AMITIAE - Sunday 4 March 2012

Deceptively Simple Photography app for iOS Devices: Image Blender

apple and chopsticks


By Graham K. Rogers

Image Blender

I have a large collection of apps for photography and other image creation. I am often surprised and pleased with the range of effects that these apps allow with digital photography. When I think back to the time when all photographs were taken using film, any image manipulation required a combination of art and science that is beyond many these days.

To change the final output of his photographs, for example, Ansell Adams would vary the light passing through the different sections of a negative onto the photographic paper behind. Photographers working later with color might vary the chemicals in the developing process to produce a different effect.

We are spared all that. While we have gained much with the advent of digital manipulation of images, we have lost the understanding of why such changes occur. As an example of the ease, earlier today a friend picked up my iPad and just chose an app at random, took a photograph with an antique effect and loaded it up to his Facebook page, all in a matter of a few seconds.

It is this ease of use that is so useful for new photographers (as well as some of us not so new) and all that semi-scientific terminology that was more the elitism of the snobbish amateur than the true professional, is all out of the window. See what you like, take a picture, play about with the content when you like.

Image Blender

This ease of use was brought home to me in a second way this evening with a nice little app called Image Blender ($1.99). It has a single, simple purpose: to blend two images. The clear way in which this works had me producing output within a few seconds after starting the app.

image blender image blender

The screen that appears when the app is first opened, is grey. At the top of the screen are two buttons: Blend and Save. These are used after the images are adjusted.

At the bottom of the screen is a slider. When first opened, this was centred. To the left and right of the slider are two small squares. When either was tapped, these allowed access either to the camera or the Library. Once two images were selected using these selector squares, using the slider I was able to adjust the transparency of each from 0 to 100% allowing me to decide on the best composition for foreground and background.

Image Blender output exported to Halftone

At this stage, I could simply press Save. A panel appeared with two options: Camera Roll and Other Apps. When I selected this, icons for three other apps were shown and I was then able to work in that second app. Returning to Image Blender I found the project was still intact.

image blender image blender

The Blend button added a new sophistication to the output with a selection of 18 blending mode options, such as Luminosity, Color Dodge and Color Burn. These options gave this a little bit more than the usual photography app.

image blender

The output of my first test image was a slightly disappointing 480 x 360 (70KB). When the same image was sent to Halftone for additional processing, that gave me a slightly larger output. A closer read of the information told me that the app outputs an image with the same resolution as the background image. A subsequent test using photographs I took with the iPhone camera -- two images each of 2448 x 3264 (1.46MB) -- gave me a blended image of the same: 1.46MB. Exported as a TIFF image that produced a picture some 34" x 45" (47.9MB), albeit a little grainy. GPS data in the original images was not preserved.

On the iPad the app was optimised for the device so there was a useful large screen to work with. As well as the Camera and Library as sources, the iPad also allowed me to access the Pasteboard. There were the same 18 effects as in the iPhone installation. While I normally prefer working with photography apps on the smaller device, the screen size here was useful when I brought in images from the Photo Album library. This could be useful if I were working outside using my DSLR and the camera connection kit.


Simplicity is sometimes deceptive. Image Blender has a straightforward way of working with some added tricks that can produce some nicely sophisticated images. These may work well with a Facebook page, but there is a lot more that can be done with such unusual and pleasing output.

Graham K. Rogers teaches at the Faculty of Engineering, Mahidol University in Thailand. He wrote in the Bangkok Post, Database supplement on IT subjects. For the last seven years of Database he wrote a column on Apple and Macs.



Made on Mac

For further information, e-mail to

information Tag information Tag

Back to eXtensions
Back to Home Page