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What is Prisma? How to get the most out of the hottest new photography app

There are an innumerable amount of photography apps letting users add effects and stickers to their snaps out there, but one new offering, Prisma, has caught people’s attention with its take on the filter game.

It’s responsible for those heavily stylised, painterly or ethereal images you’ve started seeing crop up in your social feeds and it’s a lot of fun to use. The app is presently iOS-only, but developers Prisma Labs, Inc. say that an Android version and video support aren’t far behind.

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When you first open Prisma up (after allowing it access to your camera and photos for the first time) you’ll be presented with the viewfinder. From here can toggle through flash mode (on, off or auto), flip between your phone’s front and rear cameras and jump into the app’s settings.

By default the app adds a ‘Prisma’ watermark in the bottom left corner of each shot, but from here you can switch that off, have the app automatically save artwork and save your original, unedited snaps taken within the app if you so wish too.

The simple 1:1 viewfinder aspect ratio suggests that Prisma was made to put those humble Instagram filters to shame, and capturing a shot is as simple as tapping the circular shutter button beneath it. You can also tap on the gallery icon in the bottom right corner of the screen to use an existing picture from your photographs, just remember that standard 4:3 or 16:9 shots will also get cropped down to a 1:1 Prisma image in the end.

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Once you’ve got a snap that takes your fancy, you can then bring it onto the creation screen, where there are a ton of effects to choose from. Prisma’s filter gallery uses artificial intelligence to process your images into famous art styles, giving them a look as if they have been painted by the likes of Piet Mondrian, Picasso or Roy Lichtenstein.

Dragging from left to right across the image also alters the value of the effect, but we’d recommend sticking with 100 per cent for most filters as it creates the most striking results. Once you’re happy with the final image, you have the option to share it directly to Instagram or Facebook, or share it out using the conventional share menu. This is also where you can save your image to your gallery (if you don’t have the automatic setting turned on).

Prisma tips and tricks

It’s a good idea to pick shots with high contrast values, as it’ll make it easier for the app to pick out edges and details. A well-lit subject against a dark background will make the resultant Prisma image all the more striking.

Faces are always good subjects to work with, as it’s still easy to pick out features and details no matter how heavy you go with the filters.

Prisma effect percentage

Click to enlarge

Laying more of the same filter on an image you’ve already run through Prisma once or more, only emphasises the effect and can result in an even better looking, stylised result too.

You can download Prisma from the App Store right now and we'll update this feature with a link once it arrives on Android too.

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