Apr 18, 2013

iPhoneography: Get That Distressed Look Easily with Distressed FX

There are a multitude of iPhone apps in the App Store that allow you to apply filters to your photo, seeming to promise to turn your photo into a work of art. Many of them produce a washed out, dull look that falls short of this promise. Distressed FX, with some experimentation, will turn a good photo into a work of art.

One of the first things that you will notice about Distressed FX that is different than most "photo filter" apps is that it you have two sets of "filters", one called "gels", which seems to be more about colors (or birds, as I'll explain later), and one called "textures", which contains textured overlays. You can pick any combination of the two and choose the strength for each. You can also choose to control brightness, contrast, and saturation to further fine-tune your artistic creation.

Although Distressed FX comes up with a square crop box, much like Instagram, cropping your photo square is entirely optional. You can leave it in it's original dimensions and it will keep those dimensions.

With all of the control, it's possible to produce a very nice looking picture, one that looks like a photo-painting hybrid. One of the gels actually just adds birds in flight to the picture, which in some photos, complements the texture. If you find yourself wanting to use a color gel and a bird gel, simply use the color gel first, save the photo to your camera roll, open that photo with Distressed FX, and then add the bird gel.

Above is one of the pictures I created with the app, using the "Dove" gel and the "Lade" texture with no tweaks to brightness, contrast, or saturation. For other ideas of what you can do, see the #distressedfx tag on Instagram.

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