If you happened to be on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook you might have noticed that their is a trend to post retro-ized version of photos. Its a fun trend, that I certainly enjoy. A lot of these apps are for your mobile device, which makes sense when you are on the go and want to take advantage of the camera built into you phone, but what about on you home computer? Well you certainly have your options, this week I gave an App called Lo-Fi a spin.
The program, by Wingnut, which is available for PC and Mac, installs easily and comes with a 7 day trial where it is fully operable. After day 7, if you enjoy the program, you will be asked to purchase it and it will run you $29 for a license key.
Upon firing it up, you will notice something about Lo-Fi:
The interface is a giant camera. This is something that I needed to adjust to, since I am much more accustomed to software just being software (as a PC user I am not accustomed to this whimsy in my software UI). Initially I thought, how cute, then I realized something. I am going to need to figure this out. It does not take long, the icons make sense once you get to know them, but I do wish that they were clearly labeled or that they had better roll over text to tell you exactly what you are clicking on. So I needed to do some exploring and playing around. 5 minutes later it all made sense to me and while I came to appreciate what the software does, I cannot say that I am madly in love with the camera interface. Plus I am not sure how extensible it will be for future versions of the software that might want to incorporate more social media (more on that later).
So how does it work? Easy, you drag a photo you want to modify, say this wintry scene of a Christmas Market in Vienna, into the image field on the interface.
Then you start adjusting the presets on the right. You can choose what from 3 categories and each of them has multiple presets under them, which allows for a great number of combinations. Then when you feel like the photo looks properly aged and stylized you hit save and you have your aged photo.
But wait, there’s more! The Lo-Fi App also allows you to upload your photos to social media and community sites on Flickr and Facebook, which is kind of cool if you like sharing your photos with others, and the Lo-Fi photo pool seems to be humming along on Flickr. What might terrify some is the warnings you get when you need to authorize the app to contact your account. These are the standard warnings from the site and Lo-Fi works ably in connecting to those services. Two things about this though, one I would like some Twitter integration (which is why I said they may want to rethink the interface to make more room for social buttons) and two, they should explain exactly how Lo-Fi will work with your account.
All in all, Lo-Fi has been a lot of fun to play with. I email and send photos back and fourth almost every day with family and friends and Lo-Fi will add an interesting element, giving a photo that might be slightly boring an air of nostalgia or mystery. If that is something that interests you, why not stop by the official Lo-Fi website and give the trial a try.