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Tangent is a new, first-class tool for artistic iPhoneography


Many people enjoy taking pictures of their world with their iPhone. Some of these folks like to take things a step further by turning their photos into works of art. One of the newest tools for the artistic iPhoneographer is Tangent from Ben Guerrette and Pixite.

Tangent lets you apply artistic shapes, frames and patterns to your photos. The app includes 39 shapes and frames and 43 different patterns. When you launch Tangent, you are prompted to either pick a photo from your camera roll or snap a new picture with your camera. When you choose to pull a picture from your saved photos, Tangent does a nice job of picking up your default camera roll, the panoramas you have taken and all your photostream lists.

The app has a handful of default geometric and pattern effects that you can apply to the photos. The effects have an artistic flair and are highly customizable. You can drag them to place them right where you want them on your photo. You can also rotate each one and use pinch to zoom to adjust their size. When you find an effect that you like, you can customize its look before you apply it to your photo. You can add one effect per photo.

If you don't like the default set of geometric patterns that ship with the app, you can buy two expansion packs for US$0.99 each. Each set is included in the app and you can even preview them on your photos before you buy them. These premium effects are marked with "+" so you know which ones are included with the app and which ones cost extra.

Those who are more artistic can tap the "Start Fresh" button and create their own effects by selecting the shapes, colors and patterns they want to combine. Tangent has a robust set of controls that really let you get the look that you want for your photo.

The performance of Tangent was smooth and the UI was intuitive. The only quirk I found was when I was deciding which artistic shape to apply. I was able to browse through all the default effects easily, but when I clicked "Start Fresh" to check out the option for the homemade shapes, I couldn't get back to the default set of shapes without starting over. It's a minor thing and will likely only bother those people who enjoy trying out multiple options before clicking "Done" to create a finished photo.

When you are done with your creation, you have several options to share and save your photo. You can save it directly to your camera roll or send it to another app for further processing. You can share it on your social networks like Twitter, Facebook and, of course, Instagram. Lastly, there is an option to "Retangent" your photo, which sends you back to the editor to tweak your effect for a second, third or fourth time.

Tangent is a first-rate tool for creative types who enjoy working with photos. It is available in the iOS App Store for $0.99.

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