Mobile Photography / Art Tutorial – BlackCam and Black: Dark Horse Monochrome Apps

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We are delighted to publish Jerry Jobe’s latest mobile photography/art tutorial for our viewing pleasure. Take it away Jerry…(foreword by Joanne Carter).

“There are many monochrome apps, and I’ve covered quite a few of them: Noir, Dramatic B&W, Ansel (now called Nova) and others. Some are merely editors, and some have shooting capabilities. Some vintage apps, like Vintage Scene, Lo-Mob and Superslides have some monochrome aids within them.

The two apps today (which, by the way, bring me to 150 different apps covered in tutorials since November 2012) are “dark horse’ monochrome apps in that they are not as fully-featured as some monochrome apps. However, each is surprising in its own ways. I am impressed with only one, however.

The first app is BlackCam by Pierre Gougelet, which is a shooter as well as editor. Gougelet is the author of Pixagram, covered last week. As I said then, his apps tend to fall well below the top tier of photographic apps. However, BlackCam is surprisingly good. It’s a universal app that sells for $1.99 on the App Store, and is also available for Android. (As a matter of fact, there seem to be some features, such as a grid, that are only available on Android).”

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Mobile Photography / Art Tutorial – Pixagram: What Exactly Have We Got Here?

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We are delighted to publish Jerry Jobe’s latest mobile photography/art tutorial for our viewing pleasure. This time Jobe takes a look at the app Pixagram. Take it away Jerry…(foreword by Joanne Carter).

“I haven’t really become visible enough, even after writing articles about nearly 150 apps (more than 100 republished on the awesome and highly visible App Whisperer site), to have developers asking me to try out their apps for free. Therefore, I’m constantly on the lookout, like my readers, for free apps that give me value. Today’s app, Pixagram by Pierre Gougelet, has often been offered for free on the App Store.

A little over two years ago, I covered two other Gougelet apps, XnShape and XnRetro. There are a whole suite of “Xn” apps, each competent in their own way. Pixagram seems to be an attempt to step away from the Xn series. As it turns out, it’s not a very big step.

Pixagram is a filtering app, with a couple of nice effects that are somewhat modifiable. Whether that will be of value to you will probably be answered in this column”.

Read moreMobile Photography / Art Tutorial – Pixagram: What Exactly Have We Got Here?

Mobile Photography / Art Tutorial – Up Against the Wall: Graffiti Me and Fotoffiti

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We are delighted to publish Jerry Jobe’s latest mobile photography/art tutorial for our viewing pleasure. This time Jobe takes a look two apps, Graffiti Me and Fotofiffi. Take it away Jerry…(foreword by Joanne Carter).

"There are thousands of photography/art apps on the App Store, and some of them are extreme specialised. That’s the case with the two apps I’ll be covering this time: Graffiti Me by Bluebear Technologies Ltd and Fotoffiti by amioli. Each take your image, run a Threshold filter on it, and apply it to a wall as if you’ve stenciled it there. Each allow you to add extra paint and text. Each also run on both the iPhone and the iPad, but limit the iPad version to portrait orientation. And each will cost you about a dollar, if you don’t get them free on their frequent promotions.

Let’s start with a look at Graffiti Me".

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Mobile Photography / Art Tutorial – ‘Coming to Terms with Brushes using PaintHack and iColorama’

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We are delighted to publish Jerry Jobe’s latest mobile photography / art tutorial for our viewing pleasure. This time Jobe helps you to understand more about brushes and how greater knowledge can lead to greater mobile art. Take it away Jerry…(foreword by Joanne Carter).

"Any time you try to learn a new skill, the first roadblock you encounter is the specialised terms associated with that skill. How are you going to play American football without knowing what a touchdown, punt or offsides penalty is? How are you going to operate a computer without knowing the difference between an icon and an operating system?

Art apps use a lot of terminology borrowed from physical painting with brushes and pencils, charcoals and pastels. However, since you are not actually using these physical tools, but a finger or stylus, then the app has ways to control the output of touching the screen to mimic the physical action. These brush controls are named in similar ways across most art apps.

