Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

App Review: FotoRus

It’s been a couple of weeks since I talked about a photo app, so you probably thought that my obsession with photos and photo apps was dying down – but no! It is alive and well, I have just been waiting for the right moment. Like now, now feels like the right moment to discuss with you an app with a few fun new features that I have found.

fotorusFotoRus is an app that does multiple things. You can create a collage, add a sticker or edit like a pro using the pro edit feature. My two favorite things about FotoRus are the Mag Library feature (InstaMag) and the PIP (photo in a photo) feature.

Mag Library

Mag Library is short for magazine library. Here you can select a magazine spread layout and add your photos. You can’t do a lot of editing, which is the downside, but if you are looking for quick and easy layouts it is a definite plus. Even when switching to Pro Edit I couldn’t get rid of a few pieces of text that I wanted to. There are a ton of fun and creative layouts to choose from.

instamag

PIP

The PIP feature allows you to create a dual picture effect. I made holiday cards this year using the snowflake picture. There are also images like camera view finders, bottles, smart phone screens and, my other personal favorite, the audio cassette. As you can see, it kind of puts the picture in the background as an out of focus image and then it highlights it inside the selected picture.

kickysmixtape

snowflake1

The App Details

Description from iTunes:

Including Professional Edit, Beauty, Special Effects, Sticker, Secret Album, and InstaMag!

【Sticker】
Apply hundreds of stickers with funny, cute and girly themes. Make your photo more expressive!

【Classic Collage】
Over 100+ Square, Portrait, Landscape, and Strips format and styles to suit all your artistic needs!

【Pro Edit】
Over a dozen powerful and must-have editing functions such as Filters, Scenes, Adjust, Lighting, Light pen, and etc! Come check it out!

【InstaBeauty】
Try our real-time beauty camera and take the perfect-looking selfie! Use our rich function sets to further edit your selfie including: Remove blemishes, whiten skin, remove eye-bag, and many more!

【InstaMag】
The most fashionable designer-style collages and posters! Easy, beautiful, with all kinds design styles to choose from.

【PIP Camera】
The most creative and professional-studio selfie with one tap of a finger! #1 in over 40 countries! Great for making your profile photos.

【Secret Album】
Protect you secret photos from others!

This app is available for both iTunes and on Google Play. It is free and there are ads.

You can also download FotoRus for your PC. I have not done this and can’t tell you how it works on the PC, sorry.

There are other apps that do some of the same things as FotoRus. For example, you can do a lot of the editing in Aviary, you can add text with Over, you can make collages with a wide variety of apps, and you can add stickers with apps like CandyCam and A Beautiful Mess. FotoRus is the only app that I have found that can do the PIP feature. And, as I mentioned, I really like the InstaMag layouts. For these features alone, I recommend this app.

For more app reviews check out the MakerSpace section or Tech Talk. Or click on the Tech Talk or App Review tag.

App Review: Image Chef

Recently, The Teen had to do a complex poetry assignment. One of the poems she had to create was a Concrete Poem, a poem that takes a shape. I would like to point out that the subject of her poem was me – go Mom! But we went looking for a way to easily create the shape poem. The most obvious answer is Tagxedo, but for me the task was an opportunity to explore new apps. This is how I stumbled upon Visual Poetry, which is a part of Image Chef. You can download Visual Poetry separately, but I highly recommend just getting all of Image Chef.

Description

“Now with video! Do amazing things with photos & text using ImageChef. Use our amazing photo and text templates, or arrange text and stickers manually. Output as images, animated GIF, or videos that you can post to Instagram.”

Image Chef is an app, but it is also an online resource as well. It is a photo manipulator, but it also does text images as well. Basically, Image Chef is a really cool resource. And, depending on what you are doing, it is really quick and easy to use. In a matter of minutes I made these three images:

imagechef1 imagechef2 imagechef3

You can do the most basic elements for free, but you have to upgrade to the Pro version to remove the watermark or get HD images. The online Pro Version costs $9.99 a week, $24 a month, $49 for months or $100 for a year. That’s a pretty steep cost in my opinion. Similarly, the app itself is free but there are in app purchases necessary to unlock the full potential of the app. However, if all you want is a quick and easy but fun visual, this is a really good starting place. It has the least amount of functionality in terms of manipulating designs, which is what makes it so quick and easy to use. So users desiring more control over the details will want to look elsewhere, but it is definitely a good starting point and a great place for fun. And it is a great place for those who want to create Memes.

It does have some GIF, animation and video options, but I have not really tried to use those yet.

Pros:

There is a large number of image options to choose from. And I do mean a large number – the publicity materials say there are “1000s”.

It is quick and easy to use.

It’s fun.

Cons:

Unless you want to pay high dollar amounts for the pro version, you are stuck with a watermark and other restrictions.

You can’t manipulate the details as much as you can on some other apps.

Bottom Line:

It’s not my go to image app, but it does some fun things that I can’t do on other apps so I am definitely a fan of the fun.

