This morning, I woke up, had my usual two huge cups of milky coffee and had a quick look on Facebook.
Scroll, scroll, scroll… Oh, look at that! A pretty fine painted portrait of my friend. Dude, did you commission someone to paint a picture of you so you could post it on social media? Hmm ok, guess that’s cool.
Scroll, scroll… Heyyy, another one. In the exact same style. What is going on? “Prisma photo app”, it says. Oh, man, I gotta try this.
A quick Google search and I had my answer: there’s a new app out and it’s called Prisma – Art Filters and Photo Effects for Images, Picture Editor for Instagram and seems to be created by people behind something called “Prisma labs, inc.”
Cool beans. Let’s see how it works.
I opened my app store immediately and searched for Prisma and prepared to pay at least a couple of dollars for it but was surprised to find out that the download is free. Unexpected! But cool.
Next, I wondered how many filters it might possibly have. Five or six maybe, and half of them rubbish, I assumed.
Wrong again. Prisma offers altogether a staggering amount of 34 different filters. Some of them aren’t the greatest and just make the photo look like one of those old timey Photoshop filters do, but many are just surprisingly good.
My first reaction was a surprisingly sad one: “oh god, in the future no-one will need me to paint portraits of them.” I mean, some of these Prisma effects really look like genuinen handmade drawings or paintings. Of course, you’ll need a good quality photo for it to really work nicely, but everyone and their cousin already have good cameras in their phones, so that shouldn’t be a problem.
(At this point I need to apologize for making you guys look at my face for so many times. Maybe we should look at something else for a change.)
The filters have fun names and obvious references and nods to artists and pop culture icons. There’s even a filter called Heisenberg!!! I may or may not have let out a little fangirly squeal when I saw it.
The app itself is really easy to use. Just pick the photo, then the filter, post it on social media or save onto your phone. Simple, efficient, surprisingly entertaining.
The Prisma photo app is only available for iOS at the moment, but I suspect we’ll still get a flood of artsy selfies and other pieces of art in all of our social media feeds — a quick look at #prisma on Instagram already reveals people having fun with it.
Here’s a few more examples of the Prisma effect. Nice, eh?
Ok, a few more for the road. I tested the effects on a couple of travel photos (from Northern Ireland and Italy), plus on my dog Einari and a rescue cat I photographer long ago.