s a quick to use and produces nice results.

PicLab Highlights

How to add and adjust text With this function you can add a quote, caption, or just your name in corner.

Choose the typography and then adjust opacity by moving the fill slider. If you double click on the text box it allows you to edit the actual text and brings up the color, alignment and depth options.

Use the corner buttons to rotate and resize the text. By pressing and holding the box you can place it where you want on the photo. A grid appears over the image when you do this, helping you align the text accurately.

You can add multiple text boxes by double clicking and pushing the small plus key in the top left hand corner.

How to save and share your photo.

Once you are done with editing you are given various options to share the image. The first is to save it in your gallery, this function allows you to save various versions of your photo without having to go back to the original each time, and you can edit your last version.

When you click save, they photo’s are automatically placed in a PicLab album in your iPhone gallery.

To share on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter you need to have these apps already set up on your device and configured in your settings.

The post card share capability sets your image on a 4x6 inch postcard that can be printed and shipped. You can add a personalized message to your postcard, include your profile pic and send it anywhere in the world. Of course there is a little more work to do this than that, requiring a Sincerely account to be set up and payment to be made.

The mosaic app that you can transfer your photo to lets you set up and print a photo book.

How to use overlays

Go into each sub section and select and unselect until you are happy. There are a few different layers to choose from and it’s nice to play around until you find one that fits.

In the borders and shapes section there are lots of frames to choose from including numbers and letters. The light fix, textures and patterns sections don’t have a huge range, but there’s enough for an interesting result.

You can adjust the opacity of each overlay using the slider.

After you have made your selection, push the red button with the angle bracket, this will take you back to the main overlay section and you can go into another sub section, alternatively you can push the back arrow and this will take you back to the main tool bar.

Pushing the tick box in this section is not necessary to save your edit. This can be confusing as the other tools require you to do this to save your edit.

Getting the basics right: PicLab

How to adjust the Contrast and Brightness with PicLab

Under the adjustments tab, select the icon representing contrast or brightness. Then use your finger to slide the cursor along toward the plus or minus.

How to switch to the front camera with PicLab to take a selfie

On the start up page, in the top right hand corner, you will see the standard symbol to alternate from the front camera to the back, allowing you to perform the renowned selfie.

How to adjust the flash with PicLab

You can turn the flash on or off by pushing the flash button in the top left hand corner of the start up page.

How to adjust the picture quality with PicLab

Not a function in this app.
20th Nov 2013, 20:19   comments (0)

MomentCam is incrediballs

(viewed 5332 times)
15th Nov 2013, 07:24   comments (2)

Snapseed Camera App for iPhone review

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We review Snapseed for iPhone - a fully-featured filter and editing tool with a host of sharing options Snapseed is one of the most popular photography apps in the App Store, allowing you to add filters and edit your photos.

What is Snapseed?

Snapseed uses your iPhone’s camera app to take the photo, meaning you can use the options for zooming, adding the flash and changing the size of the image.

After you’ve loaded your image, you can use the automatic adjustment setting where the app will detect what needs to be changed.

The second option along the bottom of the app is selective adjust that allows you to selectively adjust the brightness, contrast and saturation of the image. To adjust the settings, you simply need to swipe up and down to select what you’d like to adjust, and then swipe left and right to increase or decrease the setting.

Next up, you can tune your image. This gives you more options to adjust the
whole of your picture, such as change the ambiance, shadows and warmth of
your photo. The controls are the same, so swipe up and down to select what you’d like to change and then swipe left and right to increase or decrease the intensity.

If your photo is a little wonky, the straighten option allows you to put the horizon back in its rightful place. When activated, a grid will appear and by swiping up and down, the photo will move. When you’ve ensured the horizon is straight, release your finger and you’ll see a straightened up image.

Pinching on the screen, allowing you to remove parts of the image you no longer wish to be included, is available in the crop menu.

The details tab allows you to sharpen or adjust the structure of an image, making it more detailed. Beware though – increasing the detail too much may result in noise and imperfections being amplified.

In the black and white section, you can change the contrast and brightness, plus increase or decrease the grain.

