Welcome to TheAppWhisperer’s new section, “What apps are we using this month” series, where we discover which apps you are particularly enjoying. Kicking us off today is non-other than notable Mobile Artist John Williamson.
Hi: my name is John Williamson.
I live in rural Lancaster County, PA USA
I’m 66. I had a career in the tech industry. My work always took me to diverse business locations and I always took a camera with me. This became much easier with the advent of mobile devices.
I retired a few years early from the business world with the intention of making art. I think I’ve always had a creative mind. In addition to mobile art, I also paint art with “Encaustic Wax” – this is a process where I can add texture and colour to my photos with melted wax. I’ve found mobile art + the encaustic process = magic!!
I’ve spent my life on crutches due to leg problems from a birth defect. Now I’m also using a wheelchair, I guess that makes me a disabled artist. Whatever the title, I love making art.
So, I’m a lifetime photographer and a mobile art creator for the last decade. I absolutely love making art on mobile devices. I use an iPhone 12 Pro, and a iPad 11” Pro with an Apple Pencil. I was invited by Joanne Carter to identify the apps I use and my favourites.
Long, long ago I used a darkroom to do black & white photo processing. I used many tools to “dodge” or “burn in” areas of my image – – to modify areas of the print to look differently.
That former process is exactly how I view mobile apps. Apps are simply my tools.
Many of my favourite apps are also popular with other mobile creators. Rather than just identifying my favourite apps, I want to give a few ideas about how I specifically use apps.
1- Procreate: I like to import photos and then use my Apple Pencil to “paint over” existing images, stretch, shrink, enhance lines, and overall, create new pictures.
2- Snapseed: This is the perfect tool to “dodge & burn” parts of an image with the brush tool. It’s the fastest app for doing these lightening & darkening efforts. Also, speedy vignettes and borders. Again, I want to reiterate the words quick and easy. Snapseed is both.
3- Creatic: This app is my layering tool. Layers are a non-destructive method of modifying my image. I can change the look of my picture in multiple ways and still get back to the starting point with no problem.
4- IColorama: This app does everything and more but sometimes it’s not the easiest tool in the toolbox. I use it to blend more than one image together. The app has a rich depth of blending modes. I also like its “sketch, edges, triangle, tone lab, raise, and directed light” tools.
5- Prisma: This app was one of the early “AI types” of apps. It takes my picture and applies “the look” of a specific art style. For me, a little Prisma goes a long way! If I’m adding a Prisma art style, I’ll dial down the effect to 15-25% (and put the changes in a layer that I can blend in). I use Prism quite a bit but definitely in moderation.
6- FotoDa: This app will search through my Camera Roll and blend two or more images together. This is a wacky app. I use it to give me ideas for mobile art projects. It’s my brainstorming tool!
Other apps I frequently use are Lightroom and Photoshop (of course) on the iPad, I use Mextures for its gradients, Blur Photo, WordPack (for background text), and LensLight (for “light streams”).
A few new apps that I’m playing with in the past weeks are:
Filmé – this app seems to have some unique filters. Some give a kind of “glitchy” look that I like.
Photos of Clarity – I like its “sharpening” modes
mK Pro – this app helps remove the subject and leaves a clear PNG background (and has some unique fade effects for the subject).
This is my toolbox of current apps. I’m always trying new apps and experimenting. So next month my list might be different!
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