MobileMonet HD is an awesome painting and sketch effects app. There are a few other iOS apps out there that make your photos look like paintings, sketches, or cartoons, but MobileMonet HD has a kind of selective coloring component that really makes it stand out from the crowd. You can get this app in iTunes here: MobileMonet HD iPad app.
As with other photo apps, you start by importing a photo. In the case of MobileMonet HD, you can import a photo from your Camera Roll or paste in an image from your clipboard.
Figure 1: Start by importing a photo
But in addition to those standard photo import options, you can also sign in to your Facebook account to import photos directly from your albums there. It’s a pretty convenient feature for the many people who maintain their photo albums on Facebook.
Figures 2 and 3: Importing from Facebook albums
I would like to see an update to the app to be able to import photos from other online photo gallery services like Flickr, Smugmug, or Picasa.
Once the photo has been imported, MobileMonet HD converts it into a grayscale sketch.
Figure 4: Imported photo processed into a sketch
Using the sketch option menu, you can control the thickness of the outlines, tweak how much gray and black shading there is, and change the sketch outlines to a color other than black. Quite a few options to play around with here, just one way MobileMonet HD can unleash your creativity.
Once you’ve edited the sketch to your liking, you can then paint back in the original colors of your photo. This is where the selective coloring part comes in.
Figure 5: Painting options menu
As an example, you can do a light wash over the whole photo for a painterly effect. The more times you “paint” over an area, the stronger the colors become.
Figure 6: Painterly effect
I also liked coloring in the subject of my photo and leaving the background as a sketch, similar to the CG effects used in the ’80s music video for “Take On Me” (have I just dated myself?).
Figure 7: “Take On Me” effect
As with the sketch outlines, there are many options to play around with in the painting menu — vibrance, brightness, number of colors, softness of details, and a monochrome effect.
The vibrance, brightness, and softness options are self-explanatory. The number of colors option changes the range of colors used, likely from around 8 colors (a very low-res effect), to millions of colors (photographic effect). So if you’d like a more painting/sketch-like effect, experimenting with a lower setting for number of colors would give you that look.
Figure 8: Lowest number of colors
Figure 9: Highest number of colors
The monochrome option is not the usual “convert to black and white” option that you usually think of. This option allows you to choose a color to paint onto the canvas — red, magenta, teal, whatever you can choose from the rainbow slider. This can result in some pretty funky pictures! You could combine different monochrome pictures into an Andy Warhol-esque piece of pop art (using another app, you can’t make collages directly in MobileMonet HD):
Figure 10: Pop art kitty
The changes you make in the paint option menu applies wherever you’ve painted onto the sketch canvas. The cool thing about this is that once you’ve painted in areas of the sketch, you can immediately see how changing the option sliders affects your picture.
As with other painting apps, you can use the pinch gesture to zoom in and out on the canvas to do fine detail work around edges. There is also an option to change the size of the brush tip. You can’t change the size of the eraser, but as you zoom in on the canvas, you can more accurately erase.
Once your masterpiece is finished, MobileMonet HD has the usual exporting options to e-mail, save to the Camera Roll, or send to Facebook.
Figure 11: Save menu
The different options available in MobileMonet HD are so easy to use, but it enables you to create really rich and varied works of photo art. $1.99 is a very small price to pay for such a great app. I highly recommend it. You can get this app in iTunes here: MobileMonet HD iPad app.
Do you have a favorite app for the iPad? Let us know in the comments or on our Facebook page. Also if you have an app that you would like us to review let us know.