Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Analog: But Does It Play?

For the past few years I have felt some envy of users of the Hipstamatic app for iPhone and similar apps for Android. I don't have an iOS or Android phone; not for lack of want, but I just have not made the jump to a 'smart phone' and think it will be some time before I do.

Although I do shoot film — do some cross processing, utilize Redscale, C-41 B&W and expired films — the idea of playing around with those 'instant vintage' filters just looks like a lot of fun. With the advent of Apple's apps for mac store,  low price apps for workstations/notebooks has come of age. Today I bought the app, 'Analog' [ironically with a copycat 'Leica' logo]; considering the small fortune I have spent over the years for various imaging programs, Analog's price is nominal; $7.99

Reviews for Analog report it to be like Hipstamatic, but one of the first things I noticed is that it does not give the feel for film grain. This is the key to Hipstamatic's success, synthesizing the characteristics of film's chemical anatomy. Although Analog is fun, I don't think it has reached it's potential. The filters are a little too plug and play and do not utilize the potential of the Mac's processing power. Perhaps a grain filter, the ability to add in some random scratches, fades and sun spots all with the ability to vary the depth and location of these effects would be a good addition for the next version; how about layering filters too? Another feature that really seems to be absent within this app is the ability to save the processed image to variety of file types. Analog easily received the .tiff file of this photo [the above piano — originally shot as a RAW file], but does not give the option of outputting the file to it's original resolution and size or any other file size choices. 

Of course, I could do all this in Photoshop and achieve all the effects I have mentioned, but for casual users, all those point and shooters, who won't or can't fork out the cash for a powerhouse program, let alone, spend the time to learn how to use it, a few tweaks need to be made before Analog can truly be compared to Hipstamatic.

Keep playing.

ps. The photograph above was shot with a C-mount cctv 'toy' lens. The characteristics of this lens account for the centered depth of field and vingetting; those effects were not created in Analog nor Photoshop. The effects within this image created with Analog are the light leakage, and frame. Some color fading was achieved with Analog's 'Kyoto' filter, but I felt the color fading went too far and depleted the 'life' of the image. Yes, I played around with the image a little more in Photoshop to add that life back into the image.

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