Sick of using trite filters and childish fonts to doll up your pics? Get edgy with Tangent.
For a while, apps like Instagram made you feel like you could make art out of ordinary pictures, but then everybody on earth (including me) took a picture of a decrepit door and added some shadowy, sepia-y filter and once again we were all needles in a haystack made of needles. The “insta” part was great too, but after a while maybe you wished you could make photo art that was as complex and unique as you are… If so, you might like Tangent, a photo-editing app that takes things up a notch or two.
Open the app and take or choose a picture. First you’ll choose a style, which is basically a selection of preset shapes and fills you can overlay over your pic. Note that you can enlarge or shrink all the shapes you add throughout the process by pinching/unpinching, rotate by two-finger rotating, and move around by dragging. You can stop with the style you choose, or go on to modify it with different shapes, fills, colors, and blends.
On the shapes page you can change the shape you chose at the style phase. The tools that pop up above each shape let you rotate, invert and “toggle photo masking” (you don’t have to know what that means to see what it does and decide whether you like it or not). On the fills page you can choose to fill your shape with stripes, stars, dots… And you have the same tools popping up above each.
You can see how things could get tacky fast if you don’t exercise some restraint. If you decide you’ve gone too far and want to start over, tap New (top left). You’ll be asked if you want to go back to the style point, or start with a whole new picture. If you’ve overindulged on the shapes and fills, swipe right on the bar of shapes or fills till you see the leftmost option, a white square that says None. That’ll clean up the mess you just made (I made a lot). Note: You can go back and change shape or fill (or choose None) even after you’ve tapped the green checkmark and left the page.
On the colors/blends page you choose a color for the style/shape you chose. The blend options are below the colors, and they essentially behave like the filters we’ve come to know, but with the added element of the shapes and fills, which keeps things interesting.
Once you’ve finished your creation, you can do the usual: share, save, etc. But you can also tap Retangent and go back in for more…
I did find myself changing things and not remembering what I’d done and therefore not being able to revert to what I had right before. (We need maybe an undo feature for dummies?). So there is a slight learning curve and I did get frustrated occasionally. This is one of those apps you have to play with a bit to get a real feel for.
My biggest beef with this app is that you can’t hide the tools at the bottom of the picture in order to see what the effect you just chose looks like. (Or at least I couldn’t figure out how, which is just as bad.) True, you can touch the picture and the stuff goes away, but you can’t take your finger off or it comes back. Or you can tap the checkmark and leave the page. But to have to do that with every effect you’re testing is asking a little much.
You do get some sweet accidents while you’re experimenting, like Bessie with polka dots there, which I kinda like.
Tangent on the App Store