From March 25, 2018
I recently came across a folder of sketches and doodles from high school and college that I had held onto, and I’ve been in the process of scanning them onto my computer and compiling them into a folder on my desktop, labeled Doodles by Mike (2005-2010): The Age of Innocence #Don’tStopBelieving.
Some of them are shit or incomplete, and most of them are on loose-leaf paper, but some of them I really like. Like this one of an unnamed, totally original mouse of my own creating:
I was thinking about the ways in which I could spice up these old photos, and I thought it would be a great opportunity for me to review my new favorite app, Prisma.
Prisma is like a more advanced Instagram that gives you a bunch of artistic filters that give textured finished to your drawings or photos. It’s a great shortcut to make your work look more professional, and I would feel like I’m cheating, but honestly, I still invest a lot of time in the process. It’s just another tool to help me make my art look better.
So let me walk you through my process, and show you some of my favorite Prisma filters, so you can get an idea of whether or not this app is right for you.
First, I’ll start with a sketch like the one above. On its own, it’s funny and it gets the point across, but it’s not a finished work. It’s still pretty much just a drawing I made in high school that I scanned onto my computer, and uploaded onto the world wide web.
Next, I’ll bring it into a free, Chrome extension program I use called, SumoPaint. SumoPaint calls itself, “the best photo editing and drawing tool online.” I don’t know about all that; it’s pretty much a shitty knockoff of Adobe Photoshop 2, but it’s free. They do have a paid version, which I bought way back in like 2010 or something, but then my account stopped working for no reason so I refuse to pay for it again.
Anyway, after I bring my drawings into SumoPaint, I’ll fuck around with levels, saturation, contrast/brightness, etc., until I’m highlighting the feature I want to bring out with Prisma. I’ll usually color my drawings in SumoPaint too, but not in this case because I had already colored in this drawing way back before the iPhone was even invented.
In this case, I just raised the saturation levels:
Then, I’ll choose “Save to Cloud” in SumoPaint which will create a .PNG that I can then right click and “save image” (you have to pay to save directly to your computer…dumb). Next, I’ll upload that image to Google Drive because I’m going from my PC to my phone (remember Prisma is an app).
I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 (I know, I need an upgrade), but Prisma is on both Google Play and the App Store.
So after I upload my SumoPaint edited image to Google Drive, I’ll open up Prisma from my phone and import the image from Google Drive. Now I’m ready to get fancy and add my professional finishes to my drawing. Let’s go over some of my favorite filters.
My favorite filter, and most used filter, so far is called Marcus D – Lone Wolf, and here’s what it looks like:
It doesn’t work the best for this drawing, but this still gives you a good idea of the textures it creates and how you could manipulate this if you start off your drawing knowing that you’re going to apply this particular filter as your finish.
Next up, we have Heisenberg, which applies a police sketch style, black and white finish to your photo/drawing:
As you can see from the side by side comparison, it’s pretty much just the Marcus D – Lone Wolf filter in black and white.
Next, we have Femme, which actually works really well for this particular drawing:
And here is Comic, which is like Femme but with more contrast and pop:
I want to give a good sample size of the available filters, so here come some rapid fire ones.
We Can Do It:
Mononoke (this one works really well for this image too imo):
Tears (same here):
And finally, here’s the filter used on the feature image, which is called, Urban:
As you can see you can do quite a lot with this app, and this is just a small sample of the filters available. So let’s do a product wrap-up.
Prisma starts with a 3-day free trial, after which time it’s $19.95 for a year long subscription (which I went ahead and bought). It comes with 44 permanent artistic filters and 1 “daily” filter. The daily filter is a random filter from the “filter store” that changes everyday. That’s right you can buy additional filters, but I have yet to explore this option.
Some additional features include the ability to adjust the intensity of the filter (just like Instagram) and the ability to share your images directly on social media (which is nothing special these days).
So what’s my rating?
Well I really like this product (hence why I bought it). There’s features, I’ve yet to explore and techniques I’ve yet to try like applying multiple filters to the same drawing.
That being said, it isn’t without it’s flaws. Here are some negatives I’ve encountered so far:
1. If you have a really large or complicated image some of the filters won’t load.
2. It crashes frequently.
3. It auto-crops especially wide or tall images.
The first two might be a side-effect of my old phone, but it’s enough to knock off a star, bringing my official rating to 4 out of 5 stars.
Overall, I think that Prisma’s a really great product, and I find it especially useful. It may be that there are better/cheaper products out there that I’ve yet to discover, but for now Prisma does its job. So, if this article interested you, I encourage you to try the 3-day free trial. Just be sure to turn off the default auto-renew selection or you’ll automatically be charged the $20 at the end of your 3 days.
Also if you have any cool Prisma art, techniques, or know of other cool products that I might like, please reach out and let me know!
The end. Bye, bye now.