So, as my few crossover readers already know, I started a publishing company recently, in furtherance of my self-pub projects. It’s called Crow Girl Publishing. I needed an image to associate with it. Enter: my old friends, the apps that I know and love.
I’ve blogged about Phoster before, of course. Despite its limitations (e.g. text boxes that are limited to a certain size, and the inability to add or remove text boxes), it comes with a nice variety of poster designs that look good and are customizable enough that they look reasonably diverse once you’re done with it.
The other two apps mentioned in the title are new to me.
I started with a photo that I took via another app, actually–my old fave, Hipstamatic (aka “hipstamagic” because it magically makes me better looking than I actually am).
I then pulled it into Snapseed and played with filters and effects. One of the things that sets Snapseed apart from other photo editing apps (many of which have decent filters) is that it is both fantastically customizable and it is very intuitive. An up and down gesture will swap effects, while a side to side gesture on the image will dial the effect up or down, as needed. For many of the filters/effects, there are multiple options (e.g. different textures) at the bottom of the screen that can be swapped out and then dialed up or down, using the side to side gesture. You can then “apply” anything you are happy with–this locks the changes. You can always continue layering filters and effects from there, having locked a given set of effects.
Once I was happy with the image, I moved it into Phoster and added text. This could, of course, have been done in other apps, but if you’re like me and don’t really think like a designer (I never know where to begin, with a blank screen), then Phoster provides some good templates and starting points. I swapped out some fonts, got rid of text boxes (as mentioned, you can’t delete them, so they are still there, but with no text in them) and moved things around until I was happy with the way the fonts interacted with each other on the page. I made a few variations and saved them. They now serve as a set of final products that I will use in multiple contexts, including the header of the Crow Girl Publishing blog.
CODA: as anyone who has read my photo comic apps reviews know, I am also a frustrated artist (frustrated in the sense that I haven’t the skill). So, I wanted to take it a step further. Enter PencilSketch HD.
I am always a little cynical of the “make it look like a drawing or a painting” filters. They often look kind of shite and cheesy (not to put too fine a point on it). But the free sample of this one, with watermark that makes it unusable without the upgrade, was impressive. So, that was my final step. The interface is very very basic (they didn’t waste a lot of time with that). I also could wish that there were options for borders, rather than the ragged, pencil sketch one that it defaults to. But, generally the results are somewhat eye catching.
And voila–with a little bit of playing around, I’ve got a decent looking set of graphics for my pubco website and business cards (I’ve printed half with the pencil sketch and half with the photographic image).
I also used another app, which I’ll talk about some other time, to create additional effects that I will use for generating small, promotional giveaways like bookmarks and the like.