Don’t expect to find preset filters with clever names when you download the photo editing app infltr. In fact, there is little to guide you in the styling of your photos with this app.
Just let go of what you’ve come to expect from an editing app and touch the picture. A circle appears, changing colors as it transforms the hue in your picture while you move your finger across the image. You may not know where you’re going, but eventually, the picture takes on a look to behold.
The unique color gradient mapping algorithm that has more than 7 million possible filters – 7 million! – sets it apart from its App Store brethren and now those filters can be selected from your Apple Watch.
infltr, as in an infinite number of filters, launched an update in the App Store Thursday that includes the Apple Watch, its digital crown used to travel the various colors that can be applied to a photo.
The developers of the app have been refining its features and slowly growing its user base since its 2015 debut. The color gradient is generated from Sprite Kit, Apple’s gaming technology.
Success has been mixed.
Tech journalists, from Wired to The New York Times, raved about infltr as being fresh and innovative, but among users, enthusiasm was not overwhelming in app reviews. Some really loved infltr while others dismissed it.
I understand this. My first reaction was discomfort because it didn’t look or perform like a Snapseed or VSCO. But always stumbled onto a satisfying result and have come to realize that infltr, more than most photo apps, returns that magical feeling of watching an image appear in a tray of developer under the red light of a darkroom.
Regular updates to infltr have brought new features while remaining true to finger-led color combinations. Last year, infltr added compatibility to iMessage, pulling up the camera viewfinder but also finding a filter to shoot in before you start snapping.
infltr lets you filter at any time of the photographic process and apply changes to still photos, video, live photos, panoramic and even shots from your DSLR in HD without a loss in resolution.
“It is tricky with users as they usually compare infltr with other apps which are more mature,” said co-founder Phillippe Levieux. “I do hope that once we have released these tools, we will become an essential on the photography app landscape. We are extremely pleased with the experience we have created.”
The app recently surpassed 40,000 users, having doubled in downloads over the last few months year, he said.
This week’s update for the watch will let a user shuffle filters, shoot remotely or shoot on a time. On the iPhone screen, 3-D touch will bring up a secondary menu that flips the camera front or back, enables/disables Live Photos and vignette and change the flash setting.
In the next month, Levieux said infltr will allow users to save filters.
But why keep track of your filters when you can be surprised every time?