Photo App Focus: Deco Sketch is Pretty Slick
While I love a good retro analog photo app (the name of the blog is Life In LoFi for a reason), I also really like a great modern-style app like Deco Sketch that creates effects that no other photo app does. It adds everything from a delicate web of geometric shapes to bold, colorful, modern patterns to an image.
I’m not sure how to describe Deco Sketch. Use it to paint about 100 geometric elements onto your images. Choose from a selection of eight overall styles, including lines, circles, hexagons and other patterns. You can create webs, patterns and flourishes. While other photo apps apply some of these effects randomly, Deco Sketch gives you far more control over size, look and placement.
While it’s a photo app, it feels more like a paint app except with shapes instead of traditional brush tips. You import images from your camera roll or you can create your own works from a blank canvas. Instead of a round or square brush applying color, the “brush” applies geometric shapes. You can set the brush opacity and size to be responsive to brush speed. Once you get the feel of that, it’s a powerful tool to use to vary effect size and see-through.
There’s a powerful settings pane that lets you easily adjust how the effects are applied. It’s out of the way, but quickly accessible from the main screen. From there, you can change brush size, spacing, opacity, colors and a lot more.
I found some effect responded better to long, brush-style strokes. Others worked great by constant daubing them on the image. I could not find a way to constrain strokes to a straight line. With many of these effects, that would be cool to be able to do.
At first, the tools seem random, but the more I used the app, the more I recognized patterns — cause and effect — and I was better able to get the brushes to do what I want. There is a fairly steep learning and experience curve with this app when compared with many other photo apps, but spending some time with it will let you add some very cool geometric effects and flourishes to your images.
Deco Sketch has a good Undo tool which helps with experimentation. It now supports full native 8MP resolution on an iPhone 5 and 4S. It’s got a clean, modern User Interface that’s very easy to figure out. It’s pretty slick. You can create much more amazing effects than my minimal examples here.
Some of the eight category styles are easier to master than others, but Deco Sketch lets you do some pretty cool stuff out of the box. Mastering the app is worth the time. The results are amazing works of iPhone art that you can get using no other photo app.
Deco Sketch is $2.99 in the App Store. It’s a Universal app that’s designed for both iPhone and iPad. It should really be nice on the larger screen of an iPad. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.3 or later. This app is optimized for iPhone 5. There is also a free, feature-limited Lite version with fewer brushes and no high resolution support.