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Textures+ – Adequate, but less than ideal tool for adding textures to your images

This version 1.1 app falls far short of providing a complete or even adequate texturing solution. Look to programs like Camera Awesome to provide better texture handling with much additional functionality until this product matures.


Version 3.0
Developer – Michael Valdez
Price – 99 cents ($3.97 with in-app texture purchases)
Rating: 2.5 of 5 stars



Bottom line:


This disappointing application has a long way to go before it can be considered a serious contender for applying textures to images. It only applies images in one blend mode, textures don’t appear to scale down for smaller images (and are therefore not useful).
by Bob Weil
A number of major image editing apps offer some level of image texturing, and several provide a really good selection of texture options. These options generally include surface textures that are applied across the entire image, and border-focused textures (such as ttv-style or “ through the viewfinder”) that add noise and vignetting around the edges of your image. A few of them even allow you to adjust the effect in some way (intensity, blend mode, etc.). But since these general purpose editing applications offer texturing as part of a more comprehensive package, it’s hard to be critical about the depth of those capabilities.
This app, however, has only one call (it’s all in the name) – to allow you to add textures to your images. And although it offers elementary cropping, saturation and image re-coloring capabilities, it falls far short of meeting its primary objective.
I should say outright that applied textures represent a significant element in my work, so I’m certainly biased toward powerful solutions in this area. I often end using “real world” paper, metal and cloth textures that I’ve photographed myself.  So any app that makes claims to being a texturing resource will get a critical assessment by me.
Here’s the interface – pretty straightforward and intuitively designed, although it would make sense to reorder the icons as follows: Crop, Brightness, Hue, Texture, Borders:

Available textures include wood, concrete, metal, grunge and texture – a total of 44 across these categories (after the two in-app purchases).
Once you apply the texture, you can use the eraser tool to the left of the texture bar to erase the effect of the texture in a particular area of the image, although you cannot adjust the softness, size or opacity of the eraser. It seems to be set at about 75%, so it takes several strokes to completely eliminate a texture element from the image.
Although not completely intuitive, you can also adjust the strength and opacity of the texture by sliding your finger right or left across the screen.
Unfortunately, I found most of the textures crude, uninteresting and generally scaled too large for images that were a crop of a full size image (in my case, 900 x 900 pixels). To be fair, the textures only worked marginally better on full size images.
When applied to images of various sizes, no scaling occurred – just compression of the texture map along the x or y axis that does not preserve the original aspect ratio of the texture.  Most textures in other products (those that are not procedural but image maps, like this one), often feature at least some textures that tend to go light in the center of the frame and get heavier toward the outside. Only a couple of textures in this selection took that approach.
Most importantly, it’s not possible to adjust angle, blend mode or position (e.g, scale beyond the size of the image). For that reason, the results it produces are undistinguished at best, and at worst, the textures detract from the image.
A few framing options are offered, but the range is limited and not adjustable by size, opacity and blend mode. In addition, there are no border textures that emulate TTVs (through the view finder) effects.
Here are some examples of the output, as seen within the interface. As mmentioned above, while opacity can be adjusted and desired texture areas erased, that’s the extent of refinement possible – really a curious limitation in a program that would seem to be positioning itself as a serious contender.
As an example of how how several more robust apps handle textures, here’s the Photoforge2 interface The program allows rotation, blending and opacity (alpha) adjustments to applied textures:

Final verdict

Keep your eye out for a future version of Textures+, but for a more fully and versatile set of texture options today, also consider programs like Camera Awesome, Camera360, VintageScene, Grungetastic, Modern Grunge, PhotoForge2 and others.

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.



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