Review: TiltShift

Aayush Arya
16 October, 2009
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TiltShift by Michael Krause allows you to simulate common tilt-shift photography effects on your iPhone.

Traditionally, tilt-shift photography requires a special, moveable lens that is used on a medium format or SLR camera to focus on a narrow area of a photo, while leaving the rest of the image out of focus, or blurry. The result can often give the impression that the scene is of a miniature model, instead of a full-size object.

Krause provides a number of tools within TiltShift that can be used to edit your photos to achieve this look. One of the most important things I found when using the $2.49 app was to start with the right image. The goal is to focus on narrow section of the image, so choose a photo that has a wide enough field of view to allow you room to focus on one section, while blurring the rest.

The TiltShift interface is simple, and fairly easy to understand. Once your image is chosen, a red selection area will be laid over the middle third or so of the screen (the area is a hollow oval by default, but you also have the option to change to parallel lines or a filled in space). In typical iPhone fashion, this oval can be pinched and expanded, or moved.

The area of the image inside of the oval is the part that will stay in focus; the rest of the image will become blurry. A standard slider at the bottom of the screen adjusts the amount of blur added outside the oval—just slide your finger to make the adjustment. A few basic editing options—Contrast, Brightness, and Color Saturation—are available to edit the image as well.

It’s All a Blur: The area inside the oval in TiltShift will remain in focus; everything else will become blurry.

I find that the App Store features a lot of photo apps lately that focus on doing one particular image-editing task—in this case, tilt-shift photography. The trade-off with this approach is you wind up with a number of apps on your iPhone or iPod touch that you may only use occasionally, and for a very specific purpose. Still, if a system like this works for you, TiltShift is a nicely designed app that can add an interesting look to the right photo.

[Macworld contributor Beau Colburn lives in Boston where he finds himself relying more and more on his iPhone camera for everyday photography.]

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