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Create kaleidoscopic pictures and videos on your phone

If you look for them you can find a host of free apps that's we'd classify as neat little visual toys. You're unlikely to incorporate them into a professional workflow, but they're just nice to have on your phone, good to play with every now and then, and they might just give you a little inspirational boost when you need it.

This sums up kscope (opens in new tab) quite nicely. It's a free kaleidoscope app from Arts University Bournemouth, and it turns the feed from your devices camera into lovely abstract patterns that you can save as images and video clips and publish to all the usual places, as well as kscope's own online gallery.

It comes with three settings that generate what you'll think of as proper kaleidoscopic results, plus spiral and circular distortion settings that produce less absorbing results. All of them can be adjusted with a simple slider that changes the depth of the illusion or the angles of the virtual mirrors that generate the patterns.

Like playing with a real kaleidoscope, the real fun's in simply playing with it and finding interesting things to point your phone at in order to create ephemeral, continually-evolving geometric patterns. It's nice to have the option to save them out, but for our money a still image is never the same, and the results are just a little low-res, coming out at the same resolution as your device's screen. This works okay on a Retina iPad, but even on a Retina iPhone you don't get much detail; it'd be fantastic if there was an option to render out a really high-resolution still.

That's a minor gripe, though; you'd be a fool not to add kscope to your ever-expanding collection of free visual toys, and if your tastes lean towards the abstract and fractal then you'll probably get quite a bit of use out of it.

Key info

  • Works with: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch
  • Price: Free
  • Developer: Bond & Coyne
  • Version: 1.0
  • App size: 3.0 MB
  • Age rating: 4+

Words: Jim McCauley

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