Category Archives: iOS Apps

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

Tutorial: Turquoise Sea/Sky with Butterflies

In this tutorial, I shall demonstrate how I created this image:

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I call this one “Turquoise Sea/Sky with Butterflies”. I really love the translucent colours here, and the depth of the image.

Apps used:

PiZap
Impressionist Fingerpaint
PicsArt
Frax
Photo Editor

Process:

The background image is from the App Pizap. Note: the resolution of images using this App is small. What I do is I resize the image after blending with another image, using Photo Editor.

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              PiZap background image.

This next image, above, is a colourfield background I created using Impressionist Fingerpaint. I free resized the PiZap background and then blended the 2 images above using PicsArt, to get this image:

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Next, I needed another image to provide interest and contrast.

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I used an image I’d created in Frax, an iOS App. I used my iPad 2 for this, and transferred the image to my Samsung Galaxy S4 for blending in PicsArt.

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The above is the result of the second blend using PicsArt. I carefully centred the inner spiral around the butterfly motif in the middle of the PiZap image, to emphasise the subject.

I added some butterfly clipart to the image, again using PicsArt.

I felt that the colours of the resulting image were too muted and there was not enough contrast, so that had to be rectified.

To do this, I ran the image through Photo Editor. I’m really pleased with how the colours really sing and pop in this image!

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

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

ST VALENTINE’S DAY GIVEAWAY

Hello, my pretty lovebirds! It’s St Valentine’s Day, and I have some freebies for you to share with your loved ones. Just please give me a shout out when you’re using the images #AlyZenMoonshadow, thanks!

These were made using only the App PicsArt and its new pack of Valentine’s words. The Oriental backgrounds came from within PicsArt’s own Collage section. I blended the images with some backgrounds created with Impressionist Fingerpaint, Frax and Percolator .

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

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Posted from WordPress for Android.

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

Tutorial: DEEP SEA CREATURES

I’m currently exploring the areas of image blending, royalty-free clipart, colour replacement/removal and tolerance levels. I love how I am able to create the illusion of paint spatters and of depth by simply playing with the levels of a particular filter. How I can turn something perfect into something that looks accidental by design.

The filter in question that gives me this freedom is called “Colour Replace (RGB)” and it’s found in the App “Photo Editor”. Just a simple filter using sliders to control the colour and tolerance levels, but it certainly makes things much more interesting. Another filter within “Photo Editor”, called simply.”Colour Replace”, gives a more overall change of colour, but can be used in conjunction with “Colour Replace (RGB) to give even more variation to play with. Here is a screenshot showing both filters sitting side by side in the App.

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The image I have created in this tutorial is called “Deep Sea Creatures”. It utilises royalty-free clipart from Dover Publication’s “Haeckel” book on ornamental organic forms. The background came from a Percolated image of a Frax snapshot I’d created earlier. (Percolator and Frax are iOS Apps that I use on my iPad 2, then transfer to my Samsung Galaxy S4 for further use, via the excellent universal App “Photo Transfer”).

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I used Photo Editor’s Colour Replace (RGB) filter to change the background colour and remove some of the detail from the image. I needed areas that were clear so I could add other elements to the image. Too cluttered, and the image wouldn’t work.

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Next, I used the App Litho to add texture to the image. I chose something that gave the impression of depth or layers. Litho is a versatile, universal app (iOS and Android) that I’m enjoying using now that developers have at long last ironed out the various kinks and bugs from it. Well done, gents!

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I added 2 Dover clipart images using Litho, which offers image blending in numerous modes.

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I added some colour and drip effects to the background, still using Litho.

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The result was too dark, so I moved the image to Photo Editor to clear it up and brighten the overall effect. I decided the “seaweed” that the drips had created were too colourful, so I changed them to a grey colour.

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Then, I used Snapseed to tweak the image, to bring out more details of the sea creatures.

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Apps used:
Percolator (iOS)
Frax (iOS)
Photo Transfer (universal)
Photo Editor (Android) (by dev.mcgyver)
Litho (universal)
Snapseed (universal)
Clipart (Dover Publications)

Posted from WordPress for Android.

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

Photo editing Apps that are available on both iOS and Android

iOS being the first horse out the stalls, it’s only logical that the Apple App Store has the greatest number of photo editing Apps, and the greatest number of App developers, users and aficionados. It was after all the iPhone that started the whole mobile photography revolution.  There will be those that pooh-pooh Android apps and developers as a poor second-cousin.  

The truth is, both platforms have their pros and cons, and as if you didn’t know already, a good percentage of the Apps you see on iOS are also available on the Google Play Store on Android.  The reasons that Android is lagging behind iOS are that Android started the race after iOS had already gone round the circuit a couple of times (oh look, Microsoft, Blackberry and Linux have joined the race too!), and it’s not a simple matter of transferring files from iOS to Android so that an iOS App can be made available on Android. The codes needed for writing an Android App are different from those for writing iOS Apps, so basically the App developer has to re-write the App to fit into Android parameters.  I’m no techno geek, my eyes glaze over at the first sign of a software code, but you only have to go to any decent technical bookstore and you will see there is a clear distinction between writing Apps for iOS and for Android. Don’t forget also, that iOS Apps only have to be written to work on Apple devices, whereas Android Apps have to be tweaked so they will work on hundreds if not thousands of different smartphones.  