The next few options are the filters, including vintage (ewith nine effects and textures available), drama, HDR, grunge (with 1500 effects and textures available), center focus, tilt shift and retrolux. All of these effects can be adjusted by swiping up and down, left and right on the screen.

The final option allows you to add a frame to your photo.

Although it’s great that the picture takes up most of the screen, allowing you to see the changes in full glory, the text on the buttons is a little small, making it tricky to see what you’re adjusting.

The method for increasing or decreasing changes takes a while to get used to, but after you’ve got used to the swiping up and down to choose the element to change, then left to right to increase or decrease intensity, you’ll soon get used to it.

There’s also the ability to compare the current edit to the original picture, which is always a handy extra.

Snapseed Highlights

How to create an HDR image with Snapseed

To create an HDR effect with Snapseed, head to the HDR Scape setting along the bottom menu and first of all, increase the filter strength to around 50 per cent. At this point, the image will probably look a little over-sharpened, so you’ll need to swipe up and head to smoothing to make it look a little less patchy.

You can now further adjust the effect by using the brightness and saturation settings according to preference.

How to straighten a picture in Snapseed

The straighten option in Snapseed allows you to re-align your photo if it’s a little wonky. Exactly as you would do in PhotoShop or other computer-based editing tools, you can rotate and crop the picture to make sure the horizon is where it should be.

Just select Straighten from the bottom menu and swipe up and down to tilt the horizon. The picture is straight when the horizon, or a horizontal line in the picture lines up with the grid.

When the picture is straight, tap the tick to apply the changes.

How to create a retrolux image in Snapseed

Retrolux is one of the settings in Snapseed that ages a picture – essentially giving the impression of a scratched up old photo.

It may not show your photo in its best light because much of the detail in obscured by the scratches and light leaks, but it does produce a pretty unique effect.

First, choose the retrolux setting from the bottom bar. Now, swipe up to scroll through the effects. We found we needed to increase the saturation, decrease scratches and light leaks and the reduce intensity a little to get some stunning results.

Getting the basics right: Snapseed

How to adjust the Contrast and Brightness with Snapseed

Contrast and brightness of photos can be adjusted via the tune image menu.

Swipe your finger up the screen to access the floating menu and select brightness or contrast. You can increase the settings by swiping your finger left and right across the screen.

How to switch to the front camera with Snapseed to take a selfie

You can switch to the iPhone’s Facetime camera using the default camera application before loading pictures into Snapseed.

How to adjust the flash with Snapseed

The flash settings are set in the iPhone’s default camera application rather than in Snapseed as it’s a post-processing app, not a photo-taking app.

How to adjust the picture quality with Snapseed

You can change the resolution and quality of pictures in the iPhone’s camera application – it’s not possible in Snapseed.

How to zoom using Snapseed

Because you essentially use the iPhone’s default camera app to take the photo, you’ll use those tools to zoom in and out of a vista rather than using any tools from within Snapseed.

Posted by clarehopping
12th Nov 2013, 20:48   | tags:,,,comments (0)

Paper Camera, Camera App for iPhone review

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We review Paper Camera for iPhone – an app allowing you to add cartoon effects to your snaps.

What is Paper Camera?

Paper Camera is a little different to other camera apps like Instagram, or Vignette because it allows you to add comic-style arty effects to your photos in real time.

Also available non Android, Paper Camera features 13 different effects to transform your photos including the Andy Warhol-style four brightly coloured grid images, Comic Boom that makes it feel as though you’ve stepped into a comic book, Sketch Up, Aquarello that adds a watercolour effect to your snap, Old Printer for a black and white spotted masterpiece, and Half Ton that makes your picture into a Pop Art-inspired drawing.

We’ve explained how to make the most of some of these effects below, so make sure to check out the highlights to get the most out of Paper Camera.

A handy feature of Paper Camera is that as you take the photo, they are added, effect and all to your iPhone’s gallery, making them easy to find and share if you wish.

The interface is clear and easy to use, with the live preview taking up most of the central pane with controls to the right. To preview what each of the effects will look like, you can simply tap on the arrow to browse through the 13 options.

