Forget about Instagram. A new app is all the rage right now, mostly because it's loaded with some amazing, artsy filters.
These aren't regular, old filters. They won't add a nice glow to your skin in perfectly-setup selfies, nor will they make the backgrounds of your landscape photos really pop. These filters transform your images into artworks using the styles of famous artists, such as Munk and Picasso. There are other filters of famous ornaments and patterns, too, like Mondrian.
The app is called Prisma, and apart from its cool filters, it's super minimalistic, clean, and easy to use. Also, thanks to an update in October, Prisma can now turn your 15-second video clips into works of art. Here's everything you need to know about Prisma, including how it works and where you can find it.
What is Prisma?
Prisma is a new photo app, though it's also being dubbed an "art filter" app. Russian programmer Alexey Moiseenkov launched Prisma in June. Ever since the app's debut, it has been leading Apple’s App Store ranking in Russia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. That means it's beating huge apps like WhatsApp and Instagram in those countries, according to app-research site AppAnnie.
The app lets you add artistic effects to your photos and videos, making them appear like famous works of art. You can take a pic of your dog, for instance, and apply a Picasso-style filter. The transformation process take just a couple seconds, and voila! From there you can save the photo or share it to social networks, including Instagram, which is something even Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev does.
Token Prisma selfie pic.twitter.com/WQm5fJRt5U— Chris Hall (@christhall) July 24, 2016
In July 2016, we counted 33 filters available. According to Venture Beat, Prisma's filter algorithm uses a combination of convolutional neural networks and artificial intelligence, and it doesn't simply apply a filter but actually scans the data in order to apply a style to a photo in a way that both works and impresses. It all sounds pretty complicated - but hey, the end result is amazing.
In October 2016, Prisma added support for videos in the iOS version of its app, meaning iPhone owners can now turn their clips into comic book-like animations in under a minute. All of the processing happens right on your smartphone, so you can create Prisma videos without a cellular connection.
At launch, there are nine different "styles" of videos available.
How does Prisma work?
Take or select a photo or video
- Download and open the Prisma app. There is no social or engagement element, so Prisma doesn't ask users to create an account.
- The main screen is split into two, with the top half displaying the camera view, and the bottom half displaying the camera capture button, video capture button (iOS only), camera rotate button, flash, and an option to access your camera roll.
- Tap the camera capture button to take a picture, or tap the video capture button (iOS only) to record a video.
- Alternatively, hit the "album" option to pull media from your camera roll.
- Once you take or select a photo, you will be brought to a screen that lets you crop the photo or rotate it. Click "next" when done.
- The final screen you'll see is for all the filters. Again, it's split into two, with the top half showing your photo preview, and the bottom half showing filters and share buttons.
- Much like Instagram, filters appear at the bottom in a carousel row, and you can swipe from left to right to browse and try them. The thumbnails displayed in the filter row aren't live but rather examples of what the filter looks like/can do. You must tap a thumbnail to apply the filter to your photo, and you'll see the processed result above.
- While applying filters, slide your finger across your photo preview to increase or decrease the filter's effect.
- Once you take or select a video (iOS only), you will be brought to a screen that lets you view your video and apply a style. Again, it's split into two, with the top half showing your video preview, and the bottom half showing styles and share buttons.
- Much like Instagram, filters appear at the bottom in a carousel row, and you can swipe from left to right to browse and try them. The thumbnails displayed in the filter row aren't live but rather examples of what the filter looks like/can do. You must tap a thumbnail to apply the filter to your video, and you'll see the processed result above.
Sharing and saving
- When your ready to share, simply tap the Instagram or Facebook buttons that appear above the filter row. You'll also see a share menu, so you can share via a different app. You can even save to your camera roll.
Get rid of watermarks
- By default, all photos have Prisma watermarks in the corner. To get rid of those, go to the Settings toggle and shut off "Enable Watermarks". You'll also see options to save original photos, save artworks automatically, etc.