Personal Projects

Steve’s Personal Project: Distressed FX

distressed fxAs a designer that dabbles with code I find myself tinkering in my spare time on little personal projects for my own enjoyment. As a valuable byproduct, this also helps keep me up to date with the various technologies we use at Ocasta. One of these projects finally saw the light of day and was released under the name “Distressed FX”.

Distressed Textures is an amazing texture range run by artist and friend of mine, Cheryl Tarrant, in Tennessee. After some discussion I agreed to make her an app that could showcase her textures for use on iOS.

We noted that many photo apps have very few options when it comes to applying filters, many are simply ‘on or off’. So we decided to allow people to apply a combination of two effects at once, plus simple adjustments that would allow unique images to be produced.

I experimented with various layouts but it quickly became apparent that I should try to minimise the amount of screens used and keep the image space as useable as possible.

A horizontal scrolling menu for effects (one row for iPhone 4 and two rows for iPhone 5 & iPad) is a simple yet effective way for the user to quickly scan through and choose what filter to try.

Unobtrusive, transparent corner buttons are placed on the corners of the image space to allow tilt-shift style blurring and toggling of the adjustment sliders. The iPhone 4 design also allows you to toggle between the two different filter types.

The brightness, contrast and saturation sliders have been carefully placed along the edges of the image space to minimise overlapping the image – and therefore also allowing them to be as long as possible for fine adjustments. This is particularly effective on the iPad.

The filter intensity sliders have been placed directly on top of the filter scrollers to make the best use of that space too.

When editing the image you do not need to leave the main view, which keeps your eye firmly trained on the picture, not the interface. All in all I think there is a good balance between simplicity and versatility of the app. I’m sure this will adapt in the future but so far feedback has been very positive. The app has so far been featured under ‘New and Noteworthy’ on the US App Store and also in the print edition of Mac Format magazine.

My spare time is precious, especially with a young baby in the household, but I have discovered that some investment of this time into personal work yields huge all-round benefits. I would recommend it to any other designer wishing to expand their technical know-how.

You can find images edited with Distressed FX by searching for the hashtag #distressedfx . Or, by looking here http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=%23distressedfx

The first 5 people to tweet a link to this page get a free promo code – Enjoy!