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Mill Colour

Mill Colour

Over the past few months I’ve been working on developing professional iPhone and iPod Touch applications with a number of clients, and I wanted to mention the first one, which has had a great 6 week run at the top of the free photography apps chart.

My very first public iPhone project has been Mill Colour, for world-renowned visual effects company The Mill. The idea behind this app is to offer users a means of  manipulating their pictures in a simple way, with built-in looks. It also offers the more adventurous user direct control over the Lift, Gamma, Gain and Saturation in their picture. These controls are the same as the Colourists at The Mill would use when colour grading video footage.

An important feature of this app was to offer users a learning curve suitable to the immediacy of mobile applications. Our goal was for the user to be able to see results within roughly 30 seconds of launching, but to offer additional controls which extend the learning curve, and offer a deeper experience for those who want to invest time. To achieve this, the simple built-in looks and the more direct controls interact with each other, offering a large combinatorial set of possible ways to alter the image.

Another interesting aspect of the project was the toolset I specifically built to capture the lookup tables for the looks. Each of the looks available within the app is based on a famous advert that The Mill have graded. To capture these looks, I wrote a program which would read and write the colour values from RGB ‘ramp’ images. This allowed the Colourists to apply the same colour transform to the ramp image as they had done to the original source image. The tools then read this image back in and created a lookup table which could be applied to any image. This saved us a great deal of time in the early stages of the development process.

It has an active Flickr group, and by adding pictures to the pool, you can get entered into a competition to win time at The Mill, and get taught directly by their award-winning Colourists.

There are more applications in the pipeline, and I’ll post about them closer to the release date.

Nick Ludlam
Author
Nick Ludlam
Creative Technologist