Wednesday, December 14, 2011

iOS 5: Removal of (next/last) Arrows in

I've been meaning to rant about this ;) and a mashable article induced a comment from me. As such:

Holy smoke! As an artist/photographer, the loss of the little next/last arrows in  (with iOS 5) has caused me *no* end of grief.

When I edit images I do all kinds of subtle color and value tweaks, so my Camera Roll has dozens and dozens and dozens of  s l i g h t l y  different versions of the same image. The only way to accurately compare and judge the differences is by a/b'ing them...with those arrows. Swiping is utterly useless for that. I have tried--repeatedly--and just can't fathom why Apple's removal of the arrows somehow constitutes an improvement/streamlining/savings.      

I use two apps as workarounds, but both have their shortcomings: Yi Zhu's "Ultimate (Photo) Albums" has the bleeding arrows (woo-hoo!), yet takes awhile updating new additions to the Camera Roll since you have to return to the main menu, and any screen grabs taken within it (to, say, compare non-adjacent images) require a re-start of the app. Linkus' "Photo Manager Pro" sports the arrows and full EXIF data...but requires manual image  importing. Of course, neither app can delete photos due to Apple's iOS strictures.   

So...all that hassle, for what? I have no idea. Apple's ease of use and simplicity policy is all fine and dandy--until it becomes needless dumbing-down. Maybe Apple never heard that a whole new genre was created based on their product: iPhoneography. :|

Link: article: "15+ Improvements iOS 5 Brings to Your iPhone 4 Camera"

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hipstamatic: How to Avoid Crashes

In general, Hipsta is pretty stable. Does it crash once in a while? Yup. So does every single app on my iPhone, on occasion. are some things I've noticed:

• NEVER, EVER go into "Recent Prints" in Hipsta when there are images in your processing queue (the little number in the yellow box on the lower left side of the camera back). Doing so invites an almost 100% sure crash. When it takes a dirt nap, it takes your unprocessed queue with it, so...goodbye images. If you have to see what's coming out--do it in your main "Camera Roll".

• Try to let the films, lenses, and flashes appear and/or make clicks as you thumb through them. I can't say I always do that, but it has hung on me several times when I was too fast.

• Deleting multiple images from your "Recent Prints" does work...but it's  s  l  o  w.  Once you've confirmed the delete, let it finish; if you minimize-exit out of Hipsta and come back, you'll see the "Wiping Lens" message, which means it just booted fresh off a Death. 25 deletes takes awhile, and I recently nixed upwards of 400, which took over 5 min. Be patient.

• Once I had Hipsta completely lock up me, and nothing I did made it work until...I deleted the app and re-installed it. Worked perfectly, and never happened again. If you have to do this, you can re-download all your "Mine"Hipstapaks free of charge. You'll be rolling again.

(p.s. FWIW: I'm not getting into the whole business of family albums and sharing, as its initial wackiness and horrific architecture/user process has turned me off til I get the urge to go through it all...calmly.)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Hipstamatic: Film & Lens Combinations; Isolated Frames & Overlays (with Dark & Light “Scene” Examples)

If you're anything like I am, you want to know what Hipsta's doing to your photographs. So, I decided to see, firsthand, what the Overlays and Frames are in relative isolation.

I read a lot of Hipstamatic reviews on the iTunes store, and a good number of people seem to utterly confused as to what Hipstamatic does and how it does it. Experimentation is the only solid, real cure for that...but maybe this set of examples will help.  And yeah, this took forever to do--and I'm simply giving it away. ;)

You'll see these test images are, again, fully iterated (all Film & Lens combinations) I did each of those as Dark and Light. The darks are with a finger over the iPhone's lens, and the lights were shots of white paper under a lamp. (Since the light versions weren't self-contained, you'll have to mentally remove the paper grain and somewhat uneven light...but, hey--you'll live.)


•  Notice how Hipsta programmatically rotates and flips many of the borders and overlays.

• You can see why BlacKeys Ultrachrome b+w photographs have such beautiful, subtle tints--based on lens selection.

• I still hate Pistil, and never use it. Lame border and useless, white-line "light leak".

