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Smartphone Photography IV

This is the fourth and final part of the smartphone photography. On the last blog post, I was not able to cover all the available apps to capture and develop images on the smartphone; this piece completes the previous blog.





The significance of Aviary is its ability to perform, across various platforms including, iOS, Android, Windows, OS x and the web. The main intention of the developers was to create a user-friendly editing tool, by eliminating the need for prior knowledge of how to work with the app. Recently Adobe bought the entire venture and

currently it is part of the Adobe Creative Cloud.

The interface is somewhat simple with multiple tools available on the bottom of the page, including Enhance, Effects, Frames, Stickers, Overlay, Crop, Focus, Lighting, Color, Sharpness, Text, Saturation, Red Eye,..... The order of the tools can be rearranged in the setting. After a period, if you feel specific tools are being used more often; they can be moved to the left of the screen and readily be available. Clicking on any of the main tools will open a set of editing tools belong to that category. For instance, clicking on Enhance will open a page with Hi-Def, Illuminate, and color effect. Clicking on Illuminate will increase the “exposure”. Some of the tools can be adjusted with a sliding bar, like sharpness, lighting. Clicking on Focus provides a circular or rectangular area in focus, and the remaining part, outside the selected area, blurred. The app may be linked directly to social media to post the image after editing. It also comes with a set of 12 free filters. Furthermore, another 12 filters can be downloaded for free. The users may purchase more filter or sticker through the app from $.99 to $2.99.

One common complaint is the app lacks reverting the effect, an undo button.




Prisma's filters can be adjusted to increase the the artistic effects. Below is an image with moderate painterly effect.

The degree of filter effect with Prisma can be adjusted. Above an image with a minimal effect.

The main aim of the app developers was to produce various filters to render artistic effects. It uses artificial intelligence, neural network, and deep learning algorithms, so as the user continues to edit different images, the program finds a pattern to creates filters in the context of its prior use. The use of a neural network has been tried in the past. Google used it in DeepDream for the same effect. The editing takes place in Prisma lab’s servers; since it uses AI, instead of applying different filters to the image, it develops layers and recreates the image. The outcome is similar to digital photography, where special brushes could render “painting,” “watercolor” or “pastel” effects. There are other applications like LunaPic which initially developed for online editing and subsequently, developers offered mobile version as well. See below.

Regular updates and improvements are the prime features of Prisma creating significant appeal for the users.

There are some downsides and limitations. Low resolution is an issue developers acknowledged and are working to improve it. So far, there is no control over the aspect ratio; the image will come out square. Lastly, since it develops the photograph on its server, you need a connection to the server.

To work with it, after opening the app, it provides the option to capture an image through the smartphone camera or one may bring an image from the camera roll. With the desired image on the top part of the interface, the bottom of the screen offers a series of filters with various effects. With choosing a filter, the program renders the image based on the filter. Sliding left to the right will reduce the degree the filter has impacted the image; sliding all the way to the right will render the image near its original form.

There is a button to save the image; also it may be posted directly on the social media.

The same photograph with more enhanced artisitc effct.




Initially, the app was developed for online use. It does not need Java or Flash or other plugins to work, which was felt to be an advantage since there was no need to download a program. You do not need to register on the website to use the app. The smartphone version, however, does not have all the features of the web, constraining the editing potential for processing an image. This has made some of the users unhappy. In addition to standard editing tools, it offers animated effects and similar graphics editing.




Pixlr is a web-based app and works with iOS and Android. It is free. The tools are very similar to Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Cropping, blurring, adjustment, contrast, sharpen, red-eye, healing. The online edition, desktop, and laptop can be accessed through It provides two different versions, “Editor” and “Express.” The editor follows Photoshop structure and tools, while Express version, applies preset changes to the image. For smartphone only the Express version is available.

To edit your image, there is a tab to bring an image from the camera roll. The interface is somewhat simple; it provides tools on the bottom of the screen to change exposure, contrast, highlight, vibrance, temperature and so on. It has a series of filters that can be added on. It also lets you add text.




Fotor is another web-based editing software with a version for the smartphone. One significant advantage over some of the other apps is its ability to process RAW image. Although it certainly lacks some of the features of established editing apps, such as Photoshop Express and Lightroom, the designers have simplified the techniques of editing, so one does not need to have the extent of the knowledge often requires to edit an image with LR. Usually adding a filter will create the desired intention.

Fotor, upon opening, gives you options of Camera, Edit, Photo Box, and Setting. The editor provides two sets of options; the bottom row shows the main categories of editing such as enhance, scene, adjust, rotate,...tapping any of the icons, will give you the options within that category. For instance, tapping scene gives you options mostly to change the temperature, cloudy, shade and so on, or taping enhance let you increase the exposure. Effects add a different type of filter.




Virtually, it is a replica of Instagram created traction when some of the privacy issues of the latter were uncovered. The main idea behind creating the app was to provide another place for social gathering between photographers. The developers have tried to make the interface more user-friendly with fewer clicks-again compare to Instagram. They were able to remove the rectangular constraint of Instagram which has been considered an advantage. One downside is all the”like”s, by default, will be shared on your Facebook page. On the desktop format, you may disable this feature, but so far on the mobile app, it is not possible. There are links to other social media, Twitter, Flickr, and Tumbler; in case you want to share them. The app does not have the option of keeping your post not public.

Like some of the other apps for “stock” images, EyeEm has tried to provide a medium to help photographers finding buyers for their photographs. There is $20 licensing fees for a single image; for printing or use on television, one needs an extended license to $250.

Editing a Black and White image is somewhat independent of a color one. The developers of Hypocam have created an app to capture and process B&W images. The camera offers a live view controls which are very important as the camera let you capture in B&W, instead of capturing in color and converting it to B&W. Opening the camera gives you three options on the bottom of the screen, reviewing web images, left, shutter, middle and grid, right. The grid helps to keep the camera straight and guides composition. Furthermore, the app has a feature to straighten a photograph while developing it.

On top of the screen, there are icons for processing an image, brightness, contrast, grain, in addition to the series of filters, including some of the classic B&W filters like red, and orange. The main limitation of the app is its web-based nature. To open the app, you need a connection to the Internet.

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