AMITIAE - Sunday 4 March 2012
Deceptively Simple Photography app for iOS Devices: Image Blender
By Graham K. Rogers
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 BlenderThis 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.
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
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.
CommentsSimplicity 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.
For further information, e-mail to