26 March 2010

Token Advice #1

Just thought I'd post a quick tip. Most of you probably know this, but you can quickly and easily take screen shots of your iPhone. Simply press the home button and the on/off button simultaneously and a photograph of your current screen will be saved in your photos. It works for anything. Much like this picture of an app I found in the App Store. Notice the one in the center is called "Fans of Iran". 

It has many useful applications. You could take a picture of a map and send it to someone's email that needs directions. You could take a picture of a receipt sent to your email to file in your records. You could take a picture of an app you really like and text it to a friend as a recommendation. You could also take pictures of friend's crazy Facebook statuses or texts to post on Failblog!


17 March 2010

St. Patty's Day

This has nothing to do with the purpose of my blog (other than the fact I took it on my phone). While I thought this was incredibly funny, my wife thinks I am both juvenile and "rebellious." What do you think? It's how I wore my "green" on this Celtic holiday.

15 March 2010

Compare and Contrast: Photoshop.com Mobile, PhotoForge, and Photogene

So it has been a while since I posted on here, but I have been productive. I scoured the internet to figure out what photo editing apps people like/used the most. The Big Three (as I have named them) are: Photoshop.com Mobile (or if you like "Photoshop Mobile"), PhotoForge, and Photogene.

I definitely enjoy having the different options all three apps provide, but I still fall back on Photoshop Mobile as my favorite and "go to" application for photos. 

Adobe delivers with this application. It's fast and simple. 
First and foremost, the user interface is natural and intuitive. Even with little to no experience, anyone could open this application and begin to edit photos. The title screen giving you the option to take a photo is a big plus, and after that it only gets better. 

The best part of editing photos on your phone is the capability to use your fingers on the picture and this application exploits it. From cropping and rotating, to exposure and saturation, everything is adjustable using your hands. The reason I prefer Photoshop to the other applications is this simple feature: as you adjust things like exposure, contrast, saturation, etc. you see the changes as they are happening. When you make an adjustment you see the immediate result. You simply just swipe your fingers across the picture. 

Photoshop Mobile also includes borders and effects. The effects and borders are contemporary and useful. I personally enjoy the "vibrant" and "vignette," but I am learning to use more. The borders also offer another "vignette" option, but fades the corners to black instead of un-focusing them. It will also add "rough edges" and "halftone" (which adds a comic book flare to your pictures). 

All in all this app does exactly what it promises. It edits photos with extraordinary ease and precision. It also allows the user access and the opportunity to upload pictures to the Photoshop.com network. I honestly have not explored Photoshop.com, so I don't have much advice there. I do wish however, that this app allowed direct uploading to Facebook and Twitter, and had an option for curve adjustment for lighting. I would also love to have the ability to add text to my photos. Considering this application is FREE, none of my complaints hold much water. I also wish that they would release a "pro" version. I would pay money to have this incredible application's features expanded. This is a must have app on your iPhone.

What do I say about PhotoForge? I have a love/hate relationship with this application. I am an amateur photographer, so of course I use Photoshop Elements. I can not afford the full version, but Elements does exactly what I need it to do. While I dearly love Photoshop.com Mobile, I do long for more features from Elements to be incorporated into PS.com Mobile. PhotoForge fills in that gap. With curve adjustment, noise reduction, and cloning, this application seemed like the Holy Grail of mobile photo editing. 

While this app does incredible things, it is very quirky. I have yet to figure out the "undo" button. The app undoes effects quickly and efficiently, but adjustments are another story. On more than one occasion when using the app I will make adjustment to exposure, contrast, curves, etc. and instead of undoing each adjustment separately, it undoes them all at once. Other times it undoes them separately. I can not explain it. I also have trouble with saving pictures. At times I have saved pictures with effects on them, only to look at them in my photo album and find out it didn't apply the effect when I saved the picture. I had edited a picture of the barn behind my house and applied the awesome "oil painting" effect, only to save it and find out the "oil painting" part did not stay on the picture.

