In the past, creating special effects in photography was limited to skilled photographer/technicians with well-equipped darkrooms. Today, anybody can carry the virtual equivalent of those darkrooms around in his or her pocket.
The popularity of photo apps such as Instagram has sparked interest in digitally enhanced photos. Shutterbugs who use mobile tablets and phones to take photos and modify them will enjoy the Diptic photo app from Peak Systems.
Diptic is available for iPhone/iPad and Android devices. It sells for 99 cents.
Diptic makes it easy to create photo collages. The user can combine up to six photos, starting with one of 52 layouts, and use Diptic to juxtapose images, create before-and-after photo layouts, add filters and alter brightness and hue.
It's designed to make it easy to share photos on social media sites, including Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr and Posterous Community. JPEG images can be sent directly to one's Instagram account.
For those who don't have a mobile device, Diptic is available as a desktop application for the Mac (99 cents). This version lets users work with the image on a larger screen.
Peak Systems has also launched Layover (99 cents), another collage-making app that can blend up to five photos, and apply filters to one or all of the images used. Its masking feature lets the user erase portions of a photo.
Alien Skin's Alt Photo (99 cents) is a new iPhone/iPad app designed to create the look and feel of a real photo. Effects include vintage Kodachrome and early tintype, along with black and white photos.
Fans of the History Channel series "Pawn Stars" may not be able to get to Las Vegas, where the show is based. But they may have stuff they'd like to sell or pawn.
Pawn Stars has launched a portal through its website that lets people submit items for pawn or for sale through the online pawn shop Pawngo.
All transactions are between the seller and Pawngo, and not the TV series "Pawn Stars," its network, or the Harrison family who star in the series.
Users can choose if they want to pawn their possessions and take out a loan, or sell them outright. After submitting a description of the item, Pawngo gives the seller an estimate of its worth.
Among the items Pawngo accepts: jewelry and luxury watches, art and antiques, collectibles and memorabilia, DSLR cameras and equipment. They don't take firearms, televisions, cars, game systems or household items
Visitors to the Pawn Stars site can also watch archived episodes of the show and play the interactive Pawn Stars game on Facebook.
Adrian McCoy: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1865.