A while back I reviewed a handy little iPhone app called ValueViewer. It helps artists (especially plein air painters) to see, to simplify the number of values (white, grey, black) in a scene. I liked the concept but thought that the original app had some serious flaws – primarily that one couldn’t save the image that the app produced.
On April 20th, 2012, version 2.1 of ValueViewer was released. It is a winner! One can now open any image from the iPhone camera roll (or take a new photo on the spot) and most importantly save the modified image back to the camera roll. From there the image can be uploaded to a computer and printed out. This is of great value to me for generating a reference print to use in the studio.
The user interface is a bit different from the original version and maybe not quite as intuitive but with the built in Help info and a bit of practice I think it will be fine.I like that one can flip from portrait to landscape format, adjust the window to any standard canvas size and to zoom in or out with simple finger action.
My only complaint is that one can not select the number of levels displayed. You can select gray scale (“infinite” levels), Notan (two levels: black and white) or three levels (white, gray and black). I would like to be able to choose, say 5 or 9 levels. The app does allow one the flexibility to adjust the mid-point on the value scale and the range of the gray region.
In conclusion, this version (2.1) of ValueViewer kicks the app up to the “very useful and recommended” level.
I recently discovered and purchased the ValueViewer App for the iPhone. This app was endorsed by PleinAir Magazine so I figured it would be good. The premise is very good – take a photo of a scene with your iPhone camera then let the app break it down into a few values (lights and darks) so that you can rough-in the appropriate values to start a painting. Getting the values right, from the start, is a very important part step for producing a representational painting. The basic functionality of the app does allow you to capture a scene, break it down into 3 values and allows you to play around with the composition by zooming in on the image and cropping it to one of 3 common canvas/frame proportions (3:4, 4:5 & 11:14).
However, beyond the basics there is not much to this app. The following shortcomings quickly become obvious:
- can’t save the grey-scale image (so you can’t upload the image or print it)
- only 3 values (black, white and grey). I would like to see it selectable to 5, 7, 9 or 11 values
- only 3 set frame sizes (no ability for user to define others) and
- you can’t toggle between portrait and landscape orientations
I do like that there are 7 setting that allow one to adjust the scene for high or low key image. That is you can choose a 2-scale image (mainly black with a bit of grey or mainly white with a bit of grey) or five 3-tone (different proportions of black, grey and white) between these extremes.
So overall this app show promise but I’m afraid it’s not really ready for prime time – certainly not at a $4.99 price. In the current version (version 1.1 released 2011 July 22) I’m not even sure it would be up to the value of other 99 cent apps. The ad in PleinAir magazine does promise “more features coming soon” and it was on the basis of that promise that I made my purchase, to show support and provide encouragement for the developer to take this app to where it should be. It could be a very handy tool for painters working en plein air or in the studio.
Addendum: a new version (2.1) of this app was released in April 2012 – see my thoughts here.