iPad Apps: Best App for Oil Painting Your Photos

Q: I'm an iPad owner that is overwhelmed by the number of applications available. Where should I start if I'm looking for a way to turn my standard photos into something a little more unique?


$4.99 | Version: 1.1 | JixiPix Software

Truth be told, this app should be called "Photoshop Filters: Oil Painting's Greatest Hits." (Filters, in case you're not a member of the image-editing cool club, are ready-made effects that transform pictures.) But you know what? For those of us who aren't graphics gurus and get a kick out of giving our favorite pictures the Monet treatment, this single-purpose specialist is worth a few bucks. True, some of the effects belong in the Chemical Accident category, but overall, the ratio of work required to stunning result achieved is pretty impressive. And it couldn't be easier: start with a photo of your own, pick a style you like, tweak if you like, and presto: you are now an Arista.

STUDIO SETUP: Your order of operations is helpfully laid out in the buttons from left to right. Start Project Picasso in the Get Photo button where you pick the image to transform. Garbage-in, garbage-out holds true, but don't be afraid to pick a fuzzy miss; image composition is more important than sharpness when you're heading for the Land of Impressionism.

FILTER FUN: The Paint Style pop-up menu is where you'll find a catalog of a couple dozen effects, grouped into categories (impressionism, realism, abstract). The icons above the labels give you a rough idea of what you'll end up with. Don't go crazy trying to discern the difference between, say, Impressionism 06 and Impressionism 07; most noticeable are the color tones. If the effect icons looks greenish, then that's what you'll end up with.

TOUCH UPS: The buttons marked Fine-Tune and Artistic Edges do what their names imply. In the first one, your tuning opportunities are greatest with the Tone color box and slider; pick a new shade and you'll see noticeable differences in the filter-painted result. Get edgy in the second pop-up menu by applying an assortment of borders.

BEFORE & AFTER: For maximum wow, hold your finger on the button marked Original; when pressed, it reveals your starting point. Anyone who plans on becoming an Artista regular, should be sure to use the Save Preset option in the Save menu; it captures whatever settings you've applied and lets you reuse it via a newly created entry in the Paint Style gallery.


$3.99 | Version: 1.2.0 | MacPhun

Filter fans with absolutely no interest in tweaking sliders: here's a one-tap way to join the party. This app's kinda like hiring a Photoshop pro to show you 150 or so variations of any photo you feel like messing around with. The names of most effects are fairly descriptive (cool blue, startdust frame), though a few (Amsterdam, Crosspro 3) make the accompanying thumbnail demo an essential visual aid. All you have to do is pick a pic from your photo library and then tap the filter name that you want to apply. A live preview makes auditioning a snap. The dice icon in the upper-right corner lets random walk fans go for a stroll. Overall, the quality's good, though the cheese-o-meter redlines every so often (Teddy Bear, Scary Face 2).

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.

Excerpted from Peter Meyers' Best iPad Apps: The Guide for Discriminating Downloaders. Copyright 2010 O'Reilly Media, Inc. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Read more Atlantic Technology Channel book excerpts.

Presented by

Nicholas Jackson is a former associate editor at The Atlantic.

Saving the Bees

Honeybees contribute more than $15 billion to the U.S. economy. A short documentary considers how desperate beekeepers are trying to keep their hives alive.

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus


How to Cook Spaghetti Squash (and Why)

Cooking for yourself is one of the surest ways to eat well.


Before Tinder, a Tree

Looking for your soulmate? Write a letter to the "Bridegroom's Oak" in Germany.


The Health Benefits of Going Outside

People spend too much time indoors. One solution: ecotherapy.


Where High Tech Meets the 1950s

Why did Green Bank, West Virginia, ban wireless signals? For science.


Yes, Quidditch Is Real

How J.K. Rowling's magical sport spread from Hogwarts to college campuses


Would You Live in a Treehouse?

A treehouse can be an ideal office space, vacation rental, and way of reconnecting with your youth.

More in Technology

Just In