Android and iOS will have their detractors and supporters, just like any football club. Some diehards will even go out to denigrate the other team and put it down, even when they have had no personal experience with it. It’s only human to feel insecure about something you don’t know about, and to resist change or difference. But human beings are also fickle, so it’s natural that some would leave iOS for Android, and vice versa, some may sit on the fence undecided, and then there are others, like me, who embrace both platforms equally with open arms. And why not, as there are some excellent Android Apps that are not available on iOS, and the other way round too…I have both an iPad 2 and a Samsung Galaxy S4, so I literally have the best of both worlds at my fingertips.  It would be a shame to jettison one in favour of the other, when both have equally salient benefits.

This post is not about the iOS vs Android wars, it’s simply to provide a list of Photo Editing Apps that I call “Universal”, in that they are available on both iOS and Android platforms.  I just thought it might be an idea to compile a list now, for future reference.  Bearing in mind that new Apps are introduced each and every day, this list is by no means exhaustive.  Remember also, that what I write about is only what I know; there are other Apps out there that I’ve not come across on my travels, or that I don’t use, or that I’ve placed in the discard pile for one reason or another.  And this list does not include Camera replacement Apps, i.e those where you can’t simply edit an image already in your camera roll, but have to take a photo using the App and edit that.

The 3 grand biggies are: Snapseed, Pixlr Express and Repix.  Newbies – for more information about these apps, please read this article.

http://www.whistleout.com.au/MobilePhones/Guides/3-great-photo-editing-apps

I was on iOS on my iPhone 3 and 4 when Snapseed and Pixlr Express first came out.  By the time Repix surfaced 2 years later, I was already on my Samsung Galaxy S3 and S4.  Was I happy that these 3 are Universal?  You betcha!! They are my bread and butter Apps. 

Here are other Universal Photo Editing Apps (NOT Camera replacement Apps) that I’ve found online, in no particular order:

PicsArt

Handy Photo

Instagram

PicLab

PicsPlay

FX Camera

Photoshop Touch

Photoshop Express

BeFunky

Photo Wonder

PicShop

Pix

Fotor

Pixlr-o-matic

Magic Hour

Line Camera

Aviary

Pics Play Pro

PiZap

Litho

AfterFocus

 

If you, like me, are the sort to sometimes place text and clipart and graphics over your iPhone/Android photos, then these Universal Apps might be useful:

Phonto

Overly

Labelbox

Deco Sketch

A Beautiful Mess

PicSay

Vintique

TouchRetouch

 

And here is my personal list of Apps (not just for photo editing) that are NOT currently on the Android platform, that I dearly wish would be!

Laminar Pro

iColorama S

Leonardo

Frax

Tangent

Fragment

Waterlogue

AdLib S

AdLib U

Percolator

Jazz

Glaze

Satromizer

Decim8

Phoster

Luminance

King Camera

Camera+

PhotoToaster

FotoMuse

PicGrunger

Bad-Camera

Lumiere

JixiPix’s suite of Apps (lots of them!)

 

If you know of any other Apps that might fit these lists above, please do let me know and I will add them on, thank you! :-)

 

About the Size of it

Recently, a Facebook friend posted a question about how large a print one can get from a smartphone WITHOUT resorting to resampling software. Back in 2011, I did some research into image resolutions and print sizes, after being told that an image I’d sent through email for a CD cover was only suitable for a postage stamp!  My report can be read on http://www.mobitog.com where I was a moderator for a year.

Here is the thread: http://www.mobitog.com/threads/image-resolutions-and-resizing.1563/

Of course, things have moved on since.  

However, whilst smartphone cameras are getting better if not bigger, and photographic Technology is improving by leaps and bounds exponentially, the co-relation of image resolution and print size is still a very valid argument.

Okay, before you read any further, remember these 3 Very Important Things:

1) we are not talking about DSLR cameras here, we are discussing smartphone cameras, with the emphasis on smartphones having access to either iOS Apps (Apple) or Google Play Apps (Android). If you have a hybrid camera that also makes and takes calls, yay for you, and consider it included in the smartphone category. If you have a DSLR and rely on traditional photography methods, then your best bet is still Photoshop, Perfect Resize, or any of a growing number of image resampling/resizing software.

2) we are not going to talk about resampling/resizing software here, we will instead concentrate on image print sizes “straight out the box”, and in practical terms, notwithstanding advances in processing software and Apps.  

3) I’m not going to talk about the difference between dpi and ppi here. Suffice to say that dpi relates to the number of ink Drops Per square Inch in a printer, and ppi relates to the number of Pixels Per square Inch on a camera. The difference between the two is explained further in a number of the weblinks listed below as we go along. From the mobile photographer’s practical point of view, consider both dpi and ppi interchangeable (oh, I know they’re not!), file it away in the recesses of your memory, and let’s get on with the real stuff.

