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Prisma Creates Art From Your Photos

Scott Davenport's picture
July 25, 2016 - 12:00pm

What Is Prisma?

Prisma is a smart phone app that re-creates your photos as works of art. It is just plain wickedly cool. The app has 36 filters today, ranging from styles of artists like Munk and Picasso to pop-art looks reminiscent of comics and anime. Prisma released in June 2016 on iOS and just entered beta on Android (July 2016). Prisma is free to download and use.

If you haven't already seen Prisma treated photos in your social media streams, you are certain to very soon.

How Does It Work?

Prisma's interface is simple and clean. You will understand how to use it in a matter of minutes. It's as simple as:

  1. Take a photo, or select one from your camera roll
  2. Optionally rotate or crop the photo
  3. Apply a filter and optionally adjust its strength
  4. Share it with the world
Select a photo in Prisma
Apply a Prisma filter
Share with the world

I really like that Prisma gives me control over the strength of the filter. Once a filter is applied, drag your finger to the left to reduce the strength, or to the right to increase it. I find for most of my photos, I'm choosing a strength in the 50% to 70% range.

The filters dynamically organize themselves based on usage. Filters you choose more often are put at the front of the list.

Saving And Sharing

After creating your work of art, Prisma can share directly to Instagram and Facebook. On iOS, it also integrates with the standard sharing methods for the likes of iMessage, Twitter and so on. By default, saved and shared photos have a small “Prisma” watermark in the lower right corner. This can be disabled in the app settings.

Prisma Settings: Auto Save Artwork and disable the watermark

Other Examples

Here's a few more examples. These filters rapidly became my favorites for portraits.

Original Photo
Tears Filter

Composition Filter
Curtain Filter

Get Prisma for free from the App Store

About the author, Scott Davenport:

I'm a San Diego based photo educator and landscape photographer and can't get enough of the ocean. I teach workshops, write books and create videos about photography. I'm also much more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it.

See more of my work at

iOS Android
Scott Davenport

It keeps endlessly “Loading styles” on my iPhone. :( 
Instant delete. I like the idea, though.

FWIW… I got a Prisma notification on my iPhone today: “Prisma has been experiencing technical difficulties. Sorry for any inconvenience caused. It'll be fine soon.” I think the Android version of Prisma went live yesterday or today… maybe their servers are inundated. 

“Prisma is a smart phone app that re-creates your photos as works of art.”

Why is a photo not a work of art before applying an effect? Why is it suddenly a work of art after applying an effect?

What is art?

Who is Art… that's what I want to know ;-) 

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