Phone App Filters

I take lots of photos and have a bunch of people that ask me questions about my art from time to time.  

I’ve had several folks ask about the water colour filters and oil filters that I use for some of my photos.  I’m not so good at drawing but know my way around a camera and lighting fairly well. Some of my photos are just fine as photos but sometimes I like to see what they will look like as paintings.  

That is how it started, anyway.

The two main apps that I use are Waterlogue ($2.99USD) and Brushstroke ($3.99 - the price changes from time to time).  You are not going to use these on your computer. Phone or iPad/Tablet only.  If you know what you are doing, you can likely get these effects better using Photoshop.  If you know what you are doing. But for me I had to start with something simple.

I use them both.  Waterlogue for water colour effects and Brushstroke for oil.  

Waterlogue has about a dozen filters and then once you have applied that particular filter, if you go to the right there are five ‘sizes’ you can apply.  Each of these gives a bit of variation to the image. You also have the option of adding a border or not.  If you apply the border colours will bleed to it on some of the filters.  

It is quite simple to use.  More and more I will edit a photo knowing which filter I’m going to use.  I beef up or dull down the sky or some other part of the image knowing how it will manifest in the app.  There isn’t a lot you can do within the app as far as playing with colours or light and dark, contrast, etc.  

If the original photo was taken on my phone or iPad, I will edit with Lightroom there before applying the filter.  If I took the photo on my camera, I’ll edit a little with Lightroom there then send to my iPad to apply the app.  I might go back and forth a bit to get it how I want. 

Using Brushstroke, I try and think ahead as well.  But… you have a lot more flexibility with this app. You can edit contrast, saturation, density, shadows, highlights and many more.  You can make the brushstrokes look thicker or thinner.  You have about 70 plus filters. Apply the filter of your choice, then you can get specific within each filter with the sliders. 

Once you have played with the apps, you may find that you take your photo with a plan for one or the other.

Another tool that I use is called ImageFramer. Use this on your computer.  I know it works for a Mac.  Don’t know about other operating systems.  This one is not free.  I sprung for it as I really wanted to see what some of my work would look like matted and framed.  It helps me to decide on sizes and shapes and colours for frame and matte.  The pro version is, I think, $80.  Not a big expense when I compare to what I’ve spent on camera and studio equipment.  

A couple of other points.  If you are planning on printing a photo that you have converted, figure out the format and edit to that before you apply the app. If, for example, your photo is 8x12 and you are going to print it as an 8x10.  If you apply the watercolour app so that it bleeds onto the border and THEN you crop smaller, parts of your border will disappear.  🙁  I’ve made this mistake.  Then gone back and can’t remember the exact settings and well….

Depending on what you have in mind for your final product, plan your steps.  

Another point: if you are going to print something that you have put through one of these filters, you also have to think on what kind of paper you are going to use.  I get my photos done at posterjack.ca.  They have a really nice rag paper that I will use.  But… I have to edit the image a bit lighter than I would for a normal matte or semigloss print.   

You'll see on this page a couple of beautiful images that I’ve done in Brushstroke.  I’ve then used clear gel with brushes to give an even more painterly effect.  A couple of layers.  Both of the photos included in this article were edited in Lightroom, then messed with in Brushstroke. Then a couple of gel coats.  Back and forth several times to get exactly what I wanted.  One is 11x14 and the other 11x17.  My wife did a beautiful job matting and framing them.

Check out some other pages:
Branding

And a bit more on Art and Photography

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