In Praise Of Editing Apps

So tonight I was fiddling around with various editing apps, as I often do when I’m having trouble getting to sleep, and I ended up making an image I’m rather pleased with:


I thought I’d share how I created this image, in case anyone out there is interested in learning about some new free apps and/or new techniques to try.

So first I started with this photo:


Yup, just a random snapshot of an oil slick in a wet parking lot.

Step 1: I loaded the image into Snapseed. This is my usual go-to app for basic photo editing. It has some nice filters and tools and it’s fairly user-friendly if you’re new to editing apps.

For starters I only adjusted the contrast and saturation to make the colors pop a bit more:


Step 2: I uploaded the new image into PicsArt. This app kind of wants to be a mini-photoshop, but I’m not terribly wowed by it. Don’t get me wrong, it has a lot of tools that some people absolutely love and are quite handy, there just aren’t a lot of tools that do anything I’d ever want. But hey, I’ve uploaded apps before just to use one filter or effect, nothing wrong with that.

So anyway, I went to the “Distort” menu and used “Twirl” to turn the image into a spiral:


I used the Twirl tool three separate times until I got just the right amount of spiral (when you’re using the tool there’s a little gear icon you can poke, and that’ll show you the settings that adjust how the tool works)

Step 3: I went to one of the other filter menus in PicsArt, the “Lens Flare” menu. This is what I used to add the look of bright stars to the spiral (If you couldn’t tell by now, I was make a galaxy). When I was relatively happy with it, this is the image I had:


Step 4: Because I just wasn’t ready to quit playing yet (it’s a compulsion I’ve had since childhood: Obsessive Arting) I took a copy of the starry galaxy and loaded it into the Dreamscope app.

First I used the filter “Angel Hair” and wound up with this:


Step 5: I then ran the image through a filter (We’re still in the Dreamscope app) called Waves of Matsushima”. It’s a very effect-heavy filter that will add patterns of trees into the image, distort the fine details, and change the colors to mostly soft greens and beiges, but how your image ends up and how drastic the filter looks will totally depend on the image you started with. Here’s what I got:


Step 6: I wasn’t quite happy with the colors and all that beige blandness, so it took it back over to Snapseed and tinkered with the hue (The tool “Image Adjust) has a “warmth” setting that you can use to make the image cooler or warmer) and contrast a bit until I was happy.

And there you have it. From this…..


… this is in 6 weirdly random steps 🙂



The Beauty Of Bones

I’ve always been fascinated by bones. They are truly works of biological sculpture. The strength and fragility, the shapes and structures, foramenae and fossa, sutures and epiphyses, I love them all.

I got rear-ended in traffic the other day and am stuck at home with a very painful injured neck, so playing with photos of the deer skull I just finished cleaning has been a welcome distraction. Enjoy!