Pixlr-o-matic

From the makers of the online photo editor, Pixlr, is a cross-platform app called Pixlr-o-matic.

With a very clean and fun to use interface, this app gives iPhoneographers an interesting way to apply quality effects to their photos.

iOS version:

The opening screen of Pixlr-o-matic offers you some options to get started.  You can start with a new photo or use one from the library.  If you do not have any photos loaded and don’t want to take one, you can choose a sample image offered by the developers.

Development screen in Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

Development screen in Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

Once you have chosen a photo, Pixlr-o-matic takes you to the first editing screen.  Editing within Pixlr-o-matic is a very simple three-step process.  Each step is indicated by icons along the bottom edge of the screen, there are no real controls in Pixlr-o-matic.  The workspace contains a large preview window and a film-strip effect selector.  As you use your finger to slide the film-strip, the selected effect is shown on the original photo in the preview window in real-time.  The effects available are quite variable and each one is quite unique and intricate.  Some involve interesting alpha and color channel effects that create beautiful images.  Once you have a result you like, you move on to the next step by touching the light bulb icon on the bottom of the screen.

Lighting screen in Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

Lighting screen in Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

On this screen, you can choose a lighting effect to layer onto the photo.  The choices vary from light-leaks of all colors and types, to lens flares or even sparkles and bokeh.  My biggest regret is that there is no fader control, therefore many of these effects are simply too opaque to be used on most photos.  Many of these effects are quite beautiful and could work wonderfully if you could move them or change their opacity.  Again, when you are ready to move to the next step, choose the next icon at the bottom of the screen which is a frame.

Frame screen in Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

Frame screen in Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

The frame screen allows you choose an edge effect or frame for your photograph.  In my opinion, this section has some of the most beautiful effects.  Even if you don’t like or choose to use the other effects, Pixlr-o-matic is worth having just for these effects.  Many of them are elegant recreations of analog film edges and others are different forms of vignettes and false camera screens while a few are grungy, textured, and artsy.  I have seen effects of this quality in high-end Photoshop filters.

The last step is to save and share your masterpiece.   The last screen is a virtual drying line.   Click on the share button and you get options.  Not only can you save the photo back to your photo library, you can export it to iTunes to pull off during the next sync.  You can also email your image, send it to your dropbox or use the social media  sharing options: Facebook, Flickr, and Imm.io.

Final piece completed in Pixlr-o-matic

Final piece completed in Pixlr-o-matic

But the story doesn’t end here, the folks at Pixlr have given us a cross-platform tool which we can use anywhere.  Pixlr-o-matic is available as  an Android version, a browser version, a Facebook version, a plug-in for Chrome, and a stand-alone version.  The stand-alone version is based on Adobe’s AIR environment and is very similar to the iOS version.

Desktop version of Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

Desktop version of Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

The desktop version has a couple of nice touches which make it fun.  One of these is that the preview window is a virtual development tray which ripples when you move the mouse over it.  This brought back a surge of longing for the old days for me.  Some days I really miss the smell of D-76 in the morning, and Pixlr-o-matic gave me a touch of nostalgia, thanks, guys.

Desktop version of Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

Desktop version of Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

The interface is mostly the same as in iOS.  There is a preview window and a film-strip, however, the icons at the bottom of the screen are not there, but your position in the development process is marked by an analog-style gauge at the bottom of the screen.  To advance forward or return to previous screens, you click on arrow buttons on the bottom corners of the screen.

Desktop version of Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

Desktop version of Pixlromatic (David Pringle)

While the effects are identical to the mobile versions, as are the frames.  The sharing options are limited to simply saving the file or sharing on imm.io.

Flatiron processed in Pixlr-o-matic (David Pringle/Pringle-Art.com)

Flatiron processed in Pixlr-o-matic (David Pringle/Pringle-Art.com)

The folks at Pixlr brought us a very fun way to create beautiful art with our photographs.  While, not just limited to iOS and iPhoneography, it has a fun and creative interface which is superbly created for the multi-touch interface of the iPhone and iPad.  They have a version for just about any operating system you are working from.

Overall, this is a great little app which creates fun art.   My only criticism is the lack of any opacity control or effect movement on the photo. With these minor controls, it could make this app more useful for many more images.   If they add these functions, Pixlr-o-matic would be a solid, daily-use app.

iTunes link

Web version of Pixlr-o-matic

Rating:  ★★★★☆

When I began carrying my first iPhone, its first generation camera was poor at best. This fact didn’t deter me from exploring the quickly-evolving pack of photography apps exploding onto the App Store. When the iPhone 4 was released, a whole new world was given to us. My intent in this column is to offer my readers my fair evaluation of apps intended to be used on iOs devices to create photographic art. As a professional photographer in the field and an artist, I will bring both angles on the apps and the devices on which they are used. Hang tight to your iPhone and join me in a quest to create the best mobile art we can! Visit my site at http://www.pringle-art.com

 

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