In order to explain what some of these controls actually do, I am going to be using two apps: PaintHack and iColorama. PaintHack uses a brush engine similar to the one in Procreate, which is commonly seen as the industry standard among art apps. It undeniably gives you the most control over your software brushes. iColorama adds a control that also comes in handy for artists and is not an option in PaintHack or Procreate. It’s used in the example below; can you guess what it is?"

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Mobile Photography / Art Tutorial – Miscellany: Sizes of Files/Images; Big Photo; Snapseed; Over

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We are delighted to publish Jerry Jobe’s latest mobile photography/art tutorial for our viewing pleasure. This time Jobe takes a look at some crucial miscellaneous issues that help will you understand more about some technical aspects to mobile photography. Take it away Jerry…(foreword by Joanne Carter).

“While I generally write articles about how to operate an app, along with articles about how to achieve a certain look, I will sometimes get drawn into discussions of a more general nature. When Snapseed introduced the ability to Export images in the PNG format, as well as the ability to edit RAW files, it drew me into a discussion on file and image sizes that I thought would make a good article. I also wanted to talk about some added features of Snapseed and Over, and those will be discussed at the end.

First, let’s talk about the size of a file. This is how much space it takes up on your device. All image file formats (JPG, PNG, BMP, TIFF, GIF, all the RAW formats, etc.) compress the data in some way so that the files are not enormous. JPG, the most common file format, offers several levels of compression, but the act of compressing the files loses some of the information. JPG is a lossy format. Lossy compression means that if adjacent pixels are similar enough, they are considered to be the same. When recreating the image from the data, these similar pixels will now be identical. Smooth gradients become stripes through file compression.

PNG format can result in either a lossy or lossless compression. Snapseed’s new Export format is a lossless PNG. It means the PNG will be a large file, but there is none of that “striping”. However, a Save or Save As in Snapseed will not result in a PNG, but in a JPG as always. That is because Snapseed wants you to be able to modify the edits you’ve made after saving the file, so they save a JPG and a “sidecar” file, an additional file with edit information.

Some people can see the effects of compression easily, even without the destruction of large areas of smooth gradients. These people are very concerned with the file compression that takes place with the different formats, and are willing to sacrifice space on their device as long as they can avoid compression “artefacts”. I am not one of these people. Some visual destruction that I can see easily has to do not with file size, but with image size – the pixel dimensions of an image.

Each pixel in your image is a square. When you resize an image downward – say, a 3952×2960 to a 2048×1533 – then pixels have to be discarded. Detail is lost. When you resize an image upward, pixels have to be created. This results in the “jaggies” – a smooth line becomes jagged, like stair steps. Why is this? Imagine a single white pixel on a black background. To us, it looks like a dot – it has no shape. But it is actually a square. Now, imagine that we resize the dot from 1×1 to 2×2, an increase from 100% (original size) to 400%. Now that there are four square pixels grouped together, it becomes obvious to us, just by looking, that we have a square. At a lower size, that square could be a circle, a curve, a smooth edge – but as you make it larger its square quality becomes obvious.

There are computer algorithms that try to compensate for the “jaggies”. One of the best is on the desktop, in a program called Genuine Fractals (now bundled with On1 Software as Resize). There does not seem to be anything comparable on mobile devices. When I want to resize an image, I use Big Photo, an app I covered in part a few years ago. The interface has changed somewhat, so let’s cover the entire app now”.

Read moreMobile Photography / Art Tutorial – Miscellany: Sizes of Files/Images; Big Photo; Snapseed; Over

Mobile Photography / Art Tutorial – Uptown & Co.: Graphic Curiosity

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We are delighted to publish Jerry Jobe’s latest mobile photography/art tutorial for our viewing pleasure. This time Jobe takes a look at an app called Uptown & Co. Take it away Jerry…(foreword by Joanne Carter).

“I’ve been writing weekly tutorials for nearly four years now. I write them because I like to see my readers get inspired by them, trying new apps and techniques. I have not tried to monetise these tutorials, because I don’t do them for financial rewards. It helps me continue, though, when I’m able to pick up some of the apps I cover for free. I keep an eye out for free apps with another app called Apps Gone Free. I found today’s app through it becoming free for a day last week. (It normally sells for $1.99). Link to download”.

