We are all feeling the financial pinch! Blue Plate Special is a weekly review of bargain apps for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Nothing over $.99.
The iPhone 4 has a really good camera and it shoots HD video. I have come to be pretty dependent on the phone as a camera device as well as my only video device. I have collected quite an array of camera and video apps. In fact, I have started my third folder full of photography apps. One problem with these apps is that they rarely qualify in price for the Blue Plate Special. I recently came across ToonCamera which happens to be a simple, yet fun app for both video and photos. Let’s take a look.
ToonCamera is exactly what the name suggests. The app takes your device’s camera and turns the image into a cartoon. The magic comes from a technique called, Rotoscoping which is takes live action video and traces over it to create cool artistic effects. Cartoon, sketch and stipple effects are available via the rotoscoping technology. One of my favorite features of the app is the fact that the camera will show the chosen effect live, so the user knows exactly what the image or video will look like. Make all of your necessary adjustments before the video or photo is taken.
The opens quickly and instantly shows the camera view in live cartoon mode. To change settings, simply tap the screen. A few options will appear at the bottom of the screen. The menu will orientate itself regardless of portrait or landscape for ease of use. You will see five menu items plus a circular arrow. This is the complete controls for the application. We all know some photo and video applications contain difficult and detailed menus that are often difficult to adjust. The paint brush option will change the effect between cartoon, sketch and stipple. The wavy lines will change the lines between thick, thin and solid. The middle button indicates the current input mode. For photos the image is a DSLR camera. To take a photo, tap the camera and you will be prompted to save or cancel. For videos, the option looks like a small video camera. Tap the camera to record and stop the videos. To apply effects to photos from the photo album tap the icon that looks like a album page with pictures. Any of the effects can be added to previously taken photos but not video. Video must be shot live. To change the input mode, tap the circular arrow above the center icon button. The third button looks like a lightbulb and toggles the on board flash of the iPhone 4, while the final button looks like a cartoon head and will switch between the front and rear facing cameras. It was a nice touch including these newer features natively in the app. Share the photos and videos via text, email, Twitter or Facebook easily.
The quality of the effects in ToonCamera are excellent. I like all three of the options, but prefer the line width that leaves the image looking closer to realistic. As you can see in my sample, video effects can be changed on the fly and will be applied to the final product. And yes…it is in the upper 70s and my kids are jumping on the trampoline in late December. The app is going for $.99 right now here in the app store.
What I like: Excellent effect quality and easy to use controls.
What could be improved: The only thing I can think is to have added effects.