Category Archives: iOS Apps

Playing with Diana

Haha…bet that made you wonder who Diana is and what sort of play I meant. Wink, wink!

Since we are in polite company, I shall resist the temptation to make salacious remarks and put my double entendres away. (I’m sure there’s meant to be a comma in there somewhere, oh there you are 😄).

The “Diana” in question here is not a person but a camera. A cheap plastic camera made in Hong Kong in the 1960s, which caught the imagination of enthusiasts even after being discontinued, so much so that there has been a resurgence in its popularity and a renaissance in its production. To own an original Diana camera today is a sign of enthusiasm for photographic nostalgia (not to mention money). Luckily, because modern-day Dianas are easily available, you can get your dirty hands on a new one for less than $100.

Yes, it’s delightfully analogue! It even uses Film! It’s untouched by Apple or Android, it doesn’t know what an App is! Actually, that’s not quite true true…because, even though the Diana remains analogue, and relies on film rolls (what are those, I hear some of you ask), there are many websites and online forums devoted to Diana photography, and there are also Apps showcasing Diana cameras and other retro plastic cameras.

Personally, my introduction to mobile photography came about via Lomography, or lo-fi photography from the likes of the Diana and other plastic cameras. I remember playing with my iPhone 3 back in 2010, and discovering Apps with Lomographic filters and effects. And just like that, I was hooked. I didn’t go as far as to buy a modern Diana camera, though they were easily available online on eBay and at retro shops such as Pigeonhole in Australia. What put me off was the fact that the camera relied on actual film, which needed processing at a camera shop, and that meant trips to the shops, which meant money to be spent on processing and on film. Do you know how hard it is these days to even find analogue film? And don’t forget to factor in the cost of processing film. Also, with me being digital on the iPhone, I could see at a glance whether a photo would be retained or simply deleted from my camera roll, and I could choose which photos to develop. Not so with the Diana, where you don’t get to see what your shots look like, before they are developed.

Having said that, today’s Diana offers pinhole functionality, where you basically remove the lens and use a pinhole filter instead. The resulting image is captured onto the film. This makes for an array of interesting effects such as blurred images, colour bleeds, double exposures, haloes and strange blobs. Very retro chic indeed. Hmmm…maybe I should get a Diana after all, just for this function…or I’m sure there’s an App for that, right?

I downloaded an App the other day called aptly enough, “Diana Photo“, which is happily available both on Android and Apple iOS. The user interface is simple enough – you simply load up 2 photos from your smartphone, then choose what effects you want to use for blending them. Now, this is different from standard photo editing blend modes (screen, difference, multiply, overlay etc). You can’t tweak any of the parameters, so it really is pot luck whether a blend works or not. Here’s a screenshot of the user interface:

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Yes, it’s all in square format. Instagrammers will love this App.

Here are the different blends available on Diana Photo. There are 21 in total (sorry, they wouldn’t fit on just one screenshot):

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I was just playing with this App when it struck me that these “accidental” double exposures were beautiful in their own right, and it would be a waste not to to create a Lenormand divination card deck using this App.

And so I have. The “Diana Lenormand” by AlyZen Moonshadow is now in production as I write this. When I get the printed copy I will share the results with you all.

Meanwhile, here are some examples of the type of images the Diana Photo App produced:

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Imaginary Pursuits Part 2

Yesterday, I shared images and descriptions of several of my CD album cover mock-ups.

Here are the rest of them. In 2015 I shall be creating another series of album cover mock-ups. For fun, and because I can LOL.

image I saw these birds sitting on telephone wires early one morning, and they reminded me of musical notes on manuscript paper. Hence the title “Dawn Chorus”.

image This one was inspired by a visit to the Art Gallery on Western Australia. The poor puppet was squished into a display cube, perfect for my CD album cover.

image This was actually a giant shoe at an exhibition in Perth. I decided it was too good to pass up on.

image I seemed to like telephone/telegraph poles and lines a lot. The pole, line and tree are real, the “struck by lightning effect” is actually from a photo I took of an abstract painting.

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Enough said!

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The Griffin came from an exhibition
I decided it was too Harry Potter to pass up on, hence the title.

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The Orang Utan image came from the Taiping Zoo in Malaysia. I simply transported him digitally to the Great Eastern Highway, Perth, Western Australia.

