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July 11, 2016

What is Prisma and can it really make your pics look like famous art?

by John_A

Forget about Instagram. A new photo app is all the rage right now, mostly because it’s loaded with some amazing, artsy filters.

These aren’t regular, old filters. They won’t add a nice glow to your skin in perfectly-setup selfies, nor will they make the backgrounds of your landscape photos really pop. These filters transform your images into artworks using the styles of famous artists, such as Munk and Picasso. There are other filters of famous ornaments and patterns, too, like Mondrian.

The app is called Prisma, and apart from its cool filters, which aren’t at all cheesy or cartoon-like as one might assume, its super minimalistic, clean, and easy to use. Here’s everything we know about Prisma, including how it works and where you can find it.

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What is Prisma?

Prisma is a new photo app, though it’s also being dubbed an “art filter” app. Russian programmer Alexey Moiseenkov launched Prisma in June. Ever since the app debuted, it’s been leading Apple’s App Store ranking in Russia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Moldova, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. That means it’s beating huge apps like WhatsApp and Instagram in those countries, according to app-research site AppAnnie.

The app basically lets you add artistic effects to your photos, making them appear like famous works of art. You can take a picture of your dog, for instance, and then apply a Picasso-style filter. The transformation process take just a couple seconds, and voila! From there you can save the photo or share it to social networks, including Instagram, which is something even Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev does.

At the moment, we counted 33 filters available. According to Venture Beat, Prisma’s filter algorithm uses a combination of convolutional neural networks and artificial intelligence, and it doesn’t simply apply a filter but actually scans the data in order to apply a style to a photo in a way that both works and impresses. It all sounds pretty complicated – but hey, the end result is amazing.


How does Prisma work?

Take or select a photo

Download and open the Prisma app. There is no social or engagement element, so Prisma doesn’t ask users to create an account.
The main screen is split into two, with the top half displaying the camera view, and the bottom half displaying the capture button, camera rotate button, settings button, and thumbnail of your camera roll (you can either take a photo on the fly or grab one from your roll).

Edit the photo

Once you take or select a photo, you will be brought to a screen that lets you crop the photo or rotate it. Click “next” when done.
The final screen you’ll see is for all the filters. Again, it’s split into two, with the top half showing your photo preview, and the bottom half showing filters and share buttons. Much like Instagram, filters appear at the bottom in a carousel row, and you can swipe from left to right to browse and try them. The thumbnails displayed in the filter row aren’t live but rather examples of what the filter looks like/can do. You must tap a thumbnail to apply the filter to your photo, and you’ll see the processed result above.
While applying filters, slide your finger across your photo preview to increase or decrease the filter’s effect.

Share the photo

When your ready to share, simply tap the Instagram or Facebook buttons that appear above the filter row. You’ll also see a share menu, so you can share the photo via a messaging app, email, or wherever.

Get rid of watermarks

By default, all photos have Prisma watermarks in the corner. To get rid of those, go to the Settings toggle and shut off “Enable Watermarks”. You’ll also see options to save original photos, save artworks automatically, etc.

Where is Prisma available?

Prisma is a free app available from Apple’s App Store. An Android version is scheduled for release in July 2016.

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