MonoPhix 3 – Development announcement

MonoPhix 2 for iPhone has been there nearly unchanged for 9 months now. It was and still is a great black & white app that offers features no other black & white app provides. But it should progress in time and could definitely use a few extra features. So while everyone was happily using MonoPhix on the iPhone but cursing its small preview size and its UI, we were developing another branch of MonoPhix named MonoPhix HD for iPad. The iPad version basically served as an incubator for many new features which a black & white app could use. And now we are ready to port all these amazing new features and improvements back to the iPhone version, along with a brand new UI.

Where MonoPhix for iPhone has been damned for its UI which is basically a touch friendly version of our old 36-image express for windows UI, MonoPhix HD has been praised for its sleekness and intuitivity with its leather/wood interface. We’ve been looking to improve the UI for a long time now, but why search when you’ve already found it. We’re just going to miniaturize the MonoPhix HD UI and optimize it for the smaller iPhone’s screen.

On the featureside we’re going to implement all features the HD version has. So these additional features contain:
-Custom coloring
-Burned and bleached vignetting
-Exposure enhancements
-Ability to blend with the original picture
-Noise/Grain generation
-Quantization
-Color inverse switch

Along with these new features MonoPhix 3 will also be equipped with the faster and more qualitative MonoCore3 monochrome filter. Which improves the output quality by factor 8 and the speed by factor 5. These improvements will also make your iPhone’s battery last longer because the new filter requires 10 times less CPU power and 30 times less memory.

And we haven’t forgotten that iOS advanced to version 4, so MonoPhix 3 will support the retina display of the iPhone 4 and will support multitasking.

MonoPhix 3 will be a free update for existing MonoPhix 2 owners. We aren’t going to do any statements about the pricing yet.

MonoPhix 3 should arrive somewhere in the next few months if all goes well.

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MonoPhix now has its own Facebook page!

People who use our Black & White photography apps for iPhone/ipad, MonoPhix and MonoPhix HD, can now get updates, post pictures and share their thoughts on our brand new MonoPhix Facebook fan page.

To join, just visit the facebook fan page and click the ‘like’ button. (Link)

MonoCore 3, a new Hicon Mono filter for MonoPhix. (iPad/iPhone-App)

A lot of people have used our MonoPhix 2.0 for iPhone and it’s the favorite black & white app for people who like a bit of noise in a monochrome picture to get a certain vintage feel. But people who want smooth black and white always jumped to other apps with less control over the results and less functionality. Now MonoPhix will also get more smooth results without losing speed or control and without losing the old grainy filter, with MonoCore 3.0.

MonoCore 3.0 is the name of the Monochrome filter which will be used in the next generation of MonoPhix apps (MonoPhix HD for iPad, MonoPhix 3.0 for iPhone and MonoPhix Lite 3.0 for iPhone), it will be faster, provide higher quality results and will be even more adjustable. And for the grain lovers there will be the ability to choose for the old MonoPhix 2 filter.

Here are some comparisons between the black & white filter in MonoPhix 2 and the one in MonoPhix 3 and MonoPhix HD for iPad :

Time needed for certain actions on a 2.040x1.536 image - MonoCore 2 vs. MonoCore 3 (Measured on an iPad)

Time needed for certain actions on a 2.040x1.536 image - MonoCore 2 vs. MonoCore 3 (Measured on an iPad)

Quality in Bytes/Pixel on a 2.040x1.536 image (Measured on an iPad)

Quality in Bytes/Pixel on a 2.040x1.536 image (Measured on an iPad)

But of course it’s better to give a picture result of the quality changes, this image was processed with the development build of MonoPhix HD for iPad, the first image was generated with the MonoCore 2 filter also present in MonoPhix 2 for iPhone, the second image is filtered with MonoCore 3. As you will see the transitions are much smoother in MonoCore 3 and the details are preserved much better, while maintaining the depth of MonoCore 2.

MonoCore2 Result

MonoCore2 Result

MonoCore3 Result

MonoCore3 Result

MonoCore2 Detail Result

MonoCore2 Detail Result

MonoCore3 Detail Result

MonoCore3 Detail Result

FlashPhix 2.2, release and workshops!

NOTE: After some issues the right version of FlashPhix finally hit the App Store (version 2.2) or download below.

Today our FlashPhix 2.2 for iPhone hit the App Store, it’s probably the app I’ve been the most excited about in a long time!

FlashPhix 2.2 may seem like a small update, but 3 small buttons bring incredible new features to this app. In the “advanced lighting” you can now find 3 buttons to control the color of your lighting to the detail. So now you can alter dark and light tones separately and for each of these two tones you can change the Red, Green and Blue values as well (or combine them).

