Soon after Instagram was released, it swept the world by storm. And many app developers are looking for ways to copy their success with photo filter apps of their own. And after thousands of failed experiments, one Japanese company may have come up with something as addicting as Instagram. It’s been downloaded over one million times in the past week and it’s taking photography to a whole new level.
The Manga-Camera app is an iOS app by Supersoftware, Inc that allows you to turn any picture that you take into a Manga comic panel. Just choose a Manga background and text, snap a picture and the app translates it to a fun…if sort of crude black and white Manga sketch. Think of it like Instagram for Manga lovers.
There are also Manga sound effects that add another dimension to the photos you create. Sure some of them are in Japanese, but that doesn’t stop them from being a lot of fun to play around with.
The Manga-Camera app is pretty cool, but it’s not perfect. For one, it’s only available on iOS (and only on the iPhone) which is unfortunate. Second of all, the Manga rendering isn’t perfect. It works best on still pictures with minimal backgrounds. Subjects that are predominantly white tend to show up looking like ghosts. Try high-contrast subjects for the best results.
And you can only use the Manga-fier with pictures you take through the Manga-Camera app. It won’t allow you to upload existing pictures from your camera roll. Nor will it let you use the front camera to take shots.
But, it seems unfair to do too much complaining as the app is free. And it’s a great way to explore your inner comic book artist despite your lack of natural talent or Photoshop skills. At the very least it’s a great way to lose an evening or two.
I smell lots of Manga photo Tumblrs, memes and profile pictures in the future. But what I’m waiting for is the cool video filter apps. That’s when the fun will really start. We could see a lot more indie films, webisodes and shorts using a cheap, accessible version of interpolated rotoscope (a la Scanner Darkly). It could even open up a new genre in the film industry.
But until then, these apps look pretty fun. If you’re not into Manga, why not try out Cartoon Camera: another popular iOS cartoon-ifying app. It turns your photos into rough Harvey Pekar-type sketches that are pretty cool and available in color.