Apps that add art filters to your smartphone photos are nothing new, but recent release Prisma has made us sit up and take notice.
To find out why, read our overview of the free iOS app here. Simply put, its filters are by far the best we’ve seen – they actually look like real paintings or drawings, rather than just a passable digital approximation.
But there’s more to making a great Prisma picture than simply jumping in and slapping the first filter you come across on a snap. Having used it for a few days, here are our tips for ending up with a gallery-worthy masterpiece, rather than something better suited to your local charity shop's bargain bucket.
1) Ditch the watermark
By default, Prisma puts a small logo watermark in the bottom-right corner of all your completed artworks. While it’s fairly tasteful, as logos go, it’s also an unnecessary distraction from your lovely image. Let’s kick it to the kerb.
So before you start taking any photos, open up Prisma’s settings menu by tapping the gear icon, and tap the “Enable Watermarks” slider to the off position. While you’re here, you may want to turn on the slider by “Save Artworks Automatically”, as this will mean you don’t have to store each individual image you create separately.
2) Use your favourite photos
Prisma has a camera function built in, but it’s basic in the extreme – there’s no HDR, no manual controls, and all you can really do is turn the flash on or off. Luckily, as with most filter apps you’re able to import photos from your iPhone or iPad’s photo gallery, so it’s well worth diving in and seeing what Prisma can do with some of your favourite old snaps.
NB: Prisma only works with square format images, so anything in a portrait or landscape format will have to be cropped after import.
3) Don’t use Prisma to take your base shots
We know it’s a bit of a kerfuffle, but when you’re taking new shots to use as the basis for Prisma artworks, we suggest you use either the default iPhone camera or a third-party camera app. VSCO, for example, give you far more control over how your base image turns out than Prisma’s camera – you can set different points for focus and exposure, and manually tweak lots of other settings. Just make sure to save the photos to your camera roll so you can import them into Prisma afterwards.
Taking things a step further, you don’t even need to take photos on your phone at all. If you don’t mind the added bother, feel free to take them with a “real” camera, then move them onto your iPhone or iPad’s camera roll later.