More people might be dabbling less and less with watercolor and paintbrushes these days but that has not lessened their fascination for the pictures that have been made by hand rather than snapped by a camera. Which is the reason for the popularity of a number of photo-to-picture conversion apps like Paper Camera and Cartoon Camera. However, the results of these worthies more often than not are simply scaled down versions of the photographs, making it very clear to most users that these are actual derivatives of photographs rather than freshly painted art.


Well, that’s what makes Waterlogue stand out from the photo-to-watercolor crowd. The app does come with a price tag (USD 2.99), but it delivers a lot of coloring and painting bang for those bucks. And unlike some apps of its kinds that are a bit complex to use, Waterlogue is simplicity itself. You launch the app, click on the camera icon to either take a new picture or select one that already exists on your device – one the picture has been selected, you just need to sit back and let the app weave its magic.

And it does look magical – you see your photograph being stripped down to an almost pencil sketch outline and then the app starts filling in colors. It is here that the difference between Waterlogue and other apps becomes clear – the color filling might seem ‘blobby’ to most amateurs but by the time the end result filters in, what you have is something that definitely seems to belong more to canvas territory than paper. The app gives you a number of coloring options – there are twelve styles to choose from. And you can also play around with size and brightness levels. Of course, you can share your results on your social networks (rather strangely by clicking a heart-shaped icon just beneath your picture – normally one associates that icon with marking a favorite rather than sharing) although support right now is restricted to Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr and the Sincerely service which can print your picture on a postcard and mail it anywhere in the world for a fee. No, no Facebook or Flickr support yet, but that should be on the anvil – right now, you can save the picture in the photo roll, copy it, open it in another app (Repix is one of the options, which is sort of cool, we think)


Some critics will say that the app does not give them ‘live’ painted views before they take a picture, others will say that options to tweak images are limited (you cannot add a specific color to a part of the image for instance), and still others will claim that the app costs too much for what it delivers. We would however, beg to differ. Quite simply because its results are very good indeed, especially if you are looking at landscapes or stationary objects – pictures of people still look like photographs with paint chucked on them. In our book, Waterlogue literally bridges the gap between art and photography. Worth paying almost three dollars for? We would say yes, if you like your watercolors. And don’t have time to paint or sketch.

Available from: iTunes App Store
Price: USD 2.99

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Nimish Dubey has been writing for more than a decade now (well, Windows 3.1 was around and Apple was on the verge of being finished when he started). He has been published in a number of publications including The Times of India, Mint, The Economic Times, Mid-Day and Femina on subjects that vary from tech write -ups to book reviews to music album round ups. He managed to interview Michael Schumacher once and write two books for young adults along the way.