Turn your surroundings into cartoons with Paper Camera app

Jul 19, 2011
Tech

If you’ve ever wanted to pretend you’re in a Waking Life-style animation haze, Paper Camera will give you a similar feeling through the lens of your camera. Designed for iPhones 3GS and 4, fourth-gen iPod touch and iPad 2, Paper Camera overlays your live video feed with comic and painting effects, allowing you to see […]

If you’ve ever wanted to pretend you’re in a Waking Life-style animation haze, Paper Camera will give you a similar feeling through the lens of your camera. Designed for iPhones 3GS and 4, fourth-gen iPod touch and iPad 2, Paper Camera overlays your live video feed with comic and painting effects, allowing you to see the finished image before you snap the photo.

It should be clarified that Paper Camera does not shoot comic-style video. Although the video feed displays the filters and effects, when users click the camera icon, Paper Camera saves a still image. Paper Camera doesn’t promise anything different, but users who don’t read the description closely might feel duped. Paper Camera currently offers 12 effects, from black-and-white sketch, to comic boom, to the vintage-feeling granny’s paper. As you tap through the filters, the overlay changes on your video feed instantly. Each filter can be fine-tuned with the contrast and brightness sliders, and the number of lines or brush strokes can be increased or decreased.

I thought Paper Camera’s concept was neat, but I didn’t love its delivery. There’s no way to view images in-app, and even though you can see the image live, it would still be nice not to have to go to the photo library to see how it transferred. You also cannot put these effects on existing images. The app supports both the front and back cameras on iPhone 4, but doesn’t support flash photography, nor does it offer zoom, presumably since it’s showing you the video feed. Paper Camera also only works in landscape mode. I was preoccupied with holding the video feed steady, and found the slider bars hard to manipulate when holding my iPhone horizontally. The overall design of the app felt disproportionate as well — the viewing space too small, everything else too large.

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For a dollar, Paper Camera might impress your friends, but if the price increases I’d be sure portrait mode is supported before buying in.

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