From finger paints as a child to in-depth acrylic paintings, complex self-portraits, graphite drawings and black and white photography as an adult, I have always loved and embraced art.
And although the days of digital overload and living in a selfie-saturated society can take away from the affection of old-school methods, like developing your own photography in a dark room, there are ways to tap into your creativity using digital images and apps — essentially making you a modern-day digital Picasso in your own right.
After discovering other picture-to-painting related apps, such as Waterlogue and Glaze, I was further intrigued to see what else was on the market and explore the possibilities with Brushstroke, which recently hit the market on March 4.
From the team behind Toon Camera, Brushstroke by Code Organa ($2.99, 2.5.1 MB) “transforms your album photos and snaps into beautiful paintings in one touch.” It allows you to adjust your color scheme, paint type, your brush style and brush stroke, saturation, temperature, contrast, and brightness, among other innovative tools. There’s a lot of variety with 100 choices spanning 18 categories.
Brushstroke teamed up with CanvasPop, who can turn your image into an actual canvas where you can choose a size and frame and have your masterpiece delivered right to your doorstep — for as little as $55. You can also share your work on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
“We wanted to create an app that was accessible to everyone,” Mike Wright, founding partner at Code Organa, told the Latin Post. “We wanted anyone to be able to pick up the app and create something artistic, easily. We’ve had a lot of interest from photographers, artists, and even interior designers, but the majority of our users are just normal people who want to create something more from their photos.”
What are some of the best components of the Brushstroke app?
“One of the major things, which stands out for me, is that we wanted to create a mobile photography app that took ‘paintings,’ not photos, so to speak. To do that, we needed to build the technology and partner with a company that could provide high quality prints of the work created with the app,” Wright added.
“We wanted to integrate that experience directly into the app’s workflow. When you see the image hanging in a frame on the share screen, you’re seeing what the actual printed painting will look like hanging on your wall. You can choose a frame and a size, and you can have your artwork delivered and hanging on your physical wall in a few days.”
How does Brushstroke whet artists’ palette?
“Also, from the painting styles to the palettes, we’re using some unique algorithms and techniques that haven’t been done before in this context,” Wright added. “For instance, while we offer a section of more typical color filters, if you explore more deeply, you’ll see that some of the palette selections work with special recoloring algorithms that emulate using a real limited color palette, like in a painting. Some of the palette schemes and styles have been inspired by famous artwork, and there is more to come. Whenever you load a new image or choose a new color palette, we are analyzing the color properties of the image in realtime to provide the best rendering.
“We also use special algorithms to allow for ‘sparse’ painting of the image in certain styles. This is where the canvas functionality really shows best — you can pick a canvas or surface, and choose a sparse painting style (typically towards the end of each section, M5, H4, S7, and A5 styles for example), to paint on various surfaces. But even on the non-sparse paint styles, we’re using 3D height maps and lighting for the canvas surfaces to make them as realistic as possible. Paint will actually absorb more deeply into divots in a particular canvas, and different painting styles have different properties. For instance, the ‘Washed’ styles emulate watercolor-like paint properties on the surface, while other styles might emulate a palette knife or oil properties more.”
Another interesting component of the Brushstroke app is the ability to personalize it with your own signature.
“We wanted to allow our users to personalize their paintings by signing them — you can then move, scale, and rotate your signature, and select a signature color from a palette of colors we build from the image in realtime,” Wright said.
(*According to the folks at Brushstroke, the app is best shown on an iPad, but the company plans on continuing to enhance the smaller screen experience as well.)
So what do customers think about it? Check out two opinions from both sides of the table.
- “Excellent! I’ve been suckered into buying other apps that claimed to do a similar thing and been let down every time, until now. I heard about this app on the iPad Today podcast the other day and saw a pic the host Tweeted that he had created with Brushstroke. Based on that I decided to give it a try. Glad I did. It’s got some great functionality and everything is fine-tuneable with simple swipe gestures. The output is gorgeous. I’ve done three compositions so far and all have been spectacular. for best results, though, a retina iPad is a big help.” — by j_benj
- “Downloaded this app and I am really shocked at how much battery it takes to process images. I worked on my 5S with an image for 5-10 minutes checking out the features and went from 92% to 75% just during that short time…” — luna noir
- According to Wright, “the battery drain is something we (at Code Organa) have been investigating; it appears to only occur very rarely, so most users will never experience the issue (we’ve only received two reports out of all the users we currently have). However rare the issue is, we are investigating and hope to correct any issues related to this in a free update in the near future. We also have a lot of improvements in the works in general, all of which will be available as free updates to our users going forward.”