Waterlogue — A Review

Last week TinRocket, developers of the successful iOS post production application Percolator and recently updated Popsicolor, has released Waterogue, inspired by Moleskine watercolor journals, urban sketching, artist’s journals and en plain air painting. This application transforms your mobile photographs into one of twelve different popular artistic styles with just a few clicks and minutes later you have transformed your image.

Original image combined with Waterlogue style “Natural”
using Blender set to Luminosity at 70%

Waterlogue twelve artistic preset styles (Natural, Bold, Luminious, “It’s Technical”, Travelogue, Rainy, Illustration, Soaked, Shallow, Color Bloom, Fashionable, Blotted), realistically interpret your photograph in a way a sketch artist with pencil and watercolor might do in their sketchbook and this is the core strength of Waterlogue. While there are numerous similar transformation programs available, Waterlogue focuses only on this particular artistic technique and does it rather very well, still, I felt something is essentially missing. 

Original Hipstamatic photograph (Jane lens with DC film)

Photo altered with Waterlogue using style “Natural”

The intent of Waterlogue is “to give people access to a creative tool that doesn’t require any training” and here TinRocket has succeeded perfectly, since the results produced are exceptional. But what if you wanted to stop the process midway, make adjustments to the brush size or change the type of paper and not only the images shading’s darkness/lightness or border/borderless, which you can adjust, you do not have the option to do so.

While these user options and others are just part of my wish list, I cannot help but feel that at some point these will be implemented since the meta data of a post processed Waterlogue image contains the following:

Preset Style = NaturalFormat = LargeFormat Margin = NoneFormat Border = StraightDrawing = #2 PencilDrawing Weight = MediumDrawing Detail = MediumPaint = NaturalPaint Lightness = NormalPaint Intensity = NormalWater = Tap WaterWater Edges = MediumWater Bleed = AverageBrush = Natural DetailBrush Focus = EverythingBrush Spacing = NarrowPaper = WatercolorPaper Texture = MediumPaper Shading = Light

So why have meta data list line thickness, drawing or painting strength, amount of detail, brush thickness, water blending, or type of paper, if they are not part of the end user control in future updates. At least I am hoping this is the case.

Style “It’s Technical”

Style “Travelogue”

Style “Fashionable”

Adjustable user control of the different Waterlogue styles is only one aspect I hope will be addressed by TinRocket in the near future, I find that not being able to set the programs preferences of Waterlogue more disappointing. 

I am referring to saving ones resolution setting, border/borderless and especially the settings for when saving to the camera roll. For every time one launches Waterlogue, the program default back to medium resolution and image with border, including at what resolution the image is ultimately saved. This may be a minor issue, yet being able to do so is an essential part of any application program.

When saving a Waterlogue post processed photograph, the user has the option of either JPG or PNG. While this is good, many mobile photographers use camera applications that permit saving the photograph as a TIFF file, so it would be very nice if developers realise that saving a post processed image as a lossless TIFF is a benefit not only for the user but also for the developer.

Original photograph

Style “Natural”

Of the twelve artistic preset styles, one will quickly have their favorite and during my testing of Waterlogue, I not only discovered my preferred styles, but started to blend two different Waterlogue styles within another program like Blender to achieve more personalised results. I also noted that if one is not completely pleased with the results, but wishes to use a particular style, simple reintroduce the photograph and an alternative version will be rendered.

Another time saving element of Waterlogue is that after an image has been rendered and you wish to see how another style may interrupt your photograph, Waterlogue renders does a small thumbnail with a rough representation.


Style (L) “Luminious”   (R) “It’s Technical”

Style “Color Bloom”

In the end, Waterlogue is a very good post production application deserving your every attention. It offers the user the ability to create stunning artistic renditions of their photographs and while I felt there were a number of shortcomings to Waterlogue, I will recommend this program, especially if it is being applied as part of ones workflow with other post production applications. Once TinRocket provides access to altering the presets, then Waterlogue will be a killer application.

Style “Luminious” and “Natural” combined using Blender

Price: $3.99 US

Availability: Worldwide through Apple’s iTunes App Store

Requirements: Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. 
System: iOS 7.0 or greater.

     TinRocket website

     Waterlogue website
     Percolator website
     Popsicol website

     FaceBook Page

All photographs taken with an iPhone 4S by
©2014 Egmont van Dyck - All Rights Reserved

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