WordFoto iPhone app turns words into photo-based art with frustrating results

Jun 6, 2011
Tech

Typographic posters seem to be popping up everywhere, so it’s not surprising that there’s an app to help you turn your photos into word-based art. WordFoto, which supports iPhones 3GS and 4, and fourth-gen iPod Touch, takes an image from your camera roll (or a live image) and quickly adds your chosen word sets, using […]

Typographic posters seem to be popping up everywhere, so it’s not surprising that there’s an app to help you turn your photos into word-based art. WordFoto, which supports iPhones 3GS and 4, and fourth-gen iPod Touch, takes an image from your camera roll (or a live image) and quickly adds your chosen word sets, using an automated algorithm, on top of the photo. Although the effect is cool (watch out for overuse), getting the results you want will take some learning — more time than the average user might want to spend.

WordFoto offers a wide array of customization. The app comes preloaded with word sets, but you can create your own strings of text (up to 10 words long). For the actual look of the image, WordFoto has eight presets, but also includes custom styles that let users manipulate everything from shadows to background colors to fonts — there are 25 options, and you can choose to use more than one at a time.

Whether you opt for a preset or custom style, you can fine-tune the image’s edges and color tolerance via the “Finetune” tab. Whenever you make a change to the settings, WordFoto will automatically refresh, but if you don’t like the word placement itself, hit  “Re-render” when fine-tuning. Considering all of the customization available, I was surprised that WordFoto didn’t offer more manipulation for the words themselves, such as moving or changing the size of a particular word. WordFoto offers sharing over Facebook or email, and users can save the completed image to the camera roll. Finished images are saved in high-resolution, and you can also use the app as a plain cropping tool.

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Although I liked the speed at which WordFoto worked, I found learning the customization to be difficult. I attempted to give my photos a similar look to some of the provided screen shots with no luck. I think it’ll be easy to spend hours playing with WordFoto, but impatient users without previous color manipulation experience might become frustrated. An easy fix for this would be if WordFoto provided some sort of tutorial in-app (there is a link to a web-based FAQ, but, as of this writing, the page is under construction) that provides an explanation of what each setting does or even how to take a better image for use in WordFoto.

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