Full-size image from The Warhol: D.I.Y. Pop Art


Back in December, we were teased with a preview of a new, official pop art app from The Warhol Museum.

Today, The Warhol: D.I.Y. POP By Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh – the official Warhol app – finally hit the App Store. It makes me sad to say that version 1.0 is not worth the wait and is disappointing on many levels.

D.I.Y. POP is fairly easy to use. It’s educational in that it takes you through a mock silkscreen process – create a film positive, underpaint, and screen. At the end, you can save to your camera roll and share it online.

Like a good Warhol, your initial photo needs to be very high contrast to get good results. This is an app that screams for a contrast adjustment during the film positive screen. Unfortunately, there isn’t one, which means the black and white threshold is at the mercy of the app. Even starting with a fairly high contrast image, it was very difficult for me to get the signature Warhol pop art contrast. Without a built-in contrast slider, the effect is impossible to control. You’ll definitely need to tweak the contrast of your original photo in another app before loading. There’s no way to adjust the contrast of an image taken with the app’s camera.

The underpainting is very easy. As this is a faux-Warhol, no precision is required. The color palette defaults to bright, pop art colors, typical of Warhol.

There is no option for a multi-frame layout – to repeat panels, a motif common in many of the Warhol silkscreens.

The output of the app is horrid. Images save at only 329×329 pixels. That’s ridiculously low and unusable for just about any purpose. It’s less than screen resolution of an original iPhone 2G. The app is being released in conjunction with a contest where the winners will have their work displayed in The Andy Warhol Museum for 15 days. With the postage stamp sized output of 329×329, I don’t think these will look good displayed in print or electronically.

D.I.Y. POP weighs in at a hefty 88 megabytes. There are a lot of other add-ons in the app – a lot of multimedia materials about pop art and The Warhol itself. The app feels more like a $0.99 memento of the The Andy Warhol Museum than it does an app to make some decent pop art.

The Warhol: D.I.Y. POP was previewed late last year with a lot of fanfare. In the months since until its release, I would have hoped that they would have hit this one out of the park, especially with all the official resources behind the development of this app. Instead, The Warhol: D.I.Y. POP strikes out.

The Warhol: D.I.Y. POP is $0.99 in the App Store. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

The Warhol: D.I.Y. POP - Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh


Original image (resized for this post)