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Quick Walkthrough: Spicing up iPhone screenshots with Photoforge and Photogene

Title Pic with desaturation and blur

I’ve had a couple of people (exactly two) ask me about how I create some of these JAiB review title pictures, and even though they’re no great feat, I figured I’d share my quick How-To here.

I got tired of trying to find random pictures that I thought looked good alongside the title of a review, so I thought I’d find the most iconic picture of the iPhone, the home screen, and just do some fancy pants picture of that. I’m absolute garbage with Photoshop so I’ve shied away from desktop image manipulation for the most part and have relied mainly on my iPhone to do the heavy lifting.

My best buddies in this category are Photogene and Photoforge (review here). I use Photoforge to selectively blur and de-saturate my screenshots and then use Photogene to add those neat little speech bubbles. Now you might not want to follow this walkthrough to product the same effect, but it might open you up to the cool combo effects you can create when you pass an image through multiple iPhone apps.

First of all, you’ve got to take a screenshot by pressing Home + Sleep/Wake.

1

Once you finish that, load the image up in Photoforge and set the blur effect to around 50%. If you’re unfamiliar with the app, just take a look at the screenshot to see which icon I pressed (the filter).

2

After that you can de-saturate the whole image if you like by using the Hue/Saturation slider (also in the filters section). Keep in mind that there’s also a Black & White filter in Photoforge, but I don’t like to use that since it actually seems to blur the picture a bit. Sometimes all you want to do is take away colour without sacrificing image quality, so using the saturation slider is best.

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Here’s the cool part: selectively erasing the blur and saturation effects on your picture so that a certain portion really stands out. The iPhone app ColorSplash is geared completely towards selective desaturation, but I’m happy enough with Photoforge that I don’t feel the need for another app.

I accomplish the de-saturation by using the zoom/pan tool on the top-left and pinch zooming in on the area I’d like to erase. Then I switch to the eraser tool, adjust the brush size (bottom bar, near the left), and, well, erase away. I usually have to pan around a fair bit to get a clean looking de-saturation, but it takes about 30-60 seconds at the longest. That’s what I love about these iPhone apps: they’re ridiculously powerful and fast. Once I’ve achieved the desired effect I just save the picture and load up Photogene.

4

Photogene is where I do all of that “JAiB reviews…” textboxing. The star tab holds all of the textboxes and they can easily be dragged, resized anywhere on the picture. I also like how there are choices for font and textbox colour as well. Once you’ve made your ideal sarcastic bubble comment, save the picture and it’s ready for posting wherever the heck you’d like to post it.

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Alright, that’s it. It’s a pretty specific guide, but I know at least two people might find it useful. That makes it worth it for me 🙂

Links: Photogene ($2.99), Photoforge ($2.99)

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  • Thomas, make that 3 people! 🙂 I am gonna so use this trick for my screenshots.

  • Lucion

    I thought you used the TiltShift app since I just read that review and saw the title pic for that article was part of that gallery. I was tring to figure out how to do something similar.

    Glad you finally gave up your secret, as those title pics are actually really nice.

    • This tip might has helped 200% more people than originally anticipated. Excellent! Champagne = open.

      I sometimes use TiltShift for some screenshots, but it's these two that make up my left and right hook. TiltShift is my knuckle duster to make my enemy lose focus. Errr

    • I like your tip, never thought of it. And obv, thank thomas.

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