You can download it here : FlashPhix - Flash & Exposure Fix

To prove the possibilities of FlashPhix 2.2 we will supply some workshops here to create certain (more customizable) effects similar to the effects from other great but more expensive apps :

Here’s a list of all tutorials :

  • Grim Sepia – Spooky Sepia Effects (1 min.)
  • Silver – Camerabag silver filter look-a-like (1 min.)
  • Toy Cat – Toy Camera look (1 min.)
  • Golden Waterfall – High Contrasting colors (1 min. – 3 min.)
  • Evening Orange Sky – Change a bright blue sky to evening orange (2-5 min.)

Note: For most of these tutorials you’ll need to access the “Advanced Lighting” panel, which appears in the middle of the screen at the bottom of your image after opening one. Here’s how the button looks :

1. Grim Sepia :

Sepia images are often used to get an old look, but did you know that you can also make your pictures really spooky with those grim brown effects? Here’s how to do this in FlashPhix :

-Use the camera of the iPhone (or a camera app of choice eg. Pro Camera, Camera Genius, …) to take a picture of something that already has this grim feel to it. An old shed, a grim looking tree, a forest in winter, …

For our example, we’ll use the second one, a picture of a spooky looking tree. Which can be downloaded here (GrimSepia_base). Open the image in FlashPhix 2.2.

Now you should get this :

-Now you should open the “Advanced Lighting” panel as described above. You’ll see some slider, 3 colored buttons and a preview.

-First of all, and this is the most important step, we’ll need to filter out red tones, so tap the “Red Channel” button once, it should turn gray. Leave the other buttons as they are. Like this :

-Now we’ll work the sliders, set the “Light” slider to about +44% you can check the value on the left of the slider, it has to read “44”. Do the same for the “Shadow” slider, but set this one to about +66% or “66”. Like this :

-Now set the “Global” slider to about -10% or “-10” this will make the image a little bit darker, but not too much.
Note¬† that it’s important that you do this after you changed the other sliders! The Global Lighting slider changes the base exposure and when you do it the other way around you will get a different result.

Your screen should look like this now :

Now tap “Apply” and save your image using the harddisk icon in the top left corner. It will now be saved to the camera roll. Wait until you get a confirmation that your image has been saved and now you can either quit FlashPhix by pressing the home button or press the “Return” button in the upper right corner to start all over and try some other settings. Your final image should look something like this :

2. Silver :

There’s a new great filter in camerabag called “Silver” and you can get a similar like effect in FlashPhix 2.1, but let’s call it “Silver with red” as the blue tones are replaced with red-like tones. These can be corrected by processing the image again, but we’ll only handle the FlashPhix silver effect.

For this workshop you can use any image, but images with big bright surfaces work best. Like images with a bright blue sky or snow as in the image we’re going to use. You can download it here : Silver_base (It’s rotated 90 degrees, WordPress did that, so you’ll have to put it back in portrait mode)

We won’t handle the opening procedure in this workshop, so if you want to know how to open an image and go to the “Advanced Lighting”-Dialog, check the first workshop. So we’ll skip to the actual filter settings.

-In the “Advanced Lighting” dialog, Disable the “Blue” channel by tapping it.

-Slide the “Light” slider to +100%, So it should read “100” on the right of the slider, this will give the light parts on the preview image a yellow glow.

-Slide the “Shadow” slider to a value between +70% and +100%. We’ll go for 71%, but according to your likes you can make the shadows darker or brighter. The darker the shadows, the more you will remove all non blue colors from the picture as well.

So the screen should look something like this :

Now tap “Apply” and Save your image using the save icon, the result should look like this :

3. Toy Cat :

Toy Camera’s are fun and with FlashPhix 2.2 you can get similar toy like effects. Here I’m going to show you how to achieve those on for example your pets to turn them into Toy pets.

For this workshop I’m going to use this image : ToyCat_base. But you can use any image, it looks great on light coloured pets and pictures of yellowish/gray buildings.

-Open your image as explained in the first tutorial and open the “Advanced Lighting” dialog.

-Disable the Red and Blue channels by tapping the “Red Channel” and the “Blue Channel” button, they should turn gray. We only need the “Green channel” to be active for this.

-Set the “Shadow” slider to about +60% to +80%, I’m going for +64% or “64”.

-Set the “Light” slider to about +40% (“40”).

-You can mess around a little bit with the channel buttons according to the Toy effect you want.

So the screen should look something like this :

Now tap “Apply” and Save your image using the save icon, the result should look like this :

4. Golden Waterfall :

High contrasting colors always make amazing pictures and create a high depth and great texture. You achieve this as well with FlashPhix 2.2 and a great example is our Golden Waterfall example. This is truly something that can only be achieved with the waterfall picture or by preprocessing other image to bring out clouds or other light objects against a dark background. You can do this by opening eg. a picture of blue sky with white clouds and open “Advanced Lighting” and pull the “Shadow” and the “Lighting” slider to the same positive amount. In this way you’ll increase contrast. After a save you can use that image again for this tutorial. But we are going to use a great image for this, the waterfall. This picture is great for this as the waterfall contains pure white and the rocks are quite dark. Here’s the image : DarkWaterfall_Base

-Open an image and open the “Advanced Lighting”-dialog as described in workshop 1.

