Ever since Instagram made image filters all the rage, there’s been a steady stream of copycat apps. Each promises to add an artistic flourish with filters, but after everything has been posted on Facebook—it all pretty much looks like the same. Stackables is a new iOS app by Samer Azzam that aims to take image filters to the next level with layering effects and blending styles.
Stackables opens to a very visual splash screen featuring six icons without any text. Luckily, the two most important photo-editing features are prominently displayed as large tiles. The camera tile, as you might suspect, launches the iPhone’s standard camera app, letting users take a quick snap before adding filters immediately after. Meanwhile, the picture frame icon opens up the image folder to post-process older images.
After selecting the image, Stackables will turn over to a much busier interface complete with three menu bars, image effects, and Photoshop like layers. Much like other image filtering, Stackables lets mobile photographers add a variety of elements like grungy textures, light leaks, vintage, simulated bokeh and blur, abstract weather, and painted grains. And the list of styling options only goes on and on, tallying up to a mind-boggling 150 total.
The key difference to Stackables is users can apply more than just one effect. Unlike Instagram and other similarly style apps, Stackables lets you mix and blend multiple styles together much like a multi-layered Photoshop file. What’s more, users can fine-tune the opacity of each layer to change the intensity of the filters or remove them. If it’s all a little overwhelming, you can also elect to use the 23 preset formulas, some of which incorporate 13 different combined filters and settings. Users can save their own fine-tuned image-effect combos into custom formulas.
Unfortunately, we ran into consistent crashing problems in our time with the app. When we tested the it on an iPhone 4S, Stackables crashed every time we tried to save photos to the image folder. We only got it to work once with Twitter and that image had a single filter. Otherwise the app would just die trying to send the photo anywhere else including Facebook and email.
Perhaps we ran into a string of problems unique to older iOS devices but otherwise Stackables wins with flying colors. It turns hipster image filters into artistic work, all with the speed and simple ease you’d expect from a mobile app. It’s just a shame that it didn’t work for us, but perhaps this bug will be fixed in a future update. Until then, though, Stackables is worth a look especially if you’re over Mayfair Instagram filter as much as we are.
Stackables is an iOS app available for $0.99 for a “limited time” in the App Store.
Kevin Lee is a freelance writer who types all day and listens to his ever-expanding music library. Follow Kevin Lee on Twitter at @baggingspam.