Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Goodies

We were invited for Easter dinner and though there was going to be a little egg hunt, I wanted to bring some candy-light goodies for the kids.  Hopefully fake moustaches, fortune-telling pens, and mood rings say Happy Easter!  Put them in a zip-lock bag with a couple of Easter candies:

Stapled a decorative banner, including a cute stamped sticker to cover the staples:

Also included these Easter-themed bubbles:

Put it together in a bag to deliver Easter fun!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Pixlr-o-matic App

This is one of my favorite photo apps for adding cool drama to photos: Pixlr-o-Matic by Pixlr.  I currently use the free version, but you can upgrade to Pixlr-o-Matic Plus for 99 cents either in-app or as an app purchase in the iTunes store.  I will say that I'm pretty satisfied with the 25 films/filters, 30 light/textures, and 30 frames available for free, but it does appear you get a TON more for a mere 99 cents more.

Anyhoo, I start with an adorable original:

I scan through the various films/filters.  I LOVE how it does live preview with your pic so you get a pretty good idea from the thumbnail before applying the effect.  This is one of the key reasons it makes it to the top of my faves.

Then I scroll through various light/textures.  No live previews here, which is unfortunate because I didn't quite have the seasoned eye to imagine that the result of the "Devine" effect would look like this (which I liked and felt like a happy accident--looks like sunshine!) from its thumbnail:

Then I check out various frames. Again no live previews, but with frames, which doesn't really affect the photo in an overlay way, it's not really a big deal for me:

And ta-da!

(FYI, I used the free Phonto app to write on this pic)

Every once in a while I like to hit the "shuffle" button on top right. It's great when I'm looking for ideas because it will randomly apply a film, light, and frame to the pic that I wouldn't usually consider putting together:

Sure, there are few things I "wish" this app had:

- Basic photo editor: besides the crop button (that will crop it to a square only), I'd love for this app to have some basic photo editing abilities (more crop options, exposure adjustment, etc.).  I pretty much need to start with a decently exposed/composed pic or one that has been adjusted in another app first (like PS Express).
- Adjustable effects: depending on the photo, sometimes I'd like to adjust the effects to be a bit more subtle--especially some of the light/texture effects or the strength of some of the filter/film effects.
- Layering: I wish I could layer more than film/filter effect or layer more than light/texture effect--obviously this would also be handy with the ability to adjust the effects themselves.

But I would also like to emphasize what I LOVE about this app:

- It's a great value. As a free app, it has an amazing value with the generous offerings of films/filters, light/textures, and frames. And to that end, I have to say that 99 cents seems like a ridiculous bargain for the extensive choices you'd get.
- Great choices. To the end that this is a free app, it's only good a good value if I like offerings and I really like a lot of their films/filters.
- LIVE previews. Some other apps (some which I still like and use) utilize a stock photo with the various filters applied but it's really hard to get an idea of how that filter will look on my photo without seeing it. With live previews, I at least get an idea. Without it, I tend to only try filters that I think would look good because I don't want to spend the time and see what each filter looks like and then I feel I'm limited to my guesses. 

This is a great photo app to make photos more fun, cool, or dramatic.  It's easy to have a lot of fun with this one, especially for a free app!  Anyone who upgraded to Plus have any feedback?

Saturday, March 2, 2013


PicTapGo is one of my new favorite photo apps.  It was created by the folks at Totally Rad who make awesome PhotoShop actions and RadLab. And now it's almost like having Totally Rad on my iPhone--for a $1.99!

What I love is that I can take a cute pic like this:

And see a live preview of the different filters:

So many awesome filters:

And you can adjust the strength of the filter with the slider:

And if you want to compare to the original pic, just hold the left side of the pic:

Also, it's really easy to layer the various filters, you just tap a new filter and adjust the strength of the slider to your preference.  And if you want to see your pic before you applied the current filter, hold down the right side of the pic to see the previous effort:

After applying a combo of filters, you can save "recipes" of it for future photos!  Here's my combo of "Skinny Jeans", "Flare Up", and "EZ-Burn"--I called it "Warm & Brighten".  And bonus, you can share recipes with other PicTapGo users.

Even though PicTapGo doesn't technically have a photo editor, a lot of its filters accomplishes some editing desires (like exposure, saturation, contrast, etc).  For example, this late night pic was fairly underexposed but by selecting various strengths of "Lights On" (raised exposure), "Mama's Tap Shoe's" (gave rich sepia tone), and "E-Z Burn" (subtle vignette), I was able to edit this pic:

Into something that I'd want to share and post:

I named this recipe "Late Night Bar".

My only wish for this app was the ability for some cropping/transforming options (and I will concede it doesn't offer fun frames) but overall, this shortcoming is outweighed by its amazing features:

- LIVE previews (those apps with stock photos with their applied filters just keep me guessing)
- amazing value--anyone drooling to get Totally Rad's RadLab but can't invest in PhotoShop on their computer knows that getting this near-app version is a steal!
- excellent filter choices with simple, easy-to-use interface
- ability to view previous and original pix while editing
- ability to adjust strength of filters
- ability to layer filters
- save and share recipes

Any other PicTapGo folks want to share recipes?