Notable New iPad Apps: Portray

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Portray Baz

Portray is a new photo filters / effects app for the iPad (and iPhone). It’s published by the same developers who created the excellent Gradiance app, Wooji Juice. I enjoy using Gradiance so when the guys at Wooji Juice let me know that Portray was hitting the iPad App Store this week and offered me a promo code for it, I was happy to accept and take a look.

Here’s a little background on the app, via its App Store page:

Do you want to do more with your photos than just apply the same filters as everyone else? Turn your photos into stylish artwork, with Portray.
From pencil sketches to retro art prints, beautiful results appear instantly at your fingertips. You don’t need to be able to draw — but if you have artistic taste, you’ll find Portray offers far more expression than a simple photo filter. You can sculpt the results to perfection — if you’re in a hurry though, a tap is all it takes to get great results!
And no need to wait around for it to render, either — everything happens right in front of your eyes as you run your finger across the paper. You can even switch tools — say, from pencil to charcoal — and have your artwork immediately recreated in that new style.
With a choice of paper types and colour schemes as well as art styles (and many more available as optional extras), get Portray and get creative with your photos today!

I’m a big fan of photo editing and effects apps for the iPad, as I find I work with images more on the iPad than anywhere else. Portray lets you create some interesting effects and is pretty easy to use. I definitely enjoy how fast it renders and redraws as you add effects.

Baz 2

One of the first things I noticed when getting to know the app is that there’s no Undo function – which always strikes me as an essential in this sort of app. I asked the developers about this and this is there response:

No, there isn’t an undo as such — but pretty much everything you can do is reversible, for example, changing colour modes or styles is non-destructive, you can simply switch back to the old one and everything is just as you left it. If you paint, then you can use the eraser to undo it — the eraser doesn’t actually “paint white” onto the page as most apps would, it sort of… unpaints. Sucks the ink/paint back off the page layer by layer. Dragging the flow rate control (ink droplet icon) down to the minimum makes this easier to control :)

If you paint, then clear (or completely fill) the image, by holding your finger down on the eraser or paintbrush and using the pop-up menu, you can’t undo that, which is why the option is in bright warning red :)

I’d have liked to have included full undo everywhere, including for brush painting, but the app is already pushing up against the memory limits on older devices. Because it updates the painting/sketch in realtime as you pass your finger across it (instead of waiting for a slow rendering step like in many apps) it needs a lot of image data always kept around, ready to redraw the image.

I guess the trade-off there is fair enough, though I think I’d still love to see Undo added in a future update.

Another oddity I’ve noticed in the app is that it often shows an image imported from the photo library flipped upside down in the filters / work area – though it will display right-side up back on the app’s main screen. This makes it more challenging to work with some images and hopefully this will be addressed in an update soon.

Overall, I like Portray – despite those couple of complaints. I’ve found it especially fun to use to play around with some iPad wallpaper images too. It’s a keeper for me, and now has a home in my Photo Editing folder on my iPads.

Here’s an App Store link for Portray, it’s priced at $0.99.

Patrick Jordan

Founder and Editor in Chief of iPad Insight. Husband, father to a lovely daughter, Commander of the Armies of the North, dog lover (especially Labs), Austinite, former Londoner, IT consultant, huge sports nut, iPad and mobile tech blogger, mobile apps junkie.

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