Application of the Week

#ApplicationoftheWeek – Action Snap

Action SnapI love my camera apps.  Vignette, as I’ve mentioned before, is my favourite app for taking photos.  Action Snap, though, fits a niche that Vignette doesn’t fill at the moment.

On it’s basic settings, it takes 4 photos, a fraction of a second apart.  It snaps action, as the name suggests.  It does exactly what it says on the tin.

It’s got some excellent basic effects built in for taking photos – sepia, assorted LOMO effects – and a couple of different basic layouts.  I love the standard, 4 tall, narrow pictures.

Action Snap Basic LayoutIt’ll do square photos as well, 3×3 layouts, 2×3 layouts.  Superb.  The time delay between photos is configurable as well.  It integrates into anything you’ve got for sharing things on your phone, as well as the service (which will, in addition, autopost to Twitter and Facebook).  The only drawback I’ve found is there’s no way to save the photos direct to your phone.  To achieve this, I share photos to, an app I’ve also got installed.

Yes, there are adds on the photo preview screen, but they’re not obtrusive.  Just ignore them.

This app fills a niche and fills it well.  Enjoy.

Application of the Week

Vignette, an Android Camera App (#vignette)

I’ve had an Android phone for just over a year now and the thing that amazes me most is the sheer range and diversity of the apps that are available.  There’s nothing more satisfying than finding out that your phone can enhance your life in ways you’d never have thought possible.

For a long time I stuck to the free apps, for they are many, and I’ve got some really great tools.  Tweetdeck to manage Twitter and Facebook, WordPress for my blog here, Google Sky Maps, Google Reader, Amazon’s Kindle app, Evernote.  Loads of them.  But the first app I bought was a camera app called Vignette and this remains my favourite app of them all.

Vignette Application Icon

Vignette is a camera app, taking your built-in Android phone camera and enhancing it with a wide variety of photographic effects and frames.  The free version is good up to a certain image resolution, the paid-for version is good up to the full resolution of your camera.  Trust me on this, you want the paid version.

When you fire up Vignette it gives you a slightly different view of your camera than the standard.  Down the left (or at the top) you’ve the zoom control, at the right (or at the bottom) you’ve got the actual controls for shooting mode, hardware settings, resolution, and – this is my favourite bit – frames & effects.

Kids in Lanzarotte

Vignette operates by taking the photograph and then applying the chosen effects and frames to it.  This can either be a destructive process (you don’t keep the original image) or a non-destructive process (where a copy of the original picture your camear captured is kept).  Obviously, if you’ve got the space on the memory card, you want to keep the originals.

The shooting mode screen lets you pick the usual normal photos, fixed focus shots, self-timer, the slightly annoying “steady shot” mode that waits until your camera is rock-steady before taking the photo (trying to grab a shot of something whilst holding my 9-month old boy over the weekend, I had to switch this off!) and the far more interesting time lapse, strip, grid, double-exposure and blind shots.  See?  The potential for fun is there already.  You can only pick one of these modes, so you can’t shoot blind double-exposures in time-lapse, but would you really want to?

Snow's Coming

Once you get to the Effect and frame menu you’re into really fun territory.  I recommend trying completely random to start with – random effect, random frame.  You cannot predict from one photograph to the next what you’re going to get.  It’s great.  The only problem with that is that every once in a while you will see an amazing photograph and wonder what effects were applied to make it that way – and there’s no way to work that out.  Frames you can make a good guess at (that’s a panoramic shot, or that’s the 35mm film frame) but effects?  If you can work those out then you’re better at this than me!

When you open up the effect menu the choices are overwhelming.  There’s a full list of the effects on the developer’s website:

Once you get a combination you like, you can save it to your favourites and even create a shortcut to launch Vignette with those settings pre-configured.

Oscar Charlie

There’s an active group on flickr for sharing the photos you’ve taken – it’s here: – and there are some truly beautiful photos on there.  Those in the know add the settings they’ve used on their app so you can have a reasonable chance of replicating the photographic style they’re using.

Vignette was the first app I bought, having played with the demo of the app for a day.  Not once have I regretted it.  When I’ve had questions about the app, the developers have been a joy to deal with.  They take feedback very seriously, every email goes into a tracking system so that it is not forgotten and not ignored.

The photographs dotted about this post are ones I’ve taken using the random frame / random effect setting.  I love not knowing how a picture is going to turn out, it adds a magic to the process that the move to digital cameras has lost.

One final trick that this app can do – it will apply effects to photographs you’ve already taken.  If you copy pictures from your desktop across onto your phone’s memory card you can then play with them to your heart’s content!

Some Road in Shetland