• My final jpeg-crunching introduced some lossy noise, but it should still be apparent that a (comparitively small) number of the overlays contain some nasty posterization, which is apparent in final photographs--especially if you take them onto a big monitor to Photoshop them. Synthetic Corp really needs to clean up the offending overlays; that kind of mojo-adding is ugly, "Atari 2600" and not "vintage" or "good looking at all".  Some of it gets obscured by the particular lights/darks it's asked to modify, but I've spent a fair amount of time editing it out of my photographs. Since there are some really nice, smooth fades in most of the overlays (vignettes, leaks, etc) it's not a compression, file size or anti-aliasing issue, on the develpoment end.

• Isolated frames are helpful as masks in Photoshop: this whole project grew out of my need to remove the "peel gunk" from the frames of photographs taken with BlacKeys Ultrachrome b+w. While I love that film (love, love, love), its border is way too "Hipstamatic-y" and static. Having that in isolation really helps in masking and rebuilding edges.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

That Damn Image "Quality" Switch/Bad Information Architecture: Learn From My Mistake!

Over the past week, I used Hipstamatic as often as usual--taking hundreds of photographs. Every time I switched a lens, I was left with a funny feeling... forward to Friday night when I was going through them in Adobe Bridge: hundreds of 1200x1200 images!

Yep, I accidentally flipped that Damn Image "Quality" Switch down. I always, always shoot at 1900x1900.

I tracked it down to the exact moment I'd done it. Naturally, it was while thumbing through the lenses--something I do (mostly) without looking, and/or by listening to the clicks and counting. It's a real shame, since there were a lot of stunners in that week...all medium-size.

That funny feeling I had was me seeing that switch (newly and incorrectly) in the middle position and subconsciously grating against it . But, since I hadn't purposely reset it, I wasn't consciously aware of it.

My fault? Certainly.

But it's also a case of poor Information Architecture by Synthetic Corp--and not just because the switch is so easy to inadvertantly flip during lens changing. The additional sin is conceptual: it's a preference (image output viewfinder style, shake on or off, etc), and not a feature (lens, film, flash). It belongs on the Hipstamatic Settings screen under the iPhone's Settings. Period.



Hipstamatic 211: BlacKeys b+w Film, 13 Lens Combinations; Night, 1 Light, Fine Detail...Moth & Screen

This is one of my absolutely favorite films. As such, I wanted to see how it captured detail and
where its vignetting and light translations put “focal interest” in a high-contrast, yet very dark

Single 40-watt (incandescent) bulb, at night. BlacKeys Ultrachrome b+w film, iterated
 with all 13 Lenses (as of Aug 2011). Shows how lenses affect this film’s value structure, overall
 color-cast, artifacting, and detail. (Minor focus-blur issues are accidental; I learned that even
 after not moving the iPhone, it pays to take a sec to let the camera solidly re-focus!)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Hipstamatic Test: Low-Contrast Subject in High-Contrast Scene


This is pretty self-explanatory, but it's also good reference for ALL Hipsta Lens/Film iterations and combos (as of 12 August, 2011).

Monday, July 25, 2011

Just Started A New Photography Site...

Since I do so much photography (on top of painting and drawing, which can be seen at, I needed to create a dedicated site for it.

Two cool galleries up (at the moment...WAY more to come!), and they're both Hipstamatic/Photoshop.

I'll be building it, in real-time, over the next several weeks...but it's live, so keep checking back on it!


Thursday, July 7, 2011

HipstaTest: BLANKO film; showing baseline color & artefacts of Lenses

This is a simple illustration of how various lenses affect a film. I used BLANKO as a baseline film since it gives you a good, general idea that you can mentally apply to other films.

(Needless to say...this was prior to the release of the latest lenses (Hornbecker, Libatique, and Matty.)

HipstaTest; Lens Comparison: Hornbecker vs. John S

Hi, all!

I just wanted to get posting, so this is in no particular order. More, basic comparisons will follow, but here's a look at the (relatively) new Hornbecker Lens. To expedite things, I compared it with the John S lens, which is a fairly baseline lens for HM (Hipstamatic, from here on in).

(Note: I forgot to shoot the Kodot X-Grizzled with the John S--sorry.)