 

I did some digging around on the internet, and here are links to several sites that attempt to shed light on the eternal Megapixel vs Print Size question. I have no affiliation with any of these sites, and some of the information may be outdated/moot especially in regard to the iPhone and Apps. However, you will see that most concur that the industry standard for professional printing should be 300 dpi, and then explain what happens when the dpi drops. In a nutshell, the relationship between dpi and print size is converse – the bigger the dpi, the smaller and more “picture perfect” the photo, the smaller the dpi, the bigger the photo but with possible loss of detail i.e the dreaded pixelation.

 

http://thebeginnerslens.com/iphone-photography/printing-iphone-photos-a-guide-to-print-size.html

A recent post by experts in the field of mobile photography, with salient points especially in relation to the iPhone.

 

http://lifeinlofi.com/2010/08/25/iphone-photo-prints-how-big-can-you-go/   

MARTY YAWNICK’s article about this, which goes back to 2011 around the time I was doing my research, an oldie but still a goodie, as it’s been updated to include later incarnations of the iPhone

 

http://griffintechnology.com/blog/fun/does-my-ipad-take-bigger-pictures-than-my-iphone/    

For those of you curious about how your iPad camera photos will look “in real life”.  Of course it looks bigger on a bigger screen, but how will your photo come out in print? Griffintechnology explains.

 

http://photo-to-canvas.com/faq_s_amp_info/faqs 

Explains pixelation in Photoshop. And how you must never assume that Photoshop will resize your low-resolution images without pixelation…there’s a different algorithm involved in resampling pixels and not just blowing up the size of existing pixels. 

 

http://connect.dpreview.com/post/1313669123/how-many-megapixels  

Compares different smartphone cameras and how they print at 300 dpi. 

 

http://www.design215.com/toolbox/megapixels.php  

Contains a useful colour chart showing maximum print sizes in relation to Megapixels

 

http://www.techhive.com/article/128982/article.html  

Explains it from a different viewpoint, literally. Billboard posters are generally printed at 72dpi, which looks great from a distance, as that’s how they’re meant to be viewed…however, if you go close up to the poster, pixelation is immediately obvious.  So, for up close and personal viewing, it is highly advisable to choose to print at 300dpi.

 

http://www.photographyicon.com/enlarge/    

Icon Photography School has a useful colour chart made by one of its students explaining Megapixels and maximum print size, again at the industry standard of 300dpi. 

 

http://easybasicphotography.com/image-resolution-pixels-print-sizes.html  

Explains the difference between ppi and dpi

 

http://www.nickcarverphotography.com/blog/how-many-megapixels-do-you-really-need/  

From a DSLR photographer’s point of view, if you don’t use resampling or have no recourse to Apps via your imaging device

 

http://photo-editing-software-review.toptenreviews.com/image-resolution.html    

Again, another site that explains the difference between ppi and dpi

 

http://flyingsamphoto.com/digital-photo-printing-megapixels-300.shtml

From a DSLR user’s point of view. 

 

Just a couple more things to remember: 

1) The number of Megapixels on your smartphone is not actually the same as the output. To give you an extreme example, the Nokia Lumia 1020 boasts a whopping 41MP camera, however, when the image output resolution is calculated, it comes out more like 34-38MP. I don’t use my iPhone anymore, so I’m not sure if the iPhone offers the same facility, however, on my Samsung Galaxy S4, the camera gives me a choice of resolutions to take pictures at, so I can essentially choose whether I want to use my full 13MP resolution for each shot (which naturally takes up more room on the phone), or to shoot at lower resolutions and thus save on storage space.  

2) Again, what goes in isn’t necessarily what comes out. If you choose to save your images at the highest resolution, and then process the image through various Apps, bear in mind that some Apps, especially the free ones, will reduce the size of your output to postage stamp sizes. So, the caveat is to check whatever App you’re processing your image with, and make sure it will save at a high enough resolution for you for printing later. I’ve been there, done that…processed images that look wonderful on the iPhone/Galaxy screen, only to realise afterwards that the App/s used only saved at a measly 600×800 pixels, which means I can’t print a large size without first having to resize it in Perfect Resize. Again taking the Nokia Lumia 1020 as an example, straight out the box you can get huge, quality prints…however, if you tried to “app” your image first and then print it out, you will find that most Apps (iOS or Android) simply do not cater for such high resolutions and will just reduce your image to their default saving resolution. The Nokia Lumia 1020 is a Windows smartphone, however, and the Windows Apps Store has a long way to go before it catches up with the 2 front runners, iOS and Android, so my guess is most users will simply buy that as a point-and-shoot, as there aren’t many photo editing Apps in the Windows Store. Then again, I’m fairly sure of 2 things – that Apps will be updated offering higher and higher resolutions, in keeping with the trend for bigger and bigger Megapixel counts on smartphone cameras, and that the Windows Apps Store will be playing ball with the big boys within the next 3 years.