App Review: AutoPainter for iPhone


A good photo-to-paint app is pretty hard to find. Many paint effects simply move pixels around, smear the image and maybe add brush stroke textures. The effects have all the charm of a cheap, knockoff print of a bad sofa painting.

AutoPainter by Mediachance is the little sibling of the desktop application, Dynamic Auto Painter. It turns your photos into classical-looking “paintings” that look like they were painted by masters.

It’s a pretty cool app with a few shortcomings. AutoPainter makes your photos look like classics painted by one of four master painters: Aquarell, Benson, Cezanne, or VanGogh. It not only creates their classic styles — colors, brush stroke styles, technique — but also enriches the texture of the finished work by applying over accurately rendered media such as canvas or artist’s paper. The finished results have the same imperfections on the media that they would on actual paper or canvas. Ink runs. There are specks, scratches, strokes and damage. It’s all very accurately rendered and nicely detailed.

AutoPainter doesn’t just apply paint effects. It “paints” the photo almost like real media. Using animation and brush strokes, it builds the work in three steps, much like a real painting. First it applies a broadly stroked Underpainting. Basic shapes emerge during the Dry Reveal and the Detail Brush step finishes out the work in greater detail. Strokes are applied throughout the process and it’s pretty cool to watch the app “paint” stroke by stroke. The entire process takes a few minutes on a speedy iPhone 4, but it’s very hypnotic and entertaining to watch.

Overall, the results look like a photo of a painting in the style of the masters they recreate, from Van Gogh’s heavy and impressionisitic strokes and rich color palette to the running ink and pencil marks of Aquarell.

Not all photos will look great with all effects. Theres a recommended built-in guide to which type of images work best with each effect.

AutoPainter only saves in medium resolution, 1280 pixels on the longest side of the image. I realize that AutoPainter is doing some pretty heavy lifting under the hood. The developer feels it’s the best compromise for speed and quality. I’d rather have a preference in the app’s settings letting me decide if I want fast processing (relatively) or larger files. 1280×954 px is fine for sharing online and making decent quality prints up to 5″ x 7″, but these images would look fantastic when printed out at larger sizes.

Also, there’s only the four artists to choose from. I’d love to see more of Mediachance’s great renditions of painters’ styles added in future updates.

AutoPainter for iPhone is a good, easy to use app that creates one-button “paintings of your photos. Despite its limitations in this 1.0 release, it creates authentic looking “works of art” from your photographs. It’s not bad now, especially if you’re not planning on making prints. If the resolution is increased and more artists added, AutoPainter could be a great app. It boggles the mind to think what would have happened if Van Gogh had this on an iPhone.

AutoPainter is $1.99 in the App Store. There’s also a native iPad version AutoPainter HD available for $1.99. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

AutoPainter - Mediachance


AutoPainter Aquarell effect
AutoPainter Van Gogh effect
AutoPainter Cezanne effect


About Marty Yawnick 1808 Articles
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.
  • Lord James Havelock

    Just be aware that the HD version is Ipad only.

  • Richard

    None of the versions save at the full input images resolution. I have the iPhone and Mac desktop version (from the App Store) and neither save in full resolution which is quite odd for the desktop version. The Mac desktop version is limited to a max of 2000 pixels in either dimension. This is a real shame as the results are really very good, but if you want to have the images printed as large canvas prints 10 x 8 inches would probably be the max.

    I really don't understand why full resolution is such a problem for devs to implement right from the start, eventually most of them do achieve this.

  • Wei Khuen

    Hi Richard,

    I have the pc version of DAP. It can save up to 16Mpix, the default is 6Mpix.

    Warmest Regards
    Wei Khuen

  • Trickyhat

    for app like this full resolution on iphone is no way to go, it will probably fill the iphone memory long before it finish not to mention apple will probably not approve app that takes too long to do something. it is just a phone, good for fun and snaps and killing some time.