The first thing you need to know about this app is its concept: the effects and filters applied to your photos are made to “cartoonize” them. In fact, it makes your photos look like drawn (or printed) images on paper – hence the name, Paper Camera.
Paper Camera stands out among the wide sea of photography apps in the Play Store. When I first saw the real-time application of its quirky filters, I knew I was going to have fun using it. There’s a lot of potential for your photos with this app – it’s just a matter of letting your imagination take the lead.
There are a dozen effects to choose from – but first, let’s look at the basic controls for taking and editing photos. Upon opening the app, the camera is immediately ready to take a photo with a default effect (Comic Boom). Take a photo by pressing the red camera icon in the bottom right corner.
The left and right arrow keys allow you to change the effects and view them using the app’s camera. Additionally, there are controls to adjust the photo’s properties such as contrast, brightness and line thickness. You can use these editing tools before or after you take a photo.
If you want to undo all the tweaking you just did with a photo, there is a Reset button for that. The paper icon opens existing images on your phone instead of taking a photo with the camera. You can then proceed with using the app’s effects and editing tools. Once you shoot an image, a Share button appears on the top right corner of the camera’s screen so you can share it to your preferred social network.
Main app screen
Although the controls look simple enough, it can be confusing to use them at first. I was also surprised to find that there are additional options when pressing on my phone’s Menu button: zoom, send photo by e-mail, toggle flash, and share.
A tutorial for the controls would be helpful for first-time users, considering some of the icons are unlabelled.
Now for the fun part. The twelve eccentric effects are the app’s best features. I particularly like how different they are from each other and how each is unique.
This is the default effect when you open the app. It’s the closest thing you’ll get to converting your images into comic strip likeness.
Comic effect on soft toy
This effect transforms your photos into a black-and-white pencil sketch. With its contrast of light and strong strokes, it’s great for portraits and random objects.
Purse rendered in sketched effect
Aquarello reminds me of my laughable attempts at watercolor painting when I was younger. This is a high contrast, saturated effect that gives any image intensity and lots of color.
Daytime Aquarello shot
True to its name, this effect might bring back memories of your old dot matrix printer. It truly makes any image fly back to 1994.
Parked train on Old Printer effect
This effect is cool but a little bit tricky to use. I noticed it doesn’t detect soft lines and tends to work best on objects with clearly defined edges.
Coffee table clutter in Neon Cola
A more basic version of Sketch Up, this effect applies lesser, stronger pencil strokes.
Keyboard and mouse on Con Tours
A faded version of Comic Boom, this effect uses subdued colors and darker shadows.
Mug shot with Bleaching
This effect reminded me of the film Sin City. Dark and gritty, it transforms any photo into an interesting piece of art.
Beach in Gotham Noir
Light and ad-friendly, this effect can bring back any product shot to the 60′s.
7-Eleven's Big Gulp in Half Ton
This effect renders the image into a dark brown canvass, giving any image the ultimate vintage look.
Coffee shop sign in Granny's Paper
An effect that gives any image a feminine touch by retaining pastel hues. Great for flowers and other pleasant things.
Mug and pillow in Pastel Perfect
A tribute to the founder of pop art, this Andy Warhol-inspired effect is as cool today as it was decades ago.
Baby in Andy Pop
If you’re ready to take photo effects to the next level without having to worry about tweaking anything, then Paper Camera has got it all covered. With this app, there’s no need for guesswork when applying effects, as it’s immediately viewable on the Main screen. The effects themselves are also pretty impressive and definitely in a class of its own. For any photo enthusiast who wants to play with images, Paper Camera is one of the best apps to have.