iPhoneography App: Tangent, Geometric Creativity!

An iPhoneography App Tutorial by David Hayes

A fairly new app that has everyone’s attention at the moment is Tangent. Developed by Ben Guerrette and available as an iPad and iPhone app, Tangent utilizes geometric shapes and colors to transform your images into something new! I’ve just started to play with this app and I thought it would be fun to use this as this month’s topic. I won’t guarantee that what I’ve created is “art”…but I did have a good time putting this together.


A quick tour around the opening screen to start things off! The Picture icon (A) takes you to your Albums. The Camera icon (B) opens your camera app so you can capture a new image. The Light bulb icon takes you to an in-app gallery of images created with Tangent…a great way to jump-start your creativity if you need it. Finally, the “I” icon (C) takes you to an information screen which is good to take a look at before you start. So let’s go there!


When the info window opens, scroll down to about mid-point. Here you’ll find this icon key for all the controls you’ll use while in Tangent. I won’t be using them all in this article, but do give each of them a try while using this app!


So…I’ve skipped showing you a step here just to get things going. After looking at the Info screen, click on the X icon at the top right. That will take you back to the first screen. Here I clicked on the Picture icon and from my Camera Roll brought in this stock image of a full moon.

Let’s take another quick tour around this screen. +New at the top left will take you back to the Open Screen so you can get a new image. Done at the top right will take you to the Save/Share screens as well as a nifty option that I will show you later. At the bottom are two choices. Start Fresh and Use Style. Start Fresh lets you apply any of the Shapes, Fills, Blends and Colors as you wish. This is the option I’ll be using this time. Use Style will apply any of the preset styles displayed in the scroll bar that I’ve circled.


I’ve picked four styles to show and put them together in this foursome I created using another app, Diptic. They’re okay…but what’s the fun in using someone else’s style?


Instead of clicking Save Style, I clicked Start Fresh! This dropped the Style bar and gave me this control Panel. Left to right: Shapes, Fills, and Blends & Colors. You can use these controls in any order you wish as well as go back and forth making changes without disturbing what you’ve done in the other controls. I like working left to right…so I’ll start with Shapes!


Clicking on the Shape icon opens this menu. I’ve circled the shape options available to you on the slider menu. Go ahead…play around with them all before choosing one! The slider bar below this adjusts the translucency of the shape and the green Check applies the shape to your work. I’ve chosen S20 that you can see in this screen shot. Just above the shape box are the Invert, Rotate, and Toggle controls. I’ll use those next.


You might not see this…but I did try out all the controls before settling on Rotate and moved my shape around to the bottom of my image. All done here, I clicked on the green Check icon to move to the next control.

t8  Next up…Fills! This one is fun to use!!


Speeding things up a bit…in Fills I picked “P16” (A), adjusted the translucency as indicated (B).  I like the way this fill makes my shape look like a cityscape. Next, I’ll use the Invert function to add some details to this.


Clicking on the Invert function (A) gives me the effect of windows in my city buildings. Now I have a full moon rising behind my city. Things are happening!! Done with this step, I clicked on the green Check.


Let’s do a little blending and add some color to this composition. Clicking on the last icon will take me to…


…the options available in this function. While there are not as many choices in this menu, each gives a different feel to your work. The “B” icons are your blending choices (A) and the sliding color bar applies colors to your shape/fills. Again, don’t be afraid to try them all out to find the perfect fit. This time around, I went with “B3” as my blend mode and the blue color indicated (B). As before, I clicked the green Check icon to apply these effects.


At this point you could go back and make adjustments/changes to your Shapes, Fills, Blends & Colors…or you could click on Done at the top right corner and then save your creation. OR…there is another option!!

t14 Go ahead, click on Done. When this screen opens, instead of clicking Save…click on Retangent. What this does is cool! You’ll keep everything you’ve done in the “first round” and now can build on top of it with a whole new set of…everything. Let’s!!


Yep, I started from the left again with Shapes…


In Shapes, I picked “S4” and left the translucency at full.


Next I inverted the Shape…

t18 Then I Rotated the shape around to the left side. Finished with Shapes, I clicked the green Check icon.


A little Fill is in order…

t20 This time I picked “P8” and adjusted the translucency as shown. (B)


Blends and Colors up!


I used “B3” (A) once again and a different Blue (B).  Time to stop!!! Click on the green Check icon (C).


Clicking on the “Done” icon one more time…


While I could have clicked on Retangent and kept building layers…sometimes less is best! So I clicked on Save. All done!!


Here’s the final version! Like I said at the beginning, maybe not “art” but I do like it!!

David Hayes is a photographer, mixed-media artist, painter and explorer of life. Visit his blog at clearerreflections.com.

Photo Craft_160If you like altering images, you might also enjoy Photo Craft by Susan Tuttle and Christy Hydeck.





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One Response to iPhoneography App: Tangent, Geometric Creativity!

  1. Seth says:

    Very cool mage. And to me it certainly is art!