Some days just don’t start right. Do you ever have days when you wake up in the morning and things just feel off? Your work seems meaningless, your life seems boring, you feel too fat/thin/tall/short, you don’t have time to do the things you really like, and things just suck in general.
If you’ve never had one of these days, I’m sure we’re all jealous, but when this happens to me, I try to find small things to cheer me up. They don’t necessarily have to be huge things – after all, it’s not as if something’s really wrong – but more in the lines of some cheerful website or ones that will help me vent my anger. Another option is to go crazy and spend a full 99¢ on an app I would never otherwise buy, and then find out it’s much, much better than I expected.
This exact scenario happened to me this morning, and the app I discovered to have surprising encouragement powers is no other than Halftone [No Longer Available], which is justifiably featured on our Best of iPad Apps page. So whether you’re looking for a fun little pick-me-up, or just like turning your photos into comic-book-style affairs, continue reading to see what Halftone can do for you.
What Is Halftone?
As you might have gathered from my heartfelt introduction, Halftone is a fun little app that helps you turn your photos into vintage comics. If you’re groaning to yourself and thinking of ugly, photo-ruining effects, you’ve got it all wrong. With surprising grace, Halftone manages to take the very tacky and formidable task of photo effects, and do it absolutely right.
When you first launch it, you’ll get the chance to watch a short introductory video which will help you understand Halftone’s workflow. It’s not at all necessary to watch this video, though, and as you can gather from the screenshot above, using Halftone is super easy and pretty self-explanatory.
Take A Minute To Tone Up Your Photo
The first and foremost task you need to face is choosing a photo. Halftone gives you three options. You can take a photo with your device’s camera, you can choose a photo from your library, or you can use the “new image picker” to access your Facebook, Flickr or Instagram photos. For this last option, you’ll need to enable Location Services for Halftone, and it will walk you through the process if the need should turn up.
Not only does Halftone provide cool comic-like filters and effects, it also lets you edit your photo to perfection before you even start. So if you have a photo you’d like to turn into a comic but it’s not the right size or shape, or the lighting and colors are screwed up, you can fix all of that from within Halftone.
Halftone’s photo editor is pretty impressive, and you can even use it for spot fixes, blemish hiding, red eye reduction and more. So fix your photo up to perfection, and let’s move on to the real deal – the comicbookification!
Show Time: Create Your Comics
Before I walk you through creating a comic out of your photo, I’d like to show you my masterpiece – the end result of a total of 5 minutes playing with Halftone:
This is without putting too much artistic thought into my creation, but I’m still very happy with it. Now let’s see what steps are needed to create such a thing.
By default, Halftone will cover your photo with dots and insert the top and bottom captions. These are things you can control, and I’ll show you how in a minute. But to start, you should first choose what kind of paper you want as your comic’s background.
The paper type is visible mainly on the frame, but it also affects the entire underlying texture of the image, as visible in the captions, speech bubbles, stamps, etc. The change happens immediately when you tap, so you can see exactly how each paper looks with your photo.
The next step is to choose your caption layout. There are nine layouts to choose from, including no captions at all. Here too, the change happens live as you tap.
You can go back and change any setting at any point in the creation process, so don’t fret too much. You can now edit the text in your captions, and choose what color scheme you want them to have (top caption only). The app also lets you automatically insert what day it is today, or the complete date. Don’t worry about fonts right now, you can change those somewhere else.
On to the speech bubbles. Here you can choose between six types of bubbles, and move them around to place them in exactly the right place. You can also tap the end of the bubble to extend or decrease the length of the tail. You can’t change the size of the bubble itself, unfortunately.
Which brings us to stamps. This is probably the coolest Halftone feature, because it lets you add not only some cool preset stamps, but also create your own stamps from your own images. There are dozens of stamps to choose from, and you can move, resize and rotate them all over the place.
The last thing you can do is change the font for the entire comic. You can choose between every available font on earth (almost), including some pretty cool comic fonts, one of which is the default you can see above.
The last thing you might want to do is tap the settings icon on the top left to change the dot effect. In the settings, you can turn the dots off, change their size, strength and more. This will give your comic the perfect finishing touch.
You can now save your creation to your photo library, send it via email, share it via other photo apps, social networks, etc. Halftone even integrates with a service called Sincerely, which lets you print your creation as a real postcard and send it to someone. That’s by regular mail.
Well, as much as I enjoyed writing this post, reading it might not be exactly the thing you need to uplift your spirits on a bad day. But playing with Halftone will! So if you own an iOS device, I heartily recommend that you shell out those 99¢, if only to get to experience how tacky photo-editing can be done well. Extremely well.
Got more smile-inducing apps in your arsenal? Know of a better app to create comic effects? Or maybe you want to share what you do on a bad day? There’s infinite comment space below.