What is this even?

Everyone’s new favourite photo editing app! This app’s been spamming my Facebook feed for ages already. I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to photo editing though, so you’ll never see this on my Instagram (but follow me anyway!) but I’m a sucker for AI art, so I eventually caved and downloaded the app too.

According to their website:

Prisma transforms your photos into artworks using the styles of famous artists: Van Gogh, Picasso, Levitan, as well as world famous ornaments and patterns. A unique combination of neural networks and artificial intelligence helps you turn memorable moments into timeless art.

Art generating time!


Pet peeve… apps that immediately demand access. No preamble, no love, nothing. But I mean, this is a photo editing app after all, so… fine. I guess.


Super straightforward layout. Seems to only allow for square photos to be taken within the app, though. Quick check of the settings doesn’t suggest otherwise, although it does reveal a sneaky “Enable Watermarks” toggle, which I’m just going to set to Off.


As I’m not in a particularly artistic mood at the moment, I’m just going to load up the last photo I posted to Instagram… and yup, definitely only squares allowed.


Now for the most complicated bit of every photo editing app… which filter to choose? There’s a grand total of 35 art styles to choose from, each of which comes with an example of the art style rather than attempting to apply the style to a thumbnail of the image. Given the highly touted use of AI and neural nets, and the fact that it takes a couple of seconds to apply the filter each time, this is probably a wise decision.


35 filters later, some of my favourites.


This is the one I’ve seen the most on social media. Not sure if that’s just the sort of friends I have, or if it’s actually the most popular of the lot.




Love the swirls, which are a bit Van Gogh-ish, although I’m honestly not at all up on my art history so I haven’t got the foggiest as to which art style this is meant to be evocative of.




This one I know! It’s Hokusai’s The Wave, which a quick google informs me is in the ukiyo-e style. Don’t see ukiyo-e so much, as that’d be a lot flatter with crisper edges, but I love the colour palette, and the sparkly bits in the trees are quite lovely.




Dark dark Breaking Bad comic book style. Definitely got the dark down.



While I’m not 100% sold on the accuracy of the AI at recreating and applying the specific art styles to my photos, I’ve got to say the effects are definitely very cool. I suppose part of it is the compromise between rendering the art style and utterly obscuring the original image, in which case I’m glad they came down on the side of maintaining the integrity of the photo as opposed to the art.

One odd thing I found is that for the simplicity of the UI, there’s no way to get back to the camera screen from the filters short of backing out through the crop screen again. It’s not a lot of screens to go back through, but still. That seems like an odd design choice. Also, there’s no way to sort the filters, which is annoying, because my eyes are tired after endless days of digital abuse, and I just wanted to quickly find Heisenberg again…

In other news, the ability to filter video as well will be coming to Prisma soon, which is sort of mindblowing, and an Android version will be out later this month, which is a lot less mindblowing.

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