Watercolor Fun

Nothing serious, just a fun iPad app for a Sunday.

The many filter apps that process photos to create various effects have become ubiquitous. Old film effects, sepia, Polaroid, old time movie, painting, etc., etc., etc. There is a filter for everything. Some of these have often been accused of existing solely to make bad photos somehow cool. An accusation that probably has more than a bit of truth behind it.


The fishing boat Roedda departs the packing plant dock in Petersburg

Every now and then a filter app seems to rise just a bit above. Waterlogue is a filter that creates a watercolor style painting from a photograph. The app is available for iOS devices and can run both on the pads and phones.

The painting process uses an edge detection filter first, extracting the structure of the photos. Each of the various presets has dramatically different settings for this edge detection. The app then paints in the selected colors to fill in the painting. The process is animated, watching this can be rather fun.

I would love to have more manual control over the results. A few settings to increase or decrease the sensitivity of the edge detection would allow a lot of control over the final look. An option to stop the process at the edge detection and not fill in the color would also be great, allowing creation of line drawings.

Shutting off the animation of the painting would also be nice. When trying a number of variations the wait gets to be annoying. At some point you would just like to see the results as fast as possible. The developers promise some improvements in their FAQ, I hope these appear soon!

I compared the results to the watercolor artistic effect in Photoshop CS5. In my opinion Waterlogue does a better job. The result is notably more like a hand painted watercolor, the edge detection used to create the structure is better, the selection and use of colors is much better.

One thing about Waterlogue, a bad photo usually produces a bad painting. This is not a filter to be used to dress up bad photography. It is decent photos that end up allowing the best results. Not all good photos are appropriate either. Bold, simple scenes work better than crowded or busy photos. A little experimentation will quickly show you what works, and what does not.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

About Andrew Cooper

An electrical engineer living and working on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i. Webmaster for the NordicQuest.com website. Sometimes the first mate/deckhand/launch driver/anchor detail/cook/dishwasher and mechanic aboard the Nordic Quest.
This entry was posted in Photography and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.