MakerSpace: Unconventional Printing

makerspaceLook, we all know that I am obsessed with photo apps and pictures of my kids. But it’s not just for me, it’s for the teens – I swear. One of my favorite teen programs I have ever done – and I have repeated it several times – is a program called Renovate Your Room. The concept is simple: teens love to decorate their rooms and I love to decorate my house, so we make stuff to decorate. It’s a fun way to get teens creating and while they do this they are engaging in self expression, creativity and more.

As I move more into a MakerSpace model with an emphasis on STEAM programming, I have added more tech to the process, but the end product is still the same: creating original artwork by teens to decorate their space. I would love to be able to create images and cut them into glass or vinyl or even wood, but that kind of equipment isn’t in my future. But I have found a variety of ways to print my images onto things other then paper to take my creations up to the next level.

The first step of the process is to get teens hands on tech to create images. You can do this using a desktop, a laptop, a tablet or a smart phone. You can use a variety of apps and programs, which I frequently review because I am in fact obsessed. To be completely honest, depending on what I am trying to create, I will often use a variety of apps. Very seldom do I produce something in just one app or program because most of the times they do different things. That’s part of the learning process, figuring out what creates what effect and deciding the best tools to use to create the final product you envision. Sometimes trial and error is involved and that’s okay.

Then, after you create your image, you have to find a way to make art out of it. The most basic thing to do of course is to print it off and frame it. But I have been exploring ways that you can take your creation to the next level with some unconventional printing.

Printing Onto Burlap

unconventionalprinting3Just by chance I stumbled across these burlap sheets that you can feed through your printer. They have a more standard burlap brown color and I bought a white burlap sheet. They came in a set of 3 sheets for under $3.00, which was a pretty reasonable price. I will say that for me, they came out crooked every. single. time. But that’s where you are forced to get innovative. I trimmed the edges to straighten my printed piece out and then fixed it with matting, Washi Tape and more.

It worked pretty well. The only thing I will say is that it works better with shapes and words as opposed to pictures with more finite detail, like faces. I think it would look amazing with silhouettes.

 

Transfer Paper, part 1

unconventionalprinting4The other day I was helping some teens on the teen areas as they set up and tried to print images on transfer paper. This was my introduction to the process and I am totally hooked. So I bought a pack of transfer paper and it comes in a pack of about 10 sheets for $10.00, basically a dollar a sheet.

I then made everyone a t-shirt. And I do mean everyone. For Thing 2’s shirt here to the left, I made my image using the Fused App. She is obsessed with The Flash and is always showing us how she runs fast like him so I incorporated that into my design. After creating my image I downloaded it and added the text using PowerPoint. I used PowerPoint because that is the program that I have on my laptop, any graphics program will do.

To make your image transfer successfully you MUST FLIP IT INTO A MIRROR IMAGE. This is incredibly important if your final creation has words or numbers. If you do not flip your image, it will come out backwards on your final project. No bueno.

Transfer Paper, part 2

unconventionalprinting2A great number of my previous Renovate Your Room projects involved Mod Podging pictures onto canvas. It works, I’m not dissing the process. BUT YOU CAN GET A BETTER FINAL RESULT if you use photo transfer paper.

In order to successfully use the transfer paper to get your image onto a canvas, you should remove the staples from the canvas and put the canvas on a flat surface so that you can get good leverage to iron your photo transfer on. Getting good leverage it very important to the transfer process. After your photo transfer is complete, you can use staple gun to staple the canvas back onto the frame.

Again, if you have words or text you’ll want to flip and do the mirror image thing. I made the canvas above using a combination of 2 apps: Aviary and Hipstamtic. I used the Eiffel Tower sticker in Aviary to create the base image and the Shangai filter in Hipstamatic to make the cloudy pastel effect. I adore this filter.

I did go ahead and Mod Podge over my final image to kind of seal everything in. I also went ahead and painted the edges to kind of blend everything together. In future planning I would size my final image so that the edges folded over the frame edges to give it that gallery frame effect.

Print Your Insta

unconventionalprinting1After finally setting up a wireless printer in my house – to practice MakerSpace stuff – I learned a very hard lesson: If you print your Instagram photos directly from your smart phone photo album they are automatically resized to 4×6 in size. This is not the effect I am going for. But do not fear, if you want the small square sized pictures – there is an app for that! Print Your Insta is a theoretically free app (more on this in a moment) that you can use to print your Instagram pics at home in a 3.5 by 3.5 size. I said theoretically free because you do have to pay for the $1.99 upgrade if you want to remove the watermark off of your photo. I do so I paid the small fee.

I have printed a large number of my Instagram pictures now and they are all over my house and I am in love. I bought a larger frame – I believe it was 16×20 – at a thrift store and made a collage of my prints which now lines my hallway. We have also created our own magnetic frames using duct tape, magnets and clear contact paper to create pics for the fridge. That process is outlined here.

Clear Vinyl Sticker Paper

This is a thing I have not yet tried, but it is right up my alley! You can buy clear vinyl sticker paper and use it to make stickers to label jars, boxes, etc. You could also make personalized candles, cups and more. There is a tutorial here, here and here.

