Visual Poet was originally released as an exclusive iPad app, but recently it has been released also on the iPhone/iPod Touch. As the name suggests, this is an app aimed at achieving creative results that combine two different but adjacent typologies of media: words and images. More in general, it could be a nice little tool for graphic artists who are interested in making use of their Apple devices to create something that goes a little beyond basic photography or simple writing. Alas, the app has some problem that might prevent users from truly enjoying it.
- 940 x 320 pixels resolution;
- Single three-paneled layout;
- Share via email or Tumblr;
- Use photos from Flickr, Tumblr, Google or photo library.
I have to admit, I like a lot the idea behind this app. It’s one of these little discoveries that can make using your iPad and iPhone a lot more creative and entertaining. I said “can”, but I should more appropriately write “could”. Because, as I said, the idea is good, but the way it was carried out leaves a lot to be desired.
Visual Poet is not strictly a photography app, however it has a lot to do with photos and their employment. Thus, the first issue is that the resolution of the final image is not that great in the current version of Visual Poet. More features should also be added to widen the possibilities of the app and obtain more varied outcomes. For instance, a few features that would make this app better are: less sketchy interface; more layouts to choose from; flipping and rotating of the photos to adjust them to the layout; more options for editing the text and make it easier to fit it in.
Apart from these considerations, how does the app actually work?
At first, you have three panels which you have to fill with pictures, either taken from your personal library or from services like Flickr, Tumblr, Google — depending on the service, you can browse by terms or interestingness factors, or you can specify the user from which you want to get the photos. Once you define your preferences, you are either redirected to your library or to a screen where images from one of the external services are being loaded. If you want to use the external services, be prepared to accept loading times that can be very unnerving. After the right image is chosen, you can select a square area from it that you want to appear on your visual poetry file. Only enlarging and shrinking of this area is allowed though, nothing else. After that, you can add your own text, which will be displayed in a magnet poetry style. You are given two different sizes for your text: by choosing smaller size, when you try to move it close to right border, it always shows an annoying little gap between text and border, so if you want them to merge properly you cannot achieve the right effect — this doesn’t happen with large text size.
You basically have to do the same for all three panels, and then you can also input info as your visual poetry’s title and additional comments. You can then share by email or post on tumblr.
As I said, the idea for this app is really nice, but a little more refinement is absolutely required to make it more usable and flexible, otherwise Visual Poet is destined to remain one of these curious apps that nobody truly wants to use after a couple of times.
Name: Visual Poet
Developer: Patrick McNally
Compatibility: iPhone, iPod Touch. iOS 3.2 or later.