Let the kids have the kameraz!
I’d almost forgotten about the app Action Shot. The easiest way to explain what it does is to look at the photo shown here.
You get the idea? I remembered it the other day because I was invited by Sport England to take some photos of one of their Sportivate initiatives, a group of Free Runners (a sport also known as Parcourt, or Parkour in its cooler version) and I thought it would work a treat.
The way you take a photo with it is to hold your camera still and let your subject jump/skateboard/fly from one end of your frame to the other. The app takes a number of shots in burst mode and you decide which ones you’d like to include in your final frame. You could achieve the same result by using an app like Quick Camera and then blending the results. (Quick Camera has the advantage over other apps, like Camera+, which also have a burst mode, that it delivers high-resolution images.) You could then use an app like Blender to merge your best shots into one. But that would be quite a long and tricky process. Action Shot effectively gives you a macro that takes those steps for you. A bit of finger dabbing on your screen and, hey presto, you have a pretty cool-looking pic to impress your skateboarding emo mates with.
Part of Sport England’s thinking with asking me to cover these events with the iphone camera is to show the kids that they could take photos of the sports they’re doing with their own smart phones. Action Shot is a great example of this sort of empowerment.
Chop off Grandad’s head for Christmas
Are you secretly slightly not looking forward to watching Morecambe and Wise this Christmas? Apologies to our non-UK readers, but suffice to say, it’s a show from the 70s shown every Christmas Day in the UK which it is against the law not to watch. But provided you are in the same room as a television showing the show, you are technically within the law. And so you are legally free to fiddle around with whatever useless gadget you received for Christmas - or with a photo app on your iPhone!
So here are three mobile photo tricks that might help to ease the boredom and impress your snooty cousins over the festive period:
1) Headless grandad. Elements required: Juxtaposer, paper hat, grandad. Take a photo of grandad with outstretched hands with his paper hat on and then use Juxtaposer to chop off his head and paste it onto his hands. Ask him to give a demonic cackle for effect. Basic steps: 1) Take photo of grandad as indicated above; 2) take a photo of the same scene without grandad; 3) Make a stamp in Juxtaposer from grandad’s demonic head in photo 1; 4) Open photo 2 as your base image, and photo 1 on top, delete grandad’s head. Save; 5) In new session, open photo from 4, and place demonic head stamp, ideally enlarged, on grandad’s hands. Guaranteed to get a chuckle from anyone, even Auntie Maud. Also try alternative of grafting turkey onto grandad’s headless body.
2) Action! Elements required: Action Shot, excitable teenager, new toy providing movement (eg skateboard, roller blades, bike). Go outside (good excuse to escape the sauna-like environment of the overly-centrally-heated family home) and ask your teenager to skateboard/roller-blade/cycle on the road in front of you (be sure to check for traffic - accidental fatalities are not the best on Christmas Day). The instructions on Action Shot are pretty easy. Resulting image is sure to ellicit a “That’s sick, uncle/auntie/mum/dad/grandad/grandma!”
3) The triplets trick. Elements required: Image Blender, one small child, empty dining room. After Mum has cleared the dining room and retired to her bedroom exhausted and slightly resentful that no-one helped, take your small child and ask it to pose in three different non-overlapping places in the room, being careful to make sure the camera is in exactly the same position for each shot. Ideally one shot should be with the child standing precariously on the dining table (tell them, it’s OK, it’s for art) and one with their face up close to the camera, again a demonic expression is good. Steps: 1) open photo 1 on left and photo 2 on right; move slider to far right; 2) delete all of photo 2 apart from the small child; save; 3) repeat steps with photo from step 2 and photo 3.
A very Merry Christmas to all iphoggy bloggy readers - see you in the new year!
The triplets trick: sure to brighten up the dullest Christmas
Geek out at Campus Party in Berlin
This afternoon I was geeking out at Campus Party in Berlin talking about some of my fave photo apps. Here’s a quick run-down:
Snapseed: My always-by-my-side app. Great for general editing and tilt-shift. And I’m taking the detox pills to get me off that Drama button. It also pays to explore all its nooks and crannies. I recently discovered a feature called “Structure” which gives a 3D effect to a photo without any HDR nonsense or any sharpening noise.
BlurFX: Like tilt-shift but you can apply clarity to various parts of a photo. Great for adding drama or a narrative to a photo, especially for faces. The median blur feature allows you to create some weird dreamscapes.
Touch Retouch: a must-have in the toolbox. As a Mr. Fixit app, you wouldn’t know how often people use this app. I probably use it on 50% of my images: never let a white van example ruin one of your photos again. You can also use it creatively to remove things that are conspicuous (or weird) by their absence.
Filter Storm: One for the geeks. Great for changing the brightness or contrast on specific parts of images. Curves, histograms, layers. It’s photoshop in your pocket.
Image Blender: Or just straight Blender to its friends, aswell as opening a whole world of surreal blending possibilities, this is also a great stacking tool that allows you to mix and match effects from other apps.
Shockmypic: Should have been called Van Gogh. Adds that starry starry night look to your images.
Toonpaint: Extracts the lines and vectors from your image and gives you a comic-book unreality. With or without colour.
ArtistaOil: Monet or Manet?
Photosynth: The world is too wide sometimes and those fish-eye lenses are a bit rubbish. Big wow factor.
Decim8: Ah yeah man. Can you take an app to a desert island, Sue? Endless hours of psychedelic appsperimenting.
Slow Shutter: Another one where we’ve only scratched the surface. So many creative possibilities.
Diptic: Can’t choose which shot you like? Make a diptic and put them all in. Then make a new one with that one and get creative. Cubist possibilities.
Action Shot: Snap that moving target and blend.
But sometimes you just need to take a nice photo