-First we’re simply going to disable the “Blue Channel” by tapping it, it should turn gray. This will remove the blue from the white water and bring out the darkness in the rocks in this case.

-Now drag both the “Light” and “Shadow” sliders to +100% or the maximum (far right). This will increase the contrast dramatically and hence create the beautiful effect of the gold water on the dark blue stones.

So the screen should look something like this :

Now tap “Apply” and Save your image using the save icon, the result should look like this :

5. Evening Orange Sky :

When you think of a “flash” app, you think of an app that adjusts the brightness of a picture, making it a little brighter so 6AM looks like 9AM. But FlashPhix 2.2 can actually make a 12AM picture look like a 9PM summer evening. You know those evenings on which you are in your garden and the sky turns orange and you still feel the warmth on your face as the sun disappears behind the horizon. There really isn’t an app that can create that atmosphere, except for FlashPhix 2.1 of course…

You can use any sky image for this with a bright blue sky and a slightly darker landscape. If your landscape is too bright you can shift both sliders in the “Advanced Lighting” dialog to the right, tap apply, save and reopen the saved image to fix this, but we are going to keep our hands of the contrast preprocessing in this tutorial as the base picture we are going to use in this tutorial is perfect. Here it is : EveningOrangeSky_Base.

-Open an image and open the “Advanced Lighting”-dialog as described in workshop 1.

-First we’re going to disable all channels but the red one, so tap “Green Channel” and “Blue Channel” until they are grayed out and keep the “Red Channel” button red, by not touching it. This is necessary to get a red glow in the sky.

-Drag the “Light” slider to +100% (“100” or far right) to bring out the red horizon.

-Drag the “Shadow” slider to about +40% (“40”), this will darken the landscape to simulate the summer evening shadows.

-We are going to keep our hands of the global slider as this is all a matter of contrast, you can slightly lower the global sldier value though to simulate nightfall even more. But don’t push it to less than -15% (“-15”)

So the screen should look something like this :

Now tap “Apply” and Save your image using the save icon, the result should look like this :

If you have any question or have a great workshop or technique yourself you can always reply to this post.

Indie Relief, iPhone developers donate revenue to Haiti on 20/01

On Tuesday 12 January 2010, Haiti was hit by an earthquake which destroyed the capital Port-au-prince completely, left millions homeless and made more than a hundred thousand deadly victims. The people who are left behind can use all the support they need and therefore the world is coming into action. That includes the independent iPhone developers community and therefore we and over 60 other iPhone and Mac developers have decided to donate all revenue our apps generate on the 20th of January 2010 to a good cause which is currently aiding the Haitian people.

All our paid app’s revenue on the 20th of January will hence be donated to “Artsen zonder Grenzen”, the Belgian variant of doctors without borders. In this way we can relieve the pain of the Haitian people at least a little bit.

Alone we won’t make much of difference, but all together we can make a huge difference and try to aid this country in need.

So if you decide to buy one of our Apps, do this on the 20th of January 2010.

Here you can find a list of all our apps :  UIC Phoenxsoftware

And here you can find a link to the indie relief website which lists all involved developers and apps:

MonoPhix lite now available for free in App Store!

MonoPhix (App Store Link) has been one of the most evolved -Phix apps we built to date. When something is finally rich in features, you can cut some features away and make it available for free and that’s what we did. With MonoPhix lite (App Store Link) you can now finally enjoy high contrast adjustable black & white filtering for free on your iPhone or iPod Touch.

MonoPhix lite is practically the same as MonoPhix, it converts your iPhone’s pictures to Monochrome at full resolution, but with a few changes :
-The sliders which enabled you to control light and dark shades separately have now been merged into one contrast slider
-The Presets to set the depth or contrast with one touch are missing
-The ability to use sepia and antique filters in addition to the black & white filter are missing
-There’s an ad displayed in the startup screen to allow people to upgrade to full MonoPhix

MonoPhix lite 2.0 Screenshot

MonoPhix lite 2.0 Screenshot

FlashPhix 2.0 Beta #1 the results!

At the moment we are developing a new version of an iPhone app that needs updating, FlashPhix. We’re still testing and tweaking, but the results look promising although some of the filters take up to 20 seconds to be completed.

But here’s small gallery of the resulting pictures :

If any of you want to test FlashPhix 2.0 and aid in its development, please comment.