8Bit Photo Lab is a free app that allows you to adjust the color, resolution, and dithering of your photo to give it the look of the pixilated screens from the 80s. There are several pre-set filters to get you started including filters that mimic the look of the green screened Commodore, the sepia tones of a Gameboy, or even the multicolor output of the Apple II. I felt like I was back in grade school playing Tass Times in Tonetown on the old Apple IIe. Browse the slideshow to see my examples some effects.
In addition to the pre-set filters, there are a wide variety of controls so you can continue to manipulate the color, resolution, and dithering. You can even introduce the banding of a CRT screen and some image glitching. It is fun to try out the different controls to see how it changes your image.
The editing interface is very easy to use. When you are done, you can save your images to your device or share them out on social media.
The free app is probably good enough for you photo dabblers out there. For the rest of you, you might want to upgrade to the pro version for a mere $2.49. This gives you a bunch more presets, pallets, and effects, as well as more control over the settings. The pro version also gives you a higher output resolution.
Other Apps by Ilxia
Mosaic Art Lab is, again, a free app with pro upgrades available for $4.49. The interface is similar and as easy to use as 8Bit Photo Lab and Mirror Lab. One of the features I like in Mosaic Art Lab is the Random button. The Random button will select a random image on your device and apply a random filter. Using it you tend to get some amazing happy accidents.
In the Classroom
In the post about Mirror Lab, I listed several ways you could use the app in the classroom. For example…
- Explore the different filters and have your students all create a different image based off of one starter image.
- Build student visual literacy skills and have students create images based on different emotions. Have them write about why each image represents each emotion. Make sure they use their visual vocabulary.
Those ideas hold true for both of these apps as well. You could also…
- Create some of your own images and have the students use them as starter images for stories, poems, or musical compositions.
- 8 Bit Lab would be a great tool for having students create images that go along with their favorite sci-fi stories.
- App-smash and try using a combination of the three apps to layer on special effects. Granted, this is also a great time to discuss the trap of over-editing an image.
For me, anything that gets your students taking and editing photos while building their creativity is fantastic!
Ilxia has developed a wonderful suite of editing apps that are fun and easy to use. Whether you use them in the classroom or use them to create your own art, they are all worth exploring. Download them all today and start creating! Share your art in the comments. I’d love to see what you and your students create.