Satromizer  – “glitching” your way to great art

This unique app is a tribute to Chicago new media artist Jon Satrom, and allows you to randomly add glitches to your artwork using vertical and horizontal finger swipes.



version 1.7
Developer – Ben Syverson
Price – $2.99 (USD)

 £1.23 (GBP)
3.5 of 5 stars

Bottom line:

Setting aside the high cost, default output resolution and lack of output adjustments/undo, this still represents a useful product to accomplish a very specific and unique effect

by Bob Weil 

2 May 2012

Satromizer is one of those apps that does only one thing, but does it well. The output it produces emulates some of the effects found in the work of Chicago new media artist Jon Satrom. You can learn more here.


Satromizer allows you to load images from your photos (or shoot a pic), and add horizontal glitches using combinations of horizontal and vertical gestures. For example, see the original below, and five variations:







As you can see below, the Satromizer interface is extremely simple – I would even say “too simple”, and not particularly intuitive. There is no undo, and image loading and saving – as well as output setting – occurs on a second screen.


I strongly recommend that before you load your image, you adjust the image output size to the maximum, while leaving the top slider (quality) at the mid-level setting. (The default for both is at mid-level, meaning your images will output at a lower res than your original). 


Then, select an image from your photos, or use the camera to take a picture. (Be aware that the camera does not save an original, so if you want a copy, hit the save button before making any adjustments). An important point – when you arrive at a look you like (or somewhat like), pause and save. You cannot adjust the degree of glitch, nor can you undo a glitch once you’ve added it.


There are really only four gestures – and only the last produces a predictable result:

1A horizontal swipe roughly places a glitch or color panel over top of your image at the place you touch. Continue until you like the result.

2. A vertical swipe seems to adjust the color of that panel, but not consistently.

3. A two fingered gesture apparently causes to horizontal effects simultaneously, but I couldn’t see a difference

4. A double tap resets the image to the original.

That’s really it – no less and no more. But the results can be fun – see below for my final version (after taking it through Tiltshift and Photoforge2 for a color bath and vignetting – and added a photographed post card from the early 1900s for visual interest):






1.Price for a single effect (with unlimited variations) is quite high at $2.99. This is really a 99 cent product
2.The default output image size and quality default to mid-level each time you load an image. 
3.Interface is not intuitive
4.There is no way to adjust the effects in any way
5.There is no undo



Wish list

1.An undo function would be ideal. 

2.Make the interface more intuitive

3.The ability to add vertical glitches as well as horizontal would enrich the product. 

4.User selected output settings should remain in place until adjusted


It may be defeating the intended spontaneity and serendipity of the product output, but if you could “cheat” and select particular types of effects, it would make the product more valuable by producing the anticipated result.

Final verdict


Satromizer is a very clever product that will remain somewhat limited in its application until more parameters can be set from within the interface. Also, Decim8 offers more ways to mangle and destroy your image – all with greater control and at a lower cost. Still, output from Satromizer is intriguing and unique – and with some patience you can stumble upon some really stunning (un)designs. 

For that reason alone (and the fact that I’m an app addict), I would have it as part of my tool kit – even overpriced as it is.



Bob Weil

Bob is the co-author of The Art of iPhone Photography (with Nicki Fitz-Gerald), published by Rocky Nook photography books and supports Nicki in managing iPhoneography Central and the associated Flickr group.