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These socks were tied to chainlink fences outside the derelict Guildford Hotel in Guildford, to protest the Council’s blocking of the hotel owners’ efforts to repair and restore the building to its former glory, after its roof was blown off in a storm several years ago.

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The Moon image is from an App, I simply used it to illumimate and contrast with the branches of a cherry blossom tree.

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Now this one Really became a true-to-life CD album cover. It was for hubby’s electronic music, under his name ElectroCelt. I had fun creating this, using the Apps “Deco Sketch” and “Phonto”.

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Imaginary Pursuits Part 1

Sometime back in 2011-2012 I created several CD album cover mock-ups. Partly for fun and also partly in preparation for hubby ElectroCelt’s own music production…in case he was ready to release his music as an album anytime.

I had a lot of fun creating my mock-ups, and I think in 2015 it’s time, perhaps, to make up a few more mock album covers.

Anyhow, I never really got around to explaining the images behind the mock-ups. And now I will. So, without further ado, here are some of my personal favourites from my collection. (These were done on my old iPhone 4, so it will be interesting to see what I can do with my new Samsung Note 4 next year).

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I loved mushroom-hunting when I lived in Spain. These 2 common mushrooms were found near my kid’s school in Australia, the sight of them brought back happy memories. So I thought I’d immortalise them with a trippy, almost 3-D effect. The title “Underground Empire” actually relates to the fact that mushrooms and other fungi first grow as an intricate system called mycelium under the earth, and what we see above ground and eat are actually its fruit.

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I spotted this very Australian bird, the kookaburra, sitting on a telephone wire, and just couldn’t pass up on the chance to create some puns. See how many plays on words you can spot here.

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Mahogany Creek is the name of an actual place, somewhere near the township of Mundaring, along the Great Eastern Highway out of Midland near Perth, Western Australia. It was autumn when we drove through it one year, so I thought it fitting to create an autumn-themed CD album cover.

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With this one it was the huge billowy clouds that inspired me. Hubby liked the title so much he has actually named a musical track of his after it.

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I was inspired to create this after visiting an exhibition about scientist Nikola Tesla in the city.

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I had several dozen images of cemetery statues on my, which I processed using predominantly the App Snapseed’s grunge and vintage filters. This is one of them. (Yes, I am susceptible to lurking about in cemeteries LOL).

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The tree-house was from a visit to Malaysia to see my ailing grandma in 2011. The plane was from the airport. I put the two together and named it “Leaving The Nest”, which is essentially what I did back in 1992 when I left Malaysia to study in England.

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This is a composite photo of 2 images from the movie “Legion”, which I shot on screen. I liked how they appeared to fit together.

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This was a fun one to create. The rows of bins were from an outdoor festival we’d been to. I just added the gore and suggestive title.

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This big tree, seen on one of our road trips along the coast, was the inspiration. Silver Gum and Paper Bark are 2 species of Australian gumtrees.

More to come in tomorrow’s post.😄

FREEBIES! When PicsArt met Pixlr Express

I’d originally intended to use some geometrical backgrounds found in the app PicsArt, along with geometrical effects found in the app Pixlr Express, as the backdrop of a new Lenormand project. However, these backgrounds took on a life of their own and proved too distracting and so that idea had to be shelved.

Not wanting to just let the images go to waste, though, I’ve decided to share them here with you. All I’ve done is blend the PicsArt backgrounds with some colourfield backgrounds I created, or with other random images I’d created in the past. Remember, these were just building blocks for a project that got shelved.

Feel free to save them perhaps as your smartphone’s wallpaper. Enjoy!

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P/s: I’ve since created my Le Geometrical Lenormand deck, however utilising only the effects found in Pixlr Express.

Trimaginator

Trimaginator is an App I stumbled upon recently. It’s available on both iOS and Android platforms.

Trimaginator for iOS

Trimaginator for Android

Here’s a video showing how it works:
http://vimeo.com/m/99873058

Trimaginator is the brainchild of Paul Ollivier. On the Trimaginator Facebook page, Paul says:

Make your pictures stand out from the same old thing that you typically post or share! Trimaginator allows you to unleash your creativity and turn your photos into unique and captivating works of art!

