App Focus

app focus

There are countless applications available for iDevices and it really is impossible to keep up with whats new or interesting. When I find a new app it is almost always through either a developer I am already familiar with or through one of a few tech/app blogs I track on my RSS feeds. On occasion one comes along that manages to make its way into my daily workflow but most, I will admit, end up collecting digital dust in some forgotten corner of my iPhone. I look for apps with forward thinking, simplistic approaches to its functionality and design and have gotten to be just as picky with the apps I use as the physical products I buy.

One of the most heavily used category of apps on my phone is found in my camera app folder. Photo apps are a dime a dozen these days but from time to time one comes along that I have fun with for a few weeks before it either finds a permanent home in its space or gets removed because its novelty has worn off. The few that have stuck with me for the long run are Tiltshift Generator, Autostitch, and a handy darkroom timer app made by the Massive Dev Chart site. The reason for writing here today is to mention a couple of newer additions to my photo app toy folder both which were recommended by a commenter here on my previous post about using the iPhone as a camera.

First up is one that I have really been enjoying a lot actually and may end up being one of those long standing apps. It is dead simple and does something many other phone apps have done before but it does it with a subtlety that I really like. The app is called CrossProcess and its effect is pretty self explanatory. It gives the odd color effects that developing slide film in negative film chemicals would give. As far as customization goes it is really dead simple and gives you a choice of five different color effects as well as options to save the original image or add a border to the image. By default the app randomly chooses one of the five color effects leaving you with unexpected results but I find it is nice to jump into the options screen and choose one single effect that works best for the image at hand. So far, green is my favorite. The end result is always much more subtle than most apps that do the same thing which is part of the reason I enjoy using is as much as I do. Here are a few examples of photos processed with this app.





The other app I have had fun with lately is one that only time will tell if I will continue to enjoy. It is the type of app that adds light leaks and rough film edges. That can be fun at times but these kinds of apps have one serious flaw and that is the variety of small differences in these effects. If the light leak or dust or odd effect is always in the same places, in the same way it gets old fast when all of your photos start looking exactly the same. It’s why hisptamatic got so boring to me.

The app I am using to add these sorts of effects at the moment is called Plastic Bullet. It’s one flaw so far is its interface, its just not quite as smooth as I feel it could be but it does get the job done. You take a photo or select one already taken and simply cycle through random combinations of color alterations and light leaks until you find one you like. I find it doesn’t always work for every image I have but when it does work it looks really nice and adds a high quality film like look to your iPhone images. A nice benefit of this over other like minded apps is this has more of a variety of possibilities when it comes to the end result. I would love to see that expanded even further in the future. Here are some examples below.






So I may make more of a habit of this in the future, talking about new, interesting iPhone or iPad apps here. I have officially added a tech category here partially in preparation for the incoming update to the site when a few other new categories will make an appearance as well. So let me know your thoughts on posts like these should you have an opinion on the matter and we will see how things process from here.


  1. john - September 10, 2010 at 5:31 am

    Isn’t it crazy that the top screenshot there was lifted straight from an iPhone4? Nearly fills the 700 pixel width of my normal content space but all those pixels are crammed into that little screen. Just amazing.

  2. Mel - September 10, 2010 at 5:40 am

    A few years ago I was amazed by sound modelling and how computers could replicate say the sound of Marshall 100w stack with a ton of reverb, I am now amazed how cameras and film are accurate modelled. Crazy brilliant stuff

  3. Tim - September 10, 2010 at 8:29 am

    Great article! Great apps!

    Have you played around with “CineCrop” at all?

  4. Jorge Quinteros - September 10, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    I’ve actually played around with all of the apps you’ve listed but the excitement in using them only lasted about a week. I particularly enjoy using Camera+ because it combines the elements of all of those into on beautiful crafted app. What would make it even greater would be if they incorporated the ability to create panoramas.

