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A Painting or is it Repix?

Repix AppAs an artist who has worked with traditional painting materials to create mixed media paintings, I find myself drawn to a painterly approach when I edit my photographs.  One of the newest apps that I’ve added to my painterly arsenal is Repix.  I find it interesting that when I paint, I go for a realistic effect and when I edit photos I go for a painterly effect.  For me the beauty is that place in between – is it a painting or is it photograph?  I had the chance to interview the brains behind the Repix app, Ilkka Teppo.  (Ilkka has built products and businesses for over a decade at larger companies and start-ups.  He’s connecting the dots between business, design and engineering.)

Geri:  Please tell me a bit about yourself?  How did you get started in app development?  How long did it take to develop Repix and how many are on your team?

Ilkka:  We are a small team based in Helsinki, Finland and we make apps that inspire creativity.  We first started developing apps for mobiles and tablets last year and we haven’t looked back for a second.  Repix is currently our main focus.  In addition to Repix, we built a funky painting app for iPad called Sumo Paint.  We have a strong background in web-based image editing apps.

We have been working with Repix already nine months and have been developing and experimenting with lots of stuff.  Our aim is to make Repix the most inspiring photo editor available to users of all abilities.

Photo Credit: Geri Centonze, Portrait of a Young Man

Geri:  I love the interface on Repix – when I’m working I almost feel like I’m at my art desk painting.  Do you have an art or painting background or did you get traditional artists to help you design the interface?

Ilkka:  We spent lots of time and created many versions before finding the right UX.  It also helps that we have an awesome designer in our team who is passionate about the right user experience.  That’s come through in the app like you say and that’s been great.  Recreating a real life experience with the brushes is exactly what we wanted to do and the result of that is that users of the app are being inspired to create so much more.

Geri:  What has been the biggest challenge in developing Repix?

Ilkka:  To maintain the balance between simplicity and all the things we would like to add.  We wanted people to experience the brushes first and based on the feedback, decide what and when to bring more features.  Fortunately for us, users of the app so far like our work and are asking for more.  That’s the best position to be in.

Blowing Bubbles © Geri Centonze

Blowing Bubbles

Geri:  In a very highly competitive app category, why do you think Repix has stood out among the rest?

Ilkka:  We believe the overall quality and the simplicity of the app are the most important things.  We looked at the photo category and its true that there are lots of apps, but overall quality is still fairly low.  If you build something that’s beautiful to use and offers something totally unique, you stand a chance of getting success.

Repix Edit

Portrait of a Horse

Geri:  The latest update was better than I imagined and I understand there’s even more coming.  Can you give us a hint as to what’s in store with the next update?

Ilkka:  Our aim with Repix is to ensure we keep innovating and introducing new features that our users will love and that will attract new ones too.  Right now we’re working hard on some super cool new brushes with some stunning effects, more generic editing tools and overall quality and usability improvements.  Overall, we aim to make Repix the most inspiring photo editor available.  (Geri’s Note:  Since this interview was conducted the latest version of Repix was released and includes Spotlight Filters, Frames tool, improved editing speed, new editing tools, direct sharing to Flickr, full support of EXIF data).

Geri:  Do you have any other apps in the works?

Ilkka:  We have a few concept level things we are planning, but nothing yet to announce.  Stay tuned!

Geri:  I can’t wait!!!

If you’re new to Repix, here’s a quick tutorial showing my typical workflow.

Choose your photo from your Camera Roll (or experiment with one of the images in the Starters folder)

Repix Tutorial

Using the editing tools (shown in orange above) adjust Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Vibrance, Temperature and Vignette. (results below)

Repix Edit

Pinch the photo to resize and then using the Erase tool, completely erase your image.  (Hint:  if you tap the + button on the erase tool the result will be a blank black canvas instead of white)

Repix Tutorial

Choose a brush to paint in your image.  For this tutorial, I chose the Daubs brush.

Repix Tutorial

Pinch to enlarge the image and the brush size will reduce automatically which allows for more detail when using the Repix brushes.

Repix Tutorial

I like a little of the image to show through in the detailed areas.  To do this use the Undoer tool around the eyes, nose, mouth and ears.