The user interface is somewhat clunky and has a learning curve. I really, really like the amount of adjustments available, but I don't like the fact that the changes in exposure do not show up until after I move adjuster. I would definitely change that about this app. I love being able to see changes as I make them, and that capability would make this editing application nearly flawless. 

All in all, PhotoForge is a valuable tool. Once the interface is mastered it's quick, and accurate. It offers a large and varied amount of effects, and some awesome features, such as a paint brush that offer a fantastic option for personalizing your pictures and the blurring tool that I used just the other day. Although this application is fantastic, I would recommend it only to those serious mobile photographers (that's a lot of people these day) and those of us who consider ourselves amateur photographers.

This application works beautifully. I love the aesthetic of this application. It looks good and works well. Photogene has great features, and packs a powerful punch that puts it in the top three. Photogene sits comfortably well between Photoshop.com Mobile and PhotoForge. It provides more options for editing the photo itself and is simply minimal. It has fewer filters (effects) than the other two, but has a nice variety.

When you open that application it looks simple. Select an option such as "edit new picture" and you find your self in the editor. The picture is in the middle and the options run down the side. The user interface makes this app standout. Simplicity. I can not say it enough! This application delivers with the color adjustment. It boasts the ability to adjust the light curves, the exposure and contrast, color saturation and temperature, and the level of R,G, and B separately. I am definitely biased toward Photogene's color adjustment. 

Photogene does not stop there. While it does not boast a large amount of effects, it does boast an enormous amount of borders. Not just white, black, or gray shapes around your pictures, but adjustable, even customizable borders that you can create. Buried in the borders are two of my favorite effects - they don't have a name, but one is a vignette and the other creates a mirrored effect like the mirror image below your cd covers in the coverflow of your iTunes. 

One feature Photogene offers that the others do not is text input and bubbles. You can even take the bubble away and have just normal text in your pictures.  All in all it is a fantastic app. Fast, lean, and capable. While not on my "must have" list, if you are wanting to enhance your photos and even double up on what your other apps can do, this would be a great investment.

There you have it. My opinion, as though it matters, has been laid out. Comment with questions or suggestions. I'll try not to wait so long to post again. 

P.S. Post some pictures if you want. It would be awesome to see some others' work. 

10 February 2010

First Draft

I can not decide exactly what to write. I guess I should tell you that I have been an iPhone owner since August, and never once have I regretted that decision. I have found it to be a device capable of doing everything I have ever needed via the maps app or apps from the store. I should also tell you I own a 16gb 3Gs. Just a simple baseline phone. Un-jailbroken (why mess with a good thing if I have to do all of that coding that I have no idea how to do) and always on.

For this blog I want to focus solely on the iPhone's photo taking abilities and editing those photos using only the phone. I current take photos through the camera app provided by Apple. I do not see the point in using those other camera apps (unless they are the goofy ones) as it still uses software to "enhance" the photo quality, zoom, etc.

I also currently used Photoshop Mobile (current version) for all of my editing. Adobe has never failed me. I love this app. I can crop, rotate, expose, saturate, contrast, effect, border, and tint my photos. My only complaint of this near flawless app is the lack of a text insert into photos. Everything else, I feel, works well.

I am by no means a professional photographer. I enjoy photography and am currently learning to use the manual side of the mode wheel on my Canon Digital Rebel. That's right folks, the first DSLR released by Canon. But still, 6MPs look good with a capable image sensor.

If I had known I was going to start this blog, I would have saved both the originals and edited pictures. I do have some of both left, but for now I will leave you with some of my edited pics.

Rain on my screened in porch.

I call this one Late Nights.

The engine of my 1991 Mazada MX-6.

East TN Rainbow.


I hope you enjoy this blog. I will use this space to share with you photos taken with my phone, and also some of the ways I use available apps to help enhance my pictures.