If you’d like to edit each effect more, you can do so using the sliders. To see more options to adjust, tap the icon showing three dots to see more.

To freeze the shot, tap the red camera icon.

You can also record video using Paper Camera. To switch to the video capture option, just swipe from top to bottom using the tiny slider in the bottom right corner.

Although controls are simple to use, with icons and the general design clearly taking on the sketchy look, the sliders are a little awkward if you have big fingers.

Another thing that’s a little odd about Paper Camera is that it can only be used in landscape mode, meaning taking portraits can be a little tricky because you’ll have to use the app the wrong way round.

Paper Camera Highlights

How to produce a cartoon strip with Paper Camera

The first effect you’ll come across on Paper Camera is the Comic Boom setting that will turn your viewfinder into a comic-style universe.

If you want to craft your own comic strip, you can use Paper Camera to take a series of snaps and then use PhotoShop Express to put them into a strip, adding captions along the way.

For the best results, we recommend you play with the controls a little, increasing the lines, edges, contrast and shine to make it feel like a true comic strip. The auto settings in the app are a little too washed out to give the impression of a genuine comic strip so accentuate the colours and features to make it look more authentic.

How to produce a Pop Art drawing with Paper Camera

Roy Lichtenstein led the Pop Art movement with his romantic dotted drawings in the 70s and the Half Ton setting on Paper Camera brings this alive, without the hassle of painting thousands of dots.

To make the most of the Half Ton setting, try and find a subject with bright colours – they work much better.

Once you’ve found your subject, we recommend you reduce the dots, increase the quantization to max and increase the lines. The other auto settings should be enough to make your photo look like authentic Pop Art masterpiece.

How to produce a sketch from your photo

So many apps with image filters try and achieve the sketch look with little success – they just look a little wrong. The ability to adjust the settings on Paper Camera makes it much easier to produce a stunning hand-drawn sketch effect.

We’ve discovered tweaking the Granny’s Paper setting rather than the Sketch Up setting gives much better results.

The first setting to adjust is the contrast. Slide this down a little to just off-centre to take away the orangey tones. Now increase the lines setting and head to the second menu by taping the three dots.

Move the tone up a notch to make it look a little more natural, remove the vignette effect and increase the edges.

Voila! A real cheat’s way to make your artistic skills stand out.

Getting the basics right: Paper Camera

How to adjust the Contrast and Brightness with Paper Camera

Paper Camera doesn’t offer as many manual options in comparison to other camera apps, but it does allow you to adjust the brightness and contrast in each of the additional effect. The simple slider-based system allows you to see the changes in real time and if you prefer it without the tweaks, you can reset the settings using the reset icon just above the contrast slider.

How to switch to the front camera with Paper Camera to take a selfie

To switch to the front-facing camera within Paper Camera to take selfies, tap on the menu icon to the left of the effect name (it looks like four lines in a blue square). Now tap on the second from last icon, which looks like a camera with two arrows in it and the screen should be filled with your face.

How to adjust the flash with Paper Camera

By default, the flash is deactivated in paper camera. This allows you to get a better idea of what the creation will look like via live preview. If it’s a little too dark and adjusting the brightness and contrast doesn’t do the job, tap the menu icon to the left of the effect name and tap on the flash icon. There’s no auto option though – only off and on.

How to adjust the picture quality with Paper Camera

Although you may want lower-quality pictures to reduce the size of the images and make them easier for sharing in Paper Camera, you may want to increase the quality to include more detail – especially if you want to print them out.

To adjust the quality of the pictures, head to the menu by tapping on the blue icon to the left of the effect description. Now, select the cog icon and tap on the Picture Quality to make it high quality. By default, the quality is set to standard quality.

How to zoom using Paper Camera

Paper Camera features its own zoom controls, but unfortunately, they’re not that accessible. To zoom in or out of a subject, head to the menu (left of the effect name) and tap on the + or – controls to zoom in or out.

Posted by clarehopping
10th Nov 2013, 02:12   | tags:,,,comments (0)