SkipBleach sample image, bleach bypass emulation

SkipBleach -- original and sample images


Version 1.0
Price $0.99 USD

Rating 3 1/2 stars

Bottom Line: If you like monochrome, SkipBleach is good, easy to use and surprising.


SkipBleachSkipBleach is a new app from youthhr that allows you to add a bleach bypass or “skip bleach” effect to your photos. It gives odd high contrast effects similar to cross processing. The effect has the appearance of a monochrome image layered and multiplied (in Photoshop-speak) over a color image. It’s an analog technique that’s not often used, not often recognized, but pretty striking and effective when it’s done correctly.

The effect is fairly unique among apps in the app store. It’s an interesting app, and the results it produces are often surprising.

Photos can be shot within SkipBleach and can also be imported from your iPhone’s camera roll. The original image is not saved, only the processed image. SkipBleach saves at a maximum resolution of 1200×1600, which is perfect for an iPhone 2G or 3G, okay for a 3GS, but unacceptable for a new iPhone 4, which has a resolution of 5 MP. It saves images at a maximum width of 1200 pixels, so a tall portrait image will save at 1200×1600 but a landscape image only saves at 1200×900 pixels. An odd quirk which is inconvenient to work around. These issues need to be addressed in a future update.

Images processed with SkipBleach look somewhat close to photographs processed with an analog bleach bypass process — close, but not perfect. Photos processed with gamma correction on are more monochrome than color and tend to have blown out highlights. With gamma correction off, images are dark overall with very high contrast. Of course, results vary based on the characteristics of the original image. Like the analog process, SkipBleach really cranks the contrast.

Operation is simple. There are few settings to mess with. There are slider bars which let you customize the levels of contrast, saturation and brightness.

My best results from SkipBleach were obtained simply by experimenting and processing random images in my camera roll. The results are consistent in characteristics, yet unpredictable at first. SkipBleach won’t look great with every image you shoot, but it will often surprise you with great results from images you wouldn’t expect.

I love to shoot and process monochrome on my iPhone. What I like about SkipBleach are the high contrasts, the deep saturations of the darker areas which are similar to monochromes, but with the hint of color that’s retained in the image after processing.

SkipBleach brings this under-appreciated analog photographic process to the iPhone. If you like to create monochrome images, high-contrast photography, or experiment with any of the cross-process apps, you might give SkipBleach a look. It’s a good, easy to use and surprising app.

[UPDATE 8/17/10]: Since this initial review, SkipBleach ha been updated several times and is now at version 1.1.5. SkipBleach now supports full resolution on any iPhone, including 5MP images from an iPhone 4. In fact, I tested with images that were even larger — all the way to 3212x2400px — and it worked fine. Also, the size/orientation issue has now been fixed.

App Store link: SkipBleach



Related Link: Bleach Bypass on Wikipedia