August 3, 2010 | by Lars Aronsson
We recently had an Android camera app shoot-out here at Androinica, and we’ve also reviewed the both powerful and popular camera application Vignette. Another interesting piece of camera software for Android that can be added to the list is Camera Illusion.
Some time ago, a couple of my friends and I joked about how neat it would be if we had video glasses that applied a real-time filter that made the world look animated – similar to the effect that is used in Richard Linklater’s 2006 film A Scanner Darkly. With the recent advancements in head-mounted displays and augmented reality, I thought the notion soon would be quite plausible. And when I discovered Camera Illusion, that’s almost what I got.
Because unlike most other camera apps for Android, Camera Illusion applies its effects in real-time, so you’ll instantly know what your pictures will look like. If you view your surroundings through Camera Illusion, you can indeed make the world appear animated. When you first start the app, you’re greeted by what your camera sees, with four buttons on top: one turns on your LED, one applies a random effect/filter combination, one lets you manually select which effects to use and the final button simply snaps a photo.
The deal with Camera Illusion is of course the illusion part, and the app has some cool and pretty unique filters. There are a few artistic ones, such as pencil, chalk and oil – all of which will make your photos appear drawn by hand, more or less. Some filters have a retro and kind of nerdy vibe to them, like ascii art and comic (one of my favorites).
The black & white filter provides a slick effect that looks inspired by some of the recent movies based on graphic novels (or The Godfather posters): it in fact transforms everything to either black or white. Then of course Camera Illusion has the usual set of filters, like sepia and mono (grayscale).
The app also lets you choose from 13 different effects that can be added on top of the filters to further distort your images. Highlights include fisheye, tall, fat, rough glass and the somewhat eerie light tunnel. It’s when you combine the filters and the effects that you can get truly otherworldly results, which on the other hand rarely have any practical use. The application lets you add masks (i.e. photo frames) as well, similar to those available on many camera dumbphones.
All in all, Camera Illusion is an app that can be quite fun to play around with, and I recommend all camera enthusiasts out there to give it a try. I got pretty geeked out when I first tested it. The app has one major drawback, though: it currently only allows a max resolution of 800 x 480 pixels. That’s fine for sharing images with friends and on the web, but not for printing. Check out the gallery at the bottom of the post for sample photos. There’s an ad-free Pro version available as well for $2.96.
- Applies effects and filters in real-time
- Unusual and interesting set of filters
- Can take photos with the hardware volume keys
- It’s free
- The interface is a bit dull: it would benefit from being more stylish
- Since the effects are instantly applied, the app can be slow at times, especially on older Android phones
- It should let you save favorite combos for quick access
- Some effects are pretty out there and have little practical use
- Max resolution 800×480
App: Camera Illusion