TiltShift is a photographic technique that makes the objects in a photograph look like toy models. I’ve shown you how to achieve this in Photoshop before, but TiltShift Generator for iPad makes the process incredibly easy.
The app costs $2.99
Using the app
Start up the app for a minimalist options screen. Choose the open button to choose between either using the built-in camera or opening an existing photo on the device.
Once your image is chosen, or taken from the camera, you’ll be whisked straight into editing mode. The app will automatically apply the default settings so within seconds (depending on the speed of your device) you’ll get an instant preview of your tilt-shifted image.
By default, the app will use the radial blur; here’s an example below. Radial means a circular area of the image will be in focus, while everything else is blurred around that at increasing depth.
Personally, I prefer the linear blur; a line will be left in focus rather than a single point. It just feels more like a traditional tilt shift to me (but I’m no photographer, so I could be completely wrong on this).
Tweak the blur size and value slider until you’re satisfied with the general look and feel. You can also adjust the size, focal point, and direction of the linear blur using the standard gestures (rotate, pinch etc).
Why are there saturation, contrast and brightness controls? Since tilt shift technique is used to make something look like a toy or model, increasing the saturation makes sense and toys tend to be brightly coloured or painted. Turning up the brightness a little also makes it look as though it’s being lit by an artificial light source rather than natural light. Increasing the contrast gives us the more limited colour palette used in toys and models; the real world has an infinite number of colours for the eye to perceive – toy manufacturers do not. That’s the theory at least; in practice the default settings of the app should be sufficient.
Saving your image
Hit the save button to quickly render and save the image to your device; again speed will depend on your iPad model – on my iPad 3 it took about a second to render. The export button is limited to either mail or Twitter; frankly you’ll get far more export options if you head over to the official Photos app; I hope the developer takes the time to update this soon with the built-in iOS6 share sheets.
Images are saved at a resolution of 768 x 1024 by default; you may wish to increase this from the settings menu.
There aren’t any other “settings” as such to speak of, though there are direct links to the Flickr community of TiltShift Generator users and more apps by the developer. Having said that, most of the submitted photos in the Flickr group pool would be more appropriate for an Instagram group and don’t appear to have been tilt-shifted at all, so perhaps a little more moderation would be appropriate. Also, as mentioned, there is no way to upload your creations from within the app, so submitting to the group can be quite an arduous process.
Of course, not all photos look good when tilt-shifted. You’ll get better results with no strong foreground objects, and try to be slightly elevated from the subject – from a window, or on top of a mountain, for instance. Here’s a few from my photo library that turned out nicely.
Off-roading in Kyoto
Is it worth $2.99? I think so, certainly – if you enjoy the tilt-shift effect. It’s a lot easier than using Photoshop, and the controls are more than sufficient to get good results. There is however a separate iPhone app available (this app is not universal) if you think that might be more suitable for your needs, as well as a free online tool.
TiltShift Generator is currently featured on our list of Top iPad apps, so be sure to check out the rest.