App of the Week: WordFoto

Title: WordFoto

Cost: $1.99

Platform:‘ iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.0 or later.

Too often innovative’ ideas are quashed’ by questions like “How will we fund that?” or “How will staff have enough time?” Inevitably, change requires a bit of sacrifice–if you are going to fund a new idea, you either have to generate more resources or take a little bit’ from somewhere else.’  Even with shifting dollars, there still might be only a small available budget.’  This is why I love apps! Apps often help you produce something new and interesting with only a small cost.’  The app I tested this week falls into the “cheap with big results” category. For only $1.99 and some patience, you can use WordFoto to generate colorful, eye-catching publicity materials.

WordFoto’ turns photos into word collages.’  With several pre-generated themes, creating a piece of art is quite simple. To start, take a picture with your iPhone or select a saved photo from your Camera Roll.’  After choosing an image, you can crop, type in words to use, and select from preset or custom styles. You can use the “Finetune” option to adjust the edge threshold, and color tolerance. I played with the options until I got the effect I desired, but WordFoto provides a more detailed description of how to adjust each setting.

I created a wordfoto’ of my library (Belgrade Community Library),’ and I was pleased with the results (see above).’  The app was easy to navigate and produced fun, unique results.’  Testing revealed that some photos and words work better than others. Close-up photos with few details’ were the most successful. Shorter, action words also’ were more effective.

There are a few things about this app that I would change.’  First, it would be really nice if I could manually shift a few of the words on the image. For example, at the bottom of my picture of the library, I really wanted the three big words to be’ Read, Discover, Create, but no matter how many times I re-rendered and fine tuned the image, I could not get that combination to appear.’  According to the FAQs on the WordFoto’ website, the developer’s are aware of this weakness and are “thinking about different ways to implement” manual placement.

The custom styles were also a bit confusing. It was unclear how to save a new custom style without changing what you have already created; tapping to edit changes the word configuration before you can adjust settings. There is also no way to rename the custom style so that you can select the correct option for a’  new picture’  (i.e. they are labeled Custom 1, Custom 2, etc.).

How can you use this app in the library?’  I used some of the art I created for my library’s Facebook cover image, but you can also use the photos to create fun posters and prints. WordFoto’ does not hold any copyright or legal claim to your art and permits printing for commercial and public use.’  The art you generate is saved at a high resolution’ (either 5MP’ or 3MP, depending on your device), allowing for quality prints. The Teen Librarian’s Tool Box suggests that you create WordFoto collages that include pictures of or by teens at the library; the art will “make a visual statement to an audience that is very visually oriented” (“Putting the “Teen” in Your Teen Space“).

For more YALSA App of the Week posts, visit the App of the Week Archive.

About Rebekah Kamp

Rebekah works as the Youth Services Librarian at the Belgrade Community Library. She enjoys designing innovative programming for children and teens. When not at the library, Rebekah is an outdoor enthusiast who loves spending time with her children camping, hiking, and exploring in Montana.
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