Olli turns all your pictures and videos into illustrated art in real time


I am not very good at drawing things. To date, I can draw a cartoon koala after making it the sole focus of practice during a middle school art class, but that’s basically it.

Olli is a new photo and video filter app from Tinrocket (which has released a number of similar products) that gets around my inability to draw by turning my selfies and snack pictures into seemingly hand-drawn works of art.

itech-dude-contents-olli Olli turns all your pictures and videos into illustrated art in real time | iTech Dude - The Technology Blog

It’s a nice effect when used for still images, but it’s not really something that we haven’t seen before from other filter apps. But where Olli stands out from apps like Prisma is the fact that it applies the effects in real time, which means you can preview shots and even use it for video. I’m particularly fond of the Salt filter, which turns simple stills and clips into what feels like an animated comic. In playing around with the app for a few minutes, I found that Olli gave the best result from subjects that had interesting and clearly defined patterns — something more vague, like my face, didn’t translate nearly as well to the illustrated effect.

In terms of app UX, Olli is just really nicely designed. Switches from the camera to selecting filters can be done with a quick swipe, clips can be edited and converted to GIFs or Live Photos, and it’s easy to export finished pictures and videos to services like Instagram straight from the app.

itech-dude-contents-olli2 Olli turns all your pictures and videos into illustrated art in real time | iTech Dude - The Technology Blog

The biggest issue with Olli is the price. While it won’t breaking the bank at $2.99, it’s still pricier than the usual “free” that many photo-filtering apps go for. Tinrocket also sells additional filter packs on top of the bundled seven (although a Cinema pack, which includes an additional four filters, is currently offered for free). That said, the effects are look pretty impressive, and if you’re looking for a fun way to make some unique-looking videos or Instagram pictures, there are worse ways to spend $3.

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