 

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Mobile Photography / Art Tutorial – BeCasso: Painting for Powerful Devices

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We are delighted to publish Jerry Jobe’s latest mobile photography/art tutorial for our viewing pleasure. This time Jobe takes a look at a painting app, BeCasso. Take it away Jerry…(foreword by Joanne Carter).

BeCasso retails for $1.99/£1.49 and you can download it here.

"Apps that give your images a painted look are numerous on the App Store. I’ve covered several apps that produce an overall painted look, like Glaze, Brushstroke, Waterlogue and Artista Impresso. I’ve also covered several that allow the user to control the painting themselves through brush strokes, like Mobile Monet, Adobe PaintCan, and (of course) iColorama.

DigitalMasterpieces has given us another one of the first type of painting app, and it’s called BeCasso. BeCasso creates oil and watercolour looks, but it’s not for everyone: it is limited to only the newest of devices. If your iPhone is before the 5S, or your iPad is before the Air, then BeCasso can’t be loaded to your device. (I fall into the latter category, since I have an iPad 4.) This is a pet peeve of mine. Although I can’t be certain that there are some algorithms that absolutely cannot be run on a device that is more than two years old, it certainly seems like developers can’t be bothered to work for anyone that can’t afford to constantly upgrade. All screenshots for this tutorial were captured on my iPhone 6S Plus".

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Mobile Photography / Art Tutorial – Snapseed and Assembly Apps Want To Have a Word With You

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We are delighted to publish Jerry Jobe’s latest mobile photography/art tutorial for our viewing pleasure. This time Jobe takes a look both Snapseed and Assembly apps, specifically at their textual input functionalities. Take it away Jerry…(foreword by Joanne Carter).

Both Snapseed and Assembly and can be downloaded below:

Snapseed

Assembly

“Two apps that I’ve covered a number of times, Snapseed and Assembly, have separately come up with text additions in the past couple of weeks. Neither one has all the capabilities of a full-featured text app like Phonto or Over, but each has capabilities that are not found in text apps.

My first image is one I created in Snapseed, from an image of the set for my latest acting gig. The image was captured in vividHDR, then toned in Snapseed before adding the text. Can you guess what feature Snapseed adds that regular text apps don’t have?”

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Mobile Photography / Art Tutorial – Photo FX Ultra Part 3: Lighting It Up

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We are delighted to publish Jerry Jobe’s latest mobile photography/art tutorial for our viewing pleasure. This time Jobe takes a deeper look at the app Photo FX Ultra in our final part three of this series. If you missed Parts One and Two, please follow the highlighted links to view. Take it away Jerry…(foreword by Joanne Carter).

Photo fx Ultra retails for $2.29/£1.49 and you can download it here

“Part three of my look at Photo FX Ultra brings me to my favorite part of the app: the Light presets. Before I get to those, however, I want to show you the Crop and Straighten tools. Once again, I’ll be using the image of the framed picture on the wall.

The Crop screen has controls for Dimensions, Portrait, Landscape, Square, Lock, and Fixed Size along the top. At the center of the image you can see the size of the image and the lock indicator. The information at the center of the image is switched on and off with the Information icon”.

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Mobile Photography / Art Tutorial – Photo FX Ultra Part 2: More Filtering

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We are delighted to publish Jerry Jobe’s latest mobile photography/art tutorial for our  viewing pleasure. This time Jobe takes a deeper look at the app Photo FX Ultra (Part 2 – with Part 3 to follow next week). Take it away Jerry…(foreword by Joanne Carter).

Photo fx Ultra retails for $2.29/£1.49 and you can download it here

“When I started working my way through the filtering app Photo FX Ultra in the last article, I thought two articles would be sufficient to cover the entire app. I was wrong. So I will have to extend it to three articles, covering Lens, Photographic and Special Effects groups this week and finishing with Crop, Straighten and Light in the finale.

I will be using a simple image of a wall with some light falling across it, a light switch and a framed image. I hope that this makes the changes from the various filters easy to see”.

Read moreMobile Photography / Art Tutorial – Photo FX Ultra Part 2: More Filtering