Photo Painting: Waterlogue

Since writing about photo painting apps some time ago—see these posts—I’ve been keeping an eye open for other interesting painting apps. I recently stumbled across Waterlogue. Waterlogue shares some of the DNA of Popsicolor as it’s a collaboration between John Balestrieri, Tinrocket and Robert Clair ChromaticBytes. This is what the authors have to say:

We wanted to come up with an easy and fast way for people to create images based on the kinds of aesthetic decisions an artist makes when he or she is painting.

The technology we developed for Waterlogue transforms your photos into spontaneous, unique, and brilliant watercolor sketches that look like real paintings. Waterlogue distills your environment down to its essence—just the way an artist would—and turns even an on-the-fly snapshot into something luminous and sublime.

We designed Waterlogue to create the most authentic and aesthetically true watercolor interpretations available, and we hope that as soon as you start using the app, you’ll start seeing the world differently.

The interface when you open the app is pretty minimal.

Waterlogue opening screen

Waterlogue opening screen

The screen is empty apart from the icons for the first 10 of the 15 styles of watercolour that can be selected, and the camera and heart icons. Swiping to the right on the setting bar reveals the remaining styles, plus options for format detail (4 levels), lightness (5 levels) and border.

More options

To choose a picture for treatment, touch the camera icon. You can select an image from your device photos, or take a new picture with the camera. Then just pick the treatment settings you like.

Choosing a picture

If you’re checking out the effect of different styles on a particular image, you can make this process quicker by setting format to small. You can work through each style—making sure your preferred choice is selected before moving to the next—Waterlogue will process much quicker. Then once you have selected the final champion, you can compare different levels of detail and lightness. You swipe left and right to switch between the current and previous versions of a picture.

When you’re happy with the picture, touch the heart icon, which will enable you to share your masterpiece (on Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Postcard or by email). You can also save the image to Photos, copy it, or open in another app. Hidden to the far right is a Settings option that allows the choice of format—JPG or PNG— and size on the long side in pixels—1024, 2048, 3072 or original. There is no upsizing.

JPG files are tagged with metadata that describe the Waterlogue settings. Inspecting these data shows that there are, at least, 15 parameters that are being manipulated—presumably by the choice of style—in addition to detail and lightness. I haven’t done an exhaustive investigation, but it seems that there are two or three settings for each of these parameters. This suggests that wide variations are possible in the final watercolour.

The results that Waterlogue produces are pretty impressive. I haven’t yet tried printing, but onscreen I like the pictures I’ve created. Here are a few images that I processed from my albums.

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