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Great Apps for Mobile Color Lovers


By Jill Pilaroscia

Apps, apps, apps! We are surrounded by them. They fill up our phones and tablets, and there are more of them everyday.

But instead of getting overwhelmed by the abundance, we have decided to dive in.

mobile phones
Images via Jill Pilaroscia

Color buffs: If you're appy and you know it, check these out!

Here are our five favorite color apps for mobile platforms and why we love them. Come take a dip with us!

Color Touch Effects

Color Touch Effects (free, by Swiss Codemonkeys) lets users recolor images right in their Android phones.

Many mobile photo apps let you filter whole images to make them sepia, black and white, or saturated with various film effects, but this app lets you paint with saturation and vibrancy.

Color Touch Effects

Color Touch Effects allows users to recolor images right in their Android phones.

Drop all the color out of an image, then use the tools to paint back in a set of pale-blue eyes, or sepia-tone a figure standing in rich real-world color.

This app works the best on a larger-screen Android like the Galaxy Note 5, which gives you room to really get the most out of the app's detailed features.

Color Splash

If you are more of an iPhone person and want that same black-and-white-with-a-splash-of-color feel on your mobile, then Color Splash (99 cents, by Pocket Pixels Inc.) is for you.

Color Splash

Color Splash is a great tool for beginning photographers or graphic designers who have little experience with Photoshop or other design or editing software.

Color Splash is a great tool for any beginning photographer or graphic designer who has little experience with Photoshop or other design or editing software.

Before you jump in to the deep end with what can be an overwhelming array of options offered by those high-end programs, Color Splash will allow you to get your color-design feet wet.

Learn about drawing focus, importance of contrast, and color matching with this simplified tool first. It can be great for kids who can't afford expensive software on their own but still want to explore the basics of image design.

PicsArt Photo Studio

PicsArt Photo Studio is a great, free mobile photo editor available from Google Play.

Not only does this little app let you spruce up your photos like Instagram, but it applies Photoshop-like artistic changes. It offers stenciler, cartoonizer and sketcher, which gives images texture and adventurous color.

Pics Art combines the functionalities of photo collage, FX and on-screen painting.

It combines the functionalities of photo collage, FX, and on-screen painting to give you complete control over your images. You can even take a picture and preview live photo effects to enhance your phone's standard camera.

ArtStudio for iPad

If you have an iPad, with its comparatively massive screen real estate, and are looking for an app that will take your mobile color experience to the max, check out ArtStudio ($4.99, by Lucky Clan).

Brushes 3

ArtStudio for iPad is built for color-rich, textured paintings and drawings.

Like PicsArt, ArtStudio lets you do some basic photo editing, but the paint options really make this app shine.

Use the built-in color picker on any image to build up your library of colors, and even paint directly over photographs to use them as guides. Unlike many paint apps for mobile, ArtStudio for iPad is built for detailed, color-rich, and highly textured paintings and drawings.

The app takes you from beginning strokes to finishing touches, and no other software  is required.

Brushes 3

Another painting app we love is Brushes 3 (free, from Taptrix Inc.). Along with a bevy of painting, coloring, and texturing features, this app lets you seamlessly move your creations from device to device without losing any work.

Brushes 3

David Hockney used Brushes 3 to create some of the work in his recent solo exhibition in San Francisco.

This app is such a great tool that David Hockney used it to create some of the work in his recent solo show, A Bigger Exhibition, at the de Young Museum here in San Francisco. Try it out. Use what the pros love!

We know you are all savvy color fans, so you tell us: What apps do you love?


Jill Pilaroscia

“Life in Color” is co-authored by architectural color consultant Jill Pilaroscia (pictured), BFA, and creative writer Allison Serrell. Pilaroscia’s firm, Colour Studio Inc., is based in San Francisco. A fully accredited member of the International Association of Color Consultants, Pilaroscia writes and lectures widely on the art and science of color.



Tagged categories: Color; Color + Design; Colour Studio Inc.; Consultants; Designers; Aesthetics; Apps; Artists; Building design; Color matching; Color selection; Color trends; Design; Interior design; Online tools; Smartphones; Tablets

Comment from peter j grady, (5/28/2014, 11:09 AM)

i recently funded via Kickstarter (from Australia) a new color matching device call The Swatchmate Color Cube. Delivery will be in September of this year. You use it to take a reading of a color on an object and then you can download the color to your phone or computer.

Comment from Madison Wilson, (3/4/2022, 3:29 AM)

Not only does this little app let you spruce up your photos like Instagram, but it applies Photoshop-like artistic changes..

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