Just press one of the top right buttons for automatic point generation and tweak the result with your fingers by adding [ + ] or removing [ – ] points, or start from scratch [ x ] if you’re feeling wild!

Trimaginator also features different rendering styles that change the look of your triangles : how cool is that?

So I went and had a good old play with the App, just for fun and to see if it offered me anything new by way of creative ideas.

I had some photos of our Koi and Goldfish, that I hadn’t made any plans to use in any projects. So I figured this would be the ideal opportunity to utilise them.

Like Paul Ollivier suggested, I just pressed buttons at random and saved the results that I liked.

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What do you think? I love how well my Koi and Goldfish translate into geometric shapes. The App certainly has potential. Well, I’m off to experiment more with the + and – buttons, and the different filter effects.

App Review: Grungetastic by Jixipix

Jixipix the developers have a large stable of photo editing Apps available both on iOS and Android. For smartphones, they started on iOS and have now made most but not all those Apps available on Android too. I first came across Jixipix back in 2011, when I was starting out as an iPhoneographer. Then I switched to Android and didn’t have access to their Apps anymore.

The snapshot below shows Jixipix’s webpage. Note the long list of Apps down the left side. Available on PC, Mac AND smartphones and tablets too. Heaven!

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I’m happy to report that my love affair with the likes of Grungetastic, Moku Hanga, Artista Oil etc has been rekindled on my Samsung Galaxy S4.

Only recently I was casting about for an App that had grunge and texture filter effects, and when I came across my old flame Grungetastic, it prompted me to take a Lenormand deck I’d just created, and app the hell out of those images until I had another set of cards – a darker, edgier, grungier deck. I loved the experience of playing with that App.

So today I’m going to show you just a few things Grungetastic is capable of doing. Here’s Jixipix’s own blurb about Grungetastic:

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Okay, now for some hands-on. I took this photo of a red Chinese door with a lion’s head knocker. When you first open up Grungetastic on your smartphone (this post is only about the smartphone versions of the App, not the desktop version), this is the user interface you get:

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Pretty empty, huh? I loaded up my red door photo, and the App churned away merrily and gave me a random grunged image, for starters:

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Notice how the user interface (UI) has opened up more options. These are so you can tweak the effects by selecting different filters, colours and parameters. If you’re feeling lazy, or need a kickstart to start up those creative juices, hit the dice at the top right-hand corner. Grungetastic will randomly generate another grunged-up pic for you. I like to use the dice, and when I get a look that I like, I then use the controls for finetuning.

I clicked on the icon at the far right, and got this set of background “paper” textures. 39 in all. I selected the very last one.
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You can also change the tint of the grunge. Here it’s magenta. But let’s change it:

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Now it’s a bright turquoise. See the difference?

The second icon in from the right gives you a variety of borders:

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These are also tweakable, using sliders:
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The App offers 2 main grunge overlays, meaning you can layer one on top of the other. Working from the right side in, using Grunge 2:

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Remember, the presets for Grunge 1 and 2 are the same. But there ARE 108 filter effects, so the combination is mindboggling. After selecting the filter and strength for Grunge 2 above, I went on to do similar for Grunge 1:

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Notice how the two grunge layers are now added together. Unfortunately there isn’t a way to select a different colour of grunge for both Grunge 1 and Grunge 2 filters. However, there is a way to cheat and bring out flashes of colour, and that’s by utilising the paint palette icon, third from the left, to change the colour of the main image. I could go back to the first icon on the right and change the turquoise to another colour, but I like how it reminds me of bronze patina. By tweaking the strength or threshold of this paint palette icon, I can bring forward or recede certain colours of the main photo. You’ll need to experiment with this yourself.

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So here I’ve simply changed the main colour of the door from red to yellow. It certainly makes that door look old and rusty.

Here are some shots of randomly generated Grungetastic results on the same photo, using only the dice function:

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Right, I’m off to play some more with this great App!

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Pit Bull Art

Photo Artista Oil is an App by Jixipix, available on all platforms (computer, iOS and Android). You don’t have to know how to wield a paintbrush, this App will turn your everyday photos into classical works of art with a few simple pushes of the button.

What I love about Jixipix is how the developers utilise a uniform user interface across most, if not all, of their Apps. If you have already experienced working with one of their Apps, you already know how to use their other Apps.

