The iOS ecosystem is stocked with apps that let you transform your images into anything from vintage photographs to watercolor masterpieces. While it’s easy to edit your iPhone photos in just a few taps, there aren’t many options when it comes to combining multiple images together.
Union is the latest photography app by Pixite that can merge multiple images into one artistic amalgamation. The app uses masks similar to more robust image editors like Photoshop and GIMP that lets you edit and blend images together. While it might sound like a fairly complex proposition, the app incorporates easy to use drawing tools to make cutting images as simple as dragging your finger across the screen.
The Union app opens up to a very simple and flat interface reminiscent of iOS 7. Although there aren’t any tutorials to guide users, the app is straightforward. Every image you make in the Union app starts with a background. Unlike most image editing apps, there’s no option to take a new photo from the app so users can only pick out an image already shot and stored in their photo library.
After picking the background, there are a couple of options to change the aspect ratio of the picture, which ultimately decides whether your final creation is a narrow rectangle, square or something in between There are also options to fine tune it by raising the exposure, adjusting contrast, changing saturation, and shifting the color temperature.
Moving onto the foreground, this will be the part of the image that sits in front of the background. Users can move this image about and adjust all the same settings as the background plus one additional option to tweak its transparency. The real meat of the editing process is applying a mask over the foreground image. Essentially this mask goes over foreground and decides how much of it appears over the background letting users superimpose one picture over the other.
Luckily the app comes with a few nifty tools that makes the masking process touch friendly. From the masking menu, the leftmost option is a magic wand that will automatically highlight large sections of the foreground and erase it from the frame. The wand tool is useful removing large sections of the foreground from the frame. The draw and erase tools, marked by marker and eraser respectively, add a bit more fine tune control to carefully select the areas you want to remove.
There are a few other useful tools including the eye you can tap to make the entire foreground visible again. You can also turn the selection brush into a soft edged circle or square for gliding along straight shapes.
Union is a fairly robust image blending tool that’s simple to use and lightening quick despite the complexity of merging images. That said, smashing together two images or more isn’t something the typical iPhone shooter is going to do. However, if you’re in the market for such an app to create artistically blended compositions and interesting double exposures, the Union app is incredibly robust. With a little patience and a steady hand the app can turn out some really great works.
Union is an iOS app available for $1.99 in the iTunes 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.