Teresita Alonso: on Creating the iPhoneography App iColorama




17th of August 2016

It looks like there's a new developer for iColorama. For more information regarding the app, please connect with iColorama via their community page at Facebook

Hello Teresita, could you tell us a little about how you got started developing your own iPhoneography app? 

Firstly thank you so much for this opportunity! I think starting had a lot to do with my background: I’m an avid user of Photoshop with deep knowledge in plugins. I used the program daily while working as a web designer. At the same time, I’m also an experienced graphic programmer with almost 7 years working in the mobile industry. I think that is a perfect combination for starting to create mobile art apps. It all started back when I bought my first iPad and I felt that so much was missing:  there was no Photoshop, and none of these fantastic plugins I worked with. So I started developing iColorama, trying to fill the empty space.

iColorama is, of course, not the only app trying hard to fill the gap. iPhoneography is today a recognized form of art and its development is very accelerated with new apps coming every day and an increasing number of active creators.

What makes you really excited about expressing yourself creatively with your iPhone or iPad? 

Well, it is important to note that I don’t consider myself an iPhoneographer. Mostly my “works of art” are reduced to show coming effects in my app. Although, I try to make these pieces as beautiful as possible. Honestly, I wish I had more time for creating my own artsy images. Having said that, I consider developing the app an act of creation in itself. The styles, the algorithms, the effect combinations follow the same process that artists follow when creating composed images and collages. Besides that, programming is also considered a form of art and programming. With Apple’s devices is a fantastic experience. Apple is the best.

How did you come up with the app name?

Many years ago I used to watch a TV program dedicated to art called Colorama so I named the app because of it. There is also a company in Sweden called Colorama that sells wallpapers, the name has nothing to do with that company.


What makes iColorama a unique tool for creative expression? 

I think the diversity of effects that includes effects from simple color changes to advanced image mathematical transformations. All these effects can be combined, masked, brushed in infinite combinations. 

I also try to offer a user interface that is as simple as possible. I can’t say I have succeeded completely with that, but I always try to do my best. 

Show us a feature in iColorama that you love.

I especially love the brushes and their algorithms. I see the brushes as localized, limited shape regions where effects are applied. The potential of brushes is huge: almost an infinite combination of shapes, colors and effects just under your finger. 

I’m working hard to deliver a better brush experience in coming versions. For now, I consider the brushes very experimental, but nonetheless a beautiful and powerful experiment) I love them.

And another? 

I would not consider it a feature but iColorama is always in continuous evolution: users receive updates as soon as new features are introduced, usually every 3-4 weeks. This is also guaranteed in the future, without additional cost for the users.


What’s the most important element of a well designed iPhoneography app?

I think there are many important elements: But allowing the user to express himself in his own style is the most important. I want each creator to have the chance to differentiate, to create something personal and unique. The second most important is the flow experience: there should not be any kind of obstruction while users are engaged in their creative process (this includes a very simple and powerful user interface)

Which role do the users of iColorama have in the development of the app? 

I have direct contact with many users and periodically receive suggestions to improve the app. I respect and value these suggestions and contact very much!

I post almost daily at the community page, featuring new effects or the best artworks by users. I read every comment and I check every piece published at Instagram with the #icolorama tag. There is a flow of inspiration coming back to me from the users' creations: very often presets and effects are directly inspired from their fantastic pieces of art.

Lately some users are starting to publish their own tutorials on their blogs, I don’t have enough words of gratitude for that, it's a service highly valued by the community and they can count on me for spreading and advertising their tutorials.

And finally the nice user reviews: The latest version of iColorama version 3.1 has only 5 star reviews in USA, 5 stars 27 times! That is probably the best way to support and encourage me to continue the app development.

What would be your advice to someone who's just starting out using iColorama? 

A good start is to read the very short user guide [edit: no longer available] then search the web for tutorials and inspiration. e.g. by checking at Instagram the #icolorama tag, visit the community page at FB or just contact me directly if you need it, I’m daily available online.

What do you find to be the greatest challenges and rewards of developing your own iPhoneography app?

The greatest challenges are in the areas of performance and user interface. These are very complicated areas when going mobile; as the devices are limited in graphic power and screen size.

The biggest rewards received are the friendship with many amazing creators and the absolute joy of looking at what they are creating.


Any suggestions to others who would like to develop their own app, but don’t know where to start?

There courses available online on developing apps for iPhone. I think Stanford University has a recurring course. There is also a course of Computational Photography on Coursera that I recommend. Then there are plenty of papers and books on the subject.

All the above is worthless without the patience and perseverance that you will need to success in delivering your app. It is also important to know that writing the code is just a little part of the process: engaging your users, advertising your app and competing in the App Store is much, much harder.

Can you share any of the goals you have for iColorama during 2013?

This year started with the introduction of brushes. I will continue developing new algorithms and improving the performance and the brushes' user interface in coming versions. In the next version I will let the users define their own brushes shapes, glasses, textures, masks. I will also try to remove the gap between the iPad and the iPhone versions, especially by bringing the brushes to the last.

Finally I will put some effort in tutorials that are very necessary. I recently purchased the icolorama.com domain and I have big plans for building a tutorial site!

I thank again to you for the opportunity and I wish you very good luck with your blog and your iPhoneography teaching!

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