Thanks to the likes of Hipstamatic and Instagram (and scores of other apps), we’ve come to love a good filter-effect applied to our smartphone images. Trouble is, dare we say it, they’ve all become a bit samey and boring.
The new Prisma app looks set re-kindle our love affair with photo filters, with a host of clever effects that push treated images beyond simple colour shifts and vignettes, creating striking artistic imagery that looks like it’s been penned by a talented graphic artist or painter.
The iOS version of the app has been available now for a few weeks and with the launch of an Android version coming soon, let’s take a look at how you get started and how it works.
How to download Prisma
It couldn’t be simpler to get started – go to the App store on your iOS device, search ‘Prisma’ and select Prisma – Art Photo Editor with Free Picture Effects… The good news is that the app is completely free, so hit Get and download.
The Prisma app isn’t out just yet, so you’ll need to hang tight, but once it does launch, you’ll be able to find it on the Google Play Store.
Be careful, as there are a number of apps on the Play Store that claim to be Prisma, even though it hasn’t officially launched. Only download the app by Prisma labs, inc.
With the Prisma app downloaded, find it on your home screen and launch. On the home screen, you’ve got the choice of using your smartphone’s camera via the Prisma app or selecting images from your camera roll – as the Prisma app crops images square when capturing, we’d suggest shooting images before opening the app and then taking them from your camera roll to give you that bit more flexibility when it comes to cropping your images.
To select images from your camera roll, you’ll see the last image you took in the bottom right of the screen. Tap on it and you’ll be asked to allow the Prisma app to access your photos – hit ‘Allow’ and you’ll then be able to scroll through your images to select which one you want to apply the filter to.
Once you’ve selected an image, you can then adjust the crop of it – as you’re cropping to a square format, make sure you’re not cutting off anything at the edges that you want included. You can also rotate the image 90 degrees as well if you wish. Once you’re happy, hit Next and the real fun can begin.
Applying filters couldn’t be easier – all you have to do is scroll through the filters until one catches your eye. Select it, and the Prisma app will work its magic on your shot – we tried it out on an iPhone 6 and though it takes a couple of seconds to process, we don’t think that’s too bad considering the work being carried out on the photo.
If you think the effect is too strong, it’s easy to tone it down – just swipe left to reduce the strength until you’re happy with the look.
Once you’ve settled on a style, you can then share it on Instagram or Facebook (there are dedicated options), save to your camera roll (it’s default is to save an alternate version and not over the original), or share it elsewhere.
Things to think about
The app has a couple of settings (found on the homepage), but the only one you might want to change is the option to include a watermark – it has a default to have a little Prisma logo on the bottom right which you might not want on your shots, so deselect that.
Other than that, you’ll find some images work better than others – try and use images with strong shapes and colour and avoid images that are too cluttered for best results, but other than that, have fun!