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Home » Reviews

Review: Percolator for iPhone

Submitted by on August 31, 2010 – 10:41 am 5 Comments

percolator for iPhone iphoneography

Percolator
Version 1.0
Price: $0.99

Rating 4 stars

Bottom Line: Easy to use, Percolator is a fun, modernist app that produces unique colorful effects.

percolator for iPhoneMany excellent iPhone photo apps simulate the look of retro and vintage analog photography. Percolator is a new photo app from Tinrocket that takes a different direction and makes your iPhone photos look like a mosaic comprised of circles. It’s a very Modernist app like colorShadow, PhotoTropedelic, and Chromocam Dots — producing an image that could only be easily created by a computer (or very meticulously hand-drawn). I doubt modernist apps like Percolator will change the direction of iPhoneography, but it’s a very pleasant diversion.

percolator iphone screenshot Percolator creates mosaics of circles from the camera or from your iPhone’s photo library. The results are colorful and unique to anything else in the App Store. Among the things I love about this app are the simplicity of the app itself and the beautiful geometry and simplicity of the effects.

From the developer’s website, “The main algorithm used in Percolator was developed in 2004, as a small piece of a larger project. This algorithm places circles in the empty areas of images, from the largest possible circle down to the smallest. The software computes a fast solution to a problem area known as circle packing.”

The result is a colorful mosaic comprised of circles — and when created from a good source image, they are excellent examples of circlism.

Percolator is easy to use. I got the best results from images with high light or color contrast. There are few settings to adjust. No sliding adjustments — Percolator doesn’t really need them, in my opinion. Default settings often yielded best results for me.

Percolator renders fairly quickly. Colors seem enhanced — bright and vibrant once percolated.

Currently, maximum output size is a usable 1600 pixels, but this should be increased to a maximum of 2000 pixels in the next update.

Other improvements in the next update should include a new retro-looking, coffee-themed interface, faster previews, more circle detail and two new settings.

Not every image is processed through Percolator looks good, but when you find that magic mix of color and contrast, Percolator creates a unique, impressive, modern effect. Combining percolated images in other photo apps can also create really interesting and eye catching photos.

Percolator is an excellent and fun diversion from the large number of vintage and toy camera apps in the App Store. It’s a unique, well-done modernist app with a fun retro wink.

Percolator

=M=

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Marty Yawnick

Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.

  • http://twitter.com/erg79 Evan

    This sounds interesting. I really like Chromocam Dots because it isn't trying to turn the iPhone into a digital SLR, or a vintage film toy camera. Don't get me wrong–those are by far the majority of photography apps that I use, but it's also good to see a developer trying to explore the possibilities of what an iPhone can do that another camera can't.

  • http://www.nelsonhaukap.com Nelson

    I like this app and I'm often pleasantly surprised by the designs it generates. I disagree about the control scheme, though – as I posted in my iTunes review, I think it could really use a slider control scheme for finer control and more variability in it's output. I definitely agree about the output resolution, it's a shame. What I would love to see added is the ability to generate hi-res PDF output like SketchMee, that would be ideal for making prints of Percolator images.

  • http://twenty200.com Rob

    Percolator is a ridiculous app that's lots of fun and definitely worth a buck. I bought it and really enjoy it. The more simple the photo with drastic details, the better the results you'll get with it. Here's a trio of before and after shots using Percolator:

    , , .

    I hope they don't change the interface much. In fact, I could do without the silly coffee theme… but, hey, whatever. The strength of the app lies in its simplicity and fun results. It really is fun and can easily become a $.99 timesuck. I mean that in a good way, of course!

    Anybody have any experience with aniQuoma? It's another silly photo app that drastically alters a shot. I'd love to get some info before I take the plunge on that one!

  • http://twenty200.com Rob

    Oops! Apparently, I screwed up those before, after links. Here they are.

    One,

    Two,

    Three.

  • http://iphoneographynyc.tumblr.com/ Devyn

    Nice… I can see having some real fun with this! Here is my first posted attempt at playing around with Percolator.