capsule review

Percolator for iPhone and iPad

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Percolator

I download a lot of photography apps for my iPhone. In fact, I have three full folders of photo apps, and several more overflowing on my home screens. And those are just the ones I sync—there are lots more in my iTunes that I no longer use.

So what makes Tinrocket's Percolator hold a special place of honor on my photo-app-saturated phone? After all, it doesn’t make the camera take better pictures, make shooting images faster, or provide better photo-editing capabilities. All this special effects app does is… add circles to your photos. Yep, circles. Lots of ‘em: Little ones, big ones, different colored ones. But it’s all in a really cool retro interface with an appealing coffee motif. Plus, Percolator is a universal app that works great on the iPad. The iPad camera isn’t that good, but it is perfect for using this app, where you are likely to alter the original image beyond recognition anyway.

Percolator feels like an app that was created by a couple of retired baristas, as making an image is made to feel like brewing a fancy coffee.

Your first step is to choose a Grind, which determines the number and size of the circles you want for your image. A fine Grind results in many tiny circles; a medium or coarse Grind produces fewer circles; and thus less detail in your image. Next you choose your Brew, which adjusts how dark and blended the circles look on your creation. A light Brew generates a very light overlay of circles, while a darker Brew gives the image a much more abstract look.

Finally, you choose how to Serve your image, adjusting the final appearance. There are plenty of choices, including a Soy Cross-Perc in a Paper Cup. It’s unclear how the team at Percolator determined the look for each of these coffee-based options, but the results of the developer's "circle-packing algorithm" are certainly unique. When you're satisfied with your new image, you can export it to the Camera Roll. Images are exported as JPEGs with a maximum size of 2048 pixels. There's also in-app controls for sharing your creations via Twitter, Facebook, and email. The animated effects throughout the app are truly impressive, and it's ability to share out to social sites is very well done—the app even lets you post the effects used on your image if you want.

Percolator is not only a lot of fun, it produces some really interesting and artistic images that are unlike other special effect photo apps I’ve seen. The final result is something like a mosaic of circles, run through a French press. You can get a feel for what this app is capable of by checking out the Percolator Flickr stream—there’s some great work posted there. And while you’re browsing through Percolator images, it wouldn’t hurt to have some coffee handy.

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Percolator

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