I woke up one morning and decided on a whim that I’d love to design and wear a t-shirt with my pit bull Shelagh’s photo on it. Perhaps with a funky slogan extolling the virtues of pit bulls. To this end, I’ve been experimenting with Photo Artista Oil. If this works out, I’ll be putting up my designs on my Society 6, Red Bubble and Etsy store pages.

Here are some of the results so far. Enjoy!

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This is the original photo of Shelagh.

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I used Repix to paint out the backgrlund and foreground. I used my favourite brush here – paint drips.

Then, I ran the image through Photo Artista Oil . Here then are several incarnations of Shelagh.

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

RETROSPECTIVE : SURREALISM

I do love a bit of Surrealism in my photography. Back when I was on the iPhone 3 and 4, in 2012, I created quite a few Surreal images. I can’t for the life of me remember what my favourite iOS Apps were for creating these effects, now that I’m no longer on an iPhone. (I believe FilterMania2 by Dropico was one of them). But I sure do remember that it was a lot of fun creating these wild and wacky images and making people guess what they represented.

Anyway, I’ve found some of my favourite surreal images from 2012 on my external hard-drive. Been having a bit of a trip down Nostalgia Lane lately lol. (In case you’re wondering, yes, I did grow a box of mushrooms, and many¬†of the fun guys made it into my photos LOL). Enjoy!

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Pixite’s New Apps : MATTER and UNION

I wrote about 2 of Pixite’s other Apps, FRAGMENT and TANGENT, previously here. Fragment has now been released on the Android market, hurray, but the others are still only available on iOS. Hopefully they’ll follow Fragment onto the Android platform soon.

Rather than creating hyperlinks to Pixite’s Apps, here is the link to Pixite LLC‘s website itself, where you can see ALL of their Apps.

Pixite’s 2 newest additions to their stable of Apps are MATTER and UNION. Both Apps contain all manner of blending, juxtaposing and layering of objects, shapes, colours, textures.

Each of Pixite’s 4 Apps I’ve mentioned above have a facility for transferring your edited images from one App to another easily. Therefore you’ll be able to process your image in one App, move it over to another whilst in-App, process that, then transfer it back to the first App or even to a third App. Very nifty!

The User Interface of all 4 Apps is pretty uniform and intuitive. I was so excited about trying out MATTER and UNION that I didn’t bother to read the instructions or watch any video tutorials. I jumped right in and had a good play. So I won’t tell you what each button does on the Apps, or how to tweak the effects. The fun lies in making it your own hands-on experience. Go play!

Here are some of my experiments. Some were done purely using MATTER, others purely with UNION, but most of them were the product of both Apps. I’ll be experimenting more with these 2 Apps as well as the older 2, so watch this space! ;)

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow

Fun with FRAGMENT and TANGENT

Fragment and Tangent by the same App developer Pixite, are 2 iOS-only (Apple) Apps that I have on my iPad2. My Samsung Galaxy S4 is my workhorse for artistic creativity. But good what I call “Geometrical Art” Apps are hard to find on the Google Play Store. Fragment and Tangent are 2 of the best in their class. And so sometimes, when I Just have to have some aspect of geometry in my artwork, I turn to my iPad2.

When I do, it’s usually for hour-long sessions, as I must make the most of my time on my iPad2. So I generally use these “random generator” Apps to generate dozens of random images, which I afterwards transfer to my S4 for future use. Did I say already that I love Randomness? :D

Anyhow, this session was particularly fruitful. I’d already got a folder of previously randomly generated images using 2 more of my favourite iOS Apps, AddLib S and AddLib U. So this time, all I had to do was run some of them through Fragment and Tangent.

Et voila! Instant gratification! These are just a few of the images I generated. They will be used in conjunction with other Apps on my S4, to create new pieces of artwork.

Enjoy!

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ADDENDUM:
As of 23rd August 2014, the App “Fragment” is now available on Android. Yay, Happy Days! Also, Pixite have a couple more new Apps that I’m interested in, namely “Union” and “Matter”. I am just playing with these 2 on my iPad2 now, I’ll write about them next.

Posted from WordPress for Android.

http://www.alyzenmoonshadow.wix.com/alyzenmoonshadow