Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

Geek is the New Black: Meme the Apps (Using iPhone apps and your photos to create memes, I rate the apps)

“How do you make your graphics?”  I get asked that question a lot.  The truth is, I use a variety of tools, including PowerPoint (for a quick image), Publisher (for posters) and sometimes GIMP (I am still not very good with this program and don’t know how to do text in it).  But you would be surprised to know how much of it I actually do on my smart phone.  It is, after all, a mini computer.  I have shared some of my favorite apps before, but today we are going to talk about apps to create Memes.  I have used these 5 apps to create memes at one time or another and here’s what I think. As Lake Library System just tweeted, “It’s Appy Hour”!

After trying several, this is the one that I prefer when I am looking to do a quick photo edit and add a simple line of text.  You can easily spin the edit wheel to change your font style, crop your picture and more.  There are not the filters that you get on Instaquote (see below), but you can tint and change the opacity of your picture.  If you are looking for quick and easy, this is a good choice. Cost: $1.99. 4 out of 5 stars and highly recommended if you are looking for quick, easy and block quotes.

Instaquote Pro
Is a Free+ app, which means some basic components of it are available for free and then you have to pay for additional features, which include backgrounds, etc.  In this case, the pictures also have a watermark unless you pay a basic fee, and nobody wants a watermark that says “Instaquote” on their pictures.  So I bought the upgrade to see what it could do.

The biggest plus is that ff you don’t want to use one of your photos, you can purchase various background packages to create cool memes.  Which, of course, is its own minus as well because it involves more fees.  You can pretty easily change fonts and font colors.  As with a lot of the apps here, you only get one text window which means you get one block quote. But it does allow you to change the color of words within a line of text so that is a bonus.  Cost: $2.99  3 out of 5 stars, great when you want a background that is not a picture you have taken (but it will cost you more).

 Made with one of the backgrounds provided in the app

Title Fx
The advantage of Title FX is that it has way more fonts (50 compared to Overs 25) and it lets you add effects like shadows and glow (you can also do this to a lesser extent in Instaquote by changing the text style).  I spent the least amount of time with this app, but you get a lot more options with number of text lines, variations in text, and the placement on the photo. So if ultimate creativity is your goal, this is a good app for you. Cost: $1.99.  Still trying to decide, around 3 stars.  It doesn’t really do anything that you can’t do in TypoInsta.

Photo in Word Pro
Some of the best signs I have ever created have been done by taking my title text and making it out of a photo.  I just found and downloaded this app and haven’t had a lot of time to play with it, but it creates some cool looking images.  I am not, however, a fan of the save feature; you save it to a WordPhoto library and then have to save it to your phone library.  For me, I would have to further manipulate the images created in another app to create a final product that I was happy with.  I like the effect it can create, but wish you could just use the text as a .png as opposed to a whole picture.  Cost: $0.99.  2 out of 5 stars, not my fave.

I had to crop this photo in PowerPoint to make it look how I wanted

Has the most diversity of all the apps here.  You can add multiple lines of text and freely manipulate them individually.  In addition. TypoInsta has its own filters and frames, so you can get the look of Instagram with text over it.  If you are looking to create Instagram type pictures with text, this is your best option, which is not surprising because it is part of the Instagram family.  The one thing I don’t like is that it is really touchy and easy to accidentally move an item while trying to manipulate something else.  All of THESE memes were made using TypoInsta, it is the app I have been using the longest.  4.5 out of 5 stars, highly recommended.

Remember the key to making good photo memes on your phone is that you first have to take good photos! 

In all of the apps you can take the photo right there or import a photo from your photo album.  So you can use other photo apps to create the best looking photos and then import them if you would like.  I am a HUGE fan of Instagram, but also like Comic Book for some projects.  And if you are a Instagram user, you might also want to try Hipstamatic, although there is a lot of additional cost involved.  I am not kidding when I say that there are more than 60,000 pictures downloaded on my computer (I had to buy an external harddrive) and over 6,000 pictures on my phone.  Mostly of Thing 1 and Thing 2 of course, but also of events and the various things I see that I think, “hmmm, I could make a meme of that.”  So there you have it, get snapping and get creative.

What are your favorite apps?  Tell us what and why in the comments.

Book Review: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Today John Green’s newest title, The Fault in Our Stars, was released.  If you have not read anything by John Green, I highly recommend that you do so.  Now.  Seriously. John Green writes realistic fiction with an authentic and gripping teen voice.  His earlier work, Looking for Alaska, won the 2006 Printz Award.  It also is amazing and I suggest you check it out if you haven’t already. (Some circles suggest that the film is supposed to be released in 2013, which would be completely cool.)

TFiOS is the story of Hazel Grace, who has a terminal case of thyroid cancer that seems to keep always just on the verge.  It begins with her mother’s admonition that she needs to attend a cancer support group because she “seems depressed.”  Here she meets one Augustus Waters, a cancer survivor and amputee.  A certified “hot guy” who is witty and charming and lives his life metaphorically.  Together the two of them go on a journey to try and meet the author of their favorite book and find answers to those nagging unanswered questions, but their journey is really a journey to find love and self in the midst of great odds. 

On the surface it seems a simple love story, but the power of John Green is the way in which he writes.  Here he presents teens as deep, thoughtful, articulate creatures struggling with what it means to live – and die.  (And yes, there are actually many deep, thoughtful, articulate teens which is part of what makes my job so amazing.)  For me, this was a 5 star read.  The characters are fully fleshed out and developed; they are compelling and you care about them.  You want to spend time with them and are sad when the story comes to an end.  And the way that Mr. Green can turn a phrase is awesome and inspiring; don’t just take my word for it, read it and discover for yourself.  This is the type of book that leaves you with a book buzz: when you are done reading it you want to shove it into the hands of every teen you encounter and say read this. Right. Now.  It is the type of books that reminds you to live an awe inspiring life.  And it makes you want to memorize words and phrases and quote them again and again.  It reminds you that “The universe wants to be noticed” (John Green, The Fault in Our Stars).

Hear John Green read Chapter 1 of The Fault in Our Stars here.

See the booktrailer for The Fault in Our stars here.

For more John Green fun, be sure to check out his Vlogs and the Nerdfighters.

So this is me saying go read this book. Right. Now.

If you like this book, you may also like If I Stay by Gayle Forman, The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, 13 Reasons Why by Jay Asher and anything by Sarah Dessen.