vignettr for iPhone and iPad iPhoneography


Version 1.2
Price: 99¢
Vignettr - Darran Boyd

Rating 2 stars

Bottom Line: Creates good vignettes with a nice, subtle gradient in full range images, but has big problems with images with a lot of bright areas.

Vignettes are a classic method of drawing a viewer’s eye to the focus of the image. They’re also produced often in old and toy cameras and today give an image a retro look. Vignettr by Darran Boyd is a fairly recent app that gives you control over several parameters of vignette creation.

I love vignettes in my photography. When I was offered a promo code to review the app, I jumped at the chance. Unfortunately, Vignettr has some problems and falls short in a a few important areas.

Vignettr has a great interface design. It’s modern and easy to read and use. It has sliders for several adjustments, including vignette size and opacity, neutral density gradient (ND Grad), letterbox, luminance, and overall image tint. It’s a good range of controls to create and tweak vignettes. You move from one function to the next by simply swiping the screen — a good, easy iOS-like feature — or by using the fast forward button in the upper righthand corner.

The additional luminance feature is handy for adjusting brightness quickly within the app. The tint function lets you choose from several overall tints to apply color shading effects within the app. Rather than provide the entire spectrum of tints, a limited number of tints are available — a good choice by the developer, as the tints included are photograph friendly and range from cyans to sepias to grayscales. What I especially like about Vignettr’s tint function is the adjustable opacity, allowing you to adjust the intensity of the effect. In many apps, tint is often an all or nothing feature.

There’s also a letterbox feature that can add both horizontal and vertical letterboxing, if you’re prone to do so. It’s a well-done feature that adds pixels to the image to create the letterbox and doesn’t reduce your original image size. On an iPhone 4, that means a maximum image size of 3200×2400 pixels.

Most of the effects are adjusted using two sliders, which end up being pretty small on the iPhone’s screen. The small size and side-by-side layout of the sliders makes precision adjustments difficult, especially for those with large fingers. There’s room onscreen to stack the slider controls. It would help for more precise adjustments.

But the main purpose of Vignettr is creating vignettes. Much of the time, the app creates good vignettes with a smooth, subtle gradient. There is little visible edge to the vignette and a broad range to the opacity. See the sample image above.

Examples of vignetting issues with bright areas in Vignettr

The biggest problem I have with Vignettr is that the vignette it creates aren’t very good over parts of an image with a lot of bright areas. The app wouldn’t even create a vignette for me in white or blown out areas — a common characteristic in many photos. Apps such as TiltShift Generator and FocalLab have no problems creating vignettes over white. In images with both full-range and blown out areas, the app only creates a partial vignette. Very frustrating.

Vignettr saves images at their full resolution — something that FocalLab still doesn’t do. The app was very stable in my tests.

Vignettr has already gone through a couple of upgrades since its December release. When the issue with bright areas is fixed, Vignettr will be a good addition to your toolbox for creating vignette effects and I’ll be happy to update my review to at least three stars at that time. When it works, its subtle gradient effects and full-res output make it a good utility, especially priced at only a dollar. But in the current version, its inconsistent handling of bright areas render it unusable for many photos.

Vignettr is a universal app that runs on any iDevice running iOS 4.2 or newer.

Vignettr - Darran Boyd


Vignettr blown out sample