Have fun finding creative ways to take your MakerSpace dabbling up a notch by engaging in some unconventional printing. You don’t necessarily have to buy fancy laser engravers to achieve some MakerSpace type of creations, you just need to engage in some unconventional printing and teach teens how to take that and apply it creatively to the every day objects of their lives. My library doesn’t have the space or budget for laser printers and wood engravers at this point, but we can definitely by some different types of printing mediums and help teens learn to create their digital images and then use some more traditional crafting processes to make their own creations.

And my house is looking great as I experiment and explore at home to take this information back to my teens!

Creating and Using an iPad Technology Lab as Part of a Library Teen Makerspace

As part of my teen area Makerspace, I want to buy a number of iPads. Here is some of the information I have been putting together to discuss the who, what, when, where and why of it for my library administration. The iPad can be used in a variety of ways to incorporate more technology in teen programming, from gaming to teaching things like photo manipulation and creating short films. You can also use it as a platform for your library’s social media such as Tumblr and Instagram.

makerspaceBasic iPad Information:

iPad comparison chart: http://www.apple.com/ipad/compare/#comparison-chart

This information will help you compare and contrast things like cost, storage capacity and more.

Things you can do with an iPad Tech Lab:

Teach and create a variety of photo manipulation techniques. These photos can then be used in house for display purposes, in marketing materials, and share via social media. They can be incorporated into bookmarks, posters, flyers, end cap displays and more.

  • Basic gaming
  • Create a variety of videos which can be shared and used both in house and online using apps like iMovies, Stop Motion or basic GIF apps life GIFfer.
  • Pair with the Lego Makerspace to create a variety of Lego based activities to combine tech with Lego fun. Adds variety to Lego Makerspace.
  • Produce and share music
  • Engage in social media marketing with teen audience

Apps of Interest

Basic Apps you’ll want to have downloaded: Instagram, Vine, YouTube, Tumblr, Twitter

Gaming Apps

Minecraft Pocket Edition

Price point: $6.99

The popular game brought to iPad, not a full version

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/minecraft-pocket-edition/id479516143?mt=8

For further investigation: 70 Best iPad Games New for 2015 http://www.digitaltrends.com/mobile/best-ipad-games/

Photo Manipulation Tools

GIFFER

Price point: $2.99

The animated gif app, use to make GIF or short stop motion pictures. Easily upload photos.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/giffer-the-animated-gif-app/id416952536?mt=8

App review post with examples: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2014/10/app-review-lego-makerspace-fun-giffer-using-legos-to-tell-stories-and-learn-how-to-make-gifs/

Be Funky

Price Point: Basic app is free, but I bought the additional packages which included several effects. Similarly, the basic online service is free but there is an upgrade option.

What you can do:

  • Edit your photo, including cut and paste and several beauty edits
  • Add effects
  • Add frames
  • Add text
  • Create a collage (which can be used in combination with the Pop Art effect and speech bubbles to create a graphic novel/comic book page)

Info Page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/befunky-photo-editor-collage/id442716817?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2015/05/tech-talk-app-review-befunky/

Photo Shake

Price point: $1.99

Easily upload photos and do a variety of things with them. I have used it to make book marks, grid pictures and more. Can be printed for in house use or shared on social media.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photoshake!/id389104355?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Word Foto

Price point: $1.99

Creates a word collage using a photo. I have used it to make end cap signage. Also great for sharing via social media.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/wordfoto/id414002091

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Over

Price point: $1.99

Add text to photos.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/over/id535811906?mt=8

Adobe PS Express

Price point: Free

Upload and edit photos in a variety of ways.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/adobe-photoshop-express/id331975235?mt=8

Comic Book

Price point: $2.99

Upload photos and add various embellishments to make comic book pages.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/comicbook!/id436114747?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

PocketBooth

Price point: $0.99

A mini photo booth that creates photo strips.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pocketbooth/id385145330

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Photo in Word

Price point: $0.99

Create words that are filled with your photos.

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/photo-in-word-pro/id513227128?mt=8

Previously discussed on TLT: http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2011/07/generate-marketing-creativity-with-iphone-apps/

Motion Picture Tools

Stop Motion

Price point: $0.99

Easy to use and make stop motion pictures

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/stop-motion/id552326107?mt=8

iMovie

Price point: $4.99

Make trailers and movies

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/imovie/id377298193?mt%3D8

Music Tools

Spotify

Price point: Free

Use to make book playlists

Info page: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/spotify/id324684580?mt=8

To investigate further: http://ipad.about.com/od/musical-accessories/tp/The-Best-iPad-Apps-For-Musicians.htm

Coding

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/7-apps-teaching-children-coding-anna-adam

More on Ipads in Libraries:

20 Coolest iPad Ideas for Your Library – OnlineCollege.org

Integrating iPads and Tablets into Library Services

There’s a Maker Faire in That iPad! 10 Ways to Create …

iPads in the Makerspace! | The GCAA Makerspace

 

 

For all of our tech posts, check out the Tech Talk index

Now it’s your turn: If you have other apps that you use and recommend, please share with us in the comments!