  5. john - September 10, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    I enjoy Camera+ as well and used it for a little while but every effect is so grossly exaggerated that I couldn’t really get the modest results with it that I look for. I get what they were going for and how they got some sexy young woman photographer to help sell the finer points was an interesting approach but overall I felt they were overdoing it in many regards. I don’t feel the need for one application to do every single thing there is to do with a photo. I don’t mind going to a different app that specializes in one area rather than one app that tries to do everything there is to do.

    The nicest thing about camera+ is the fact that there is a simple grid and the really clever use of two touches to set focus versus exposure which I discovered I didn’t end up using as much as I thought I might. The secret function of using the volume button is really nice too but I understand that is why the app is not available to purchase at the moment because that broke apples rules. The grid and two touch expose/focus should and could easily be added into apples default photo taking but we all know the likelihood of that happening is next to zero (but strangely they did add HDR).

    I guess when it comes down to it I am fairly underwhelmed by interface design for most photo apps. They either try to be cute and mimic other physical cameras or simply lack a user interface all together. I feel that a well considered design that was forward thinking, minimal, and designed to put the touch interface to good use would be ideal in a photo app. An object like the iPhone is an evolution of tech and should be treated as such.

    So for now, I just bite my tongue and use what I have available to me and I am happy with that. :) It is the end result that matters after all and I certainly don’t judge anyone for enjoying what is available already!

    I just can’t wait until a grand new trend in photo app design takes place and we start seeing some compelling new app design ideas surface. Our collective short attention spans don’t help much either haha, who knows where our thoughts will lay a year from now.

    These are just my crazy opinions on the matter I suppose :)

  6. john - September 10, 2010 at 2:55 pm

    Tim, I have not used Cine Crop nope! But I will certainly have a look!

  7. Lauren - September 10, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Thanks for the recommendation, I love the result of those – awesome!

  8. Felice - September 10, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    Wow! Amazing man! Nice work!!

  9. Chris - September 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    I love posts like these. Your usual pictures with fancy cameras are great but I know that I am such an amateur that I will never be as good as you. But your stuff on the iPhone tells me that it is not as much about the gear as it is about the gift, the eye, the love (and other cheesy metaphors). Your iPhone and related posts turn me from consumer to explorer. Thanks.

  10. Carlos Cabezas - September 11, 2010 at 2:19 am

    That’s Amazing..iphone Amazing little wonder…. what will come from apple 5 years from now>?

  11. seo optimierung - September 11, 2010 at 10:42 am

    brilliant information, i wish every blogger would pay such attention to their post as you do, keep posting

  12. Casey - September 16, 2010 at 4:27 pm

    Hey John, glad you liked the apps! I’ve since found a new one that is purely Korean and is actually a pretty severe CPU hog and drains the battery insanely fast… but I put up with it because the effects are pretty awesome and the interface is slick. It’s called Pudding Camera.

    I’m also into PictureShow, which is a lot like Plastic Bullet, but gives you a lot more control. The interface is a little clunkier than I’d like, but it’s worth it.

    I’m really enjoying these new iPhone camera experiments of yours. Keep up the great blog!

    ~ Casey

  13. iPhone photos with CrossProcess - Solefield - September 21, 2010 at 4:34 am

    […] app, iphone photo apps, iphone photography[ × ]Inspired by FiftyFootShadows’ post on camera apps, I decided to try out CrossProcess for the iPhone. I’m always turning to my […]

  14. john - September 29, 2010 at 3:28 pm

    Casey, thanks for sharing more! I will certainly check them out. I only wish I had more time to try out more of them!

  15. Billy J Lands - October 21, 2010 at 4:34 am

    the apps you used can be replaced by the photoshop app and has the ability to upload and share the images after editing.

  16. hamil sehat - October 11, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Kiriman yang amat bagus , kami percaya ini sangat bermanfaat buat mereka yang
    membaca, saya nantikan postingan selanjutnya, terutama mereka yang sedang mencari obat encok dan mereka yang sedang mencari cara cepat hamil alami

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