Repix Tutorial

Next I used the Charcoal brush to smooth some of the edges and also added a frame (a new feature with the recent update).  You can re-size the frame by pinching with your fingers and tap the plus button of your frame choice to go from white to black.

Repix Tutorial

For this next step I saved the image and opened in Snapseed to rotate 90 degrees to the right.

Repix Tutorial

Next, I loaded the rotated image back into Repix and applied the Stage Spotlight filter (one of the new features available with in-app purchase as of the last update)

Repix Tutorial

One final rotation (using Snapseed) and below is my final painted image.

Repix Tutorial

There are so many more styles you can achieve using this app.  I think Ilkka will be reading this, so if you are Ilkka, here is my wish list for the next update:

Sharpening Tool

Rotation Tool

Ability to lower opacity of the Spotlight Filters

Ability to vary the opacity of the frames

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  1. Really great interview and tutorial. I have this app and didn’t really know how to use it. I’m inspired to try now. Thanks!

    • Hi Jennifer – I’m so glad I was able to help!

  2. Your images with this app are beautiful, Geri. I hope you see the items in your wish list added to the next update ; )

    • Thank you Bridgette! Ilkka has been very responsive with my previous requests so I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

  3. Excellent tutorial, Geri. My wish list for updates has just one item: color adjustments on the eraser tool. I emailed the developer & got a very nice reply, so I have hope. Such a great app, with good support!

    • Ilkka is excellent at responding! I asked him to vary the opacity of the undoer tool and he did it a while back. Initially the Undoer would completely wipe out the effect and now it happens gradually. =) He did say he noted my wish list so I’m looking forward to the next update.

  4. I feel the same as Jen B. !! I have the app but was not exactly sure what I was doing and now I have a much better understanding of it!!!! Thanks so much Geri! Excited to start playing around with it more now and it was really interesting to learn more about the developer! Thanks very much!

    • Hi Cecily – Hope you have fun experimenting and be sure to tag your work to #wearejuxt_repix on IG or add to the wearejuxt_repix album on EyeEm! Looking forward to seeing your work.

  5. This was awesome! I use repix all the time but always wish I could get the size of the brush just a little smaller since I like to add a bit of detal around the main focus point. Also, are the in-app purchases for the whole set of brushes or each one? Must know!
    Are you on IG?

    • Hi Mike – Previously there was an in-app purchase for $4.99 which was for the entire set of brushes. I don’t know if that’s still available since I have all of them now. I would like the ability to enlarge even more for the detail (I must pass that along to Ilkka!). Yes, I am on IG @gericentonze but the majority of my work is on EyeEm @gericentonze, Flickr I also have a blog where I post artist interviews, mobile photo news, tutorials, etc. =) Would love to see your Repix work – please tag to #wearejuxt_repix on IG!

  6. Well written and explained. I did not know to use the eraser step and then proceed to brushes , will try

    • Rose, Would love to see your work – you can tag to #wearejuxt_repix on IG or add to the wearejuxt_repix album on EyeEm!

  7. excellent tutorial, thank you!!

    • You’re most welcome – thanks for reading!

  8. Wonderful tutorial – I can’t wait to try this myself. Thank you, Geri, for the great interview and the lesson!

    • Thanks Sherri! ♥ be sure to tag your work to #wearejuxt_repix on IG or add to the wearejuxt_repix album on EyeEm! Looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

  9. It’s a great app, is there any possibility of releasing this app in windows phone store?

    • I will ask if there are any plans for that!

  10. Great tutorial, Geri! Really enjoyed the interview with Ilkka, too. I love this app and I have all the brushes and tools. I agree about the features you requested for the next update.

    • Thanks Paul – I appreciate it!

  11. You just get better and better, find treasure troves of information, tutorials and new ideas. It is so cool to see what others do….better than sitting down and reading a magazine. I as not using Repix correctly that is for sure…boy, sometimes I do things the hard way. The aremaC is a bit advanced for me….but in your hands it will be magic….thanks, sharon

    • Thanks Sharon – I seem to have found my niche with the painterly edits. I love creating them – and no messy clean-up like traditional painting! ♥

  12. Great interview an tutorial! Thank you!

    • Thanks Lola!

  13. Thanks for thos Geri. I had the app tried to work it and then removed it. Of course now I am going to have to try it again. Although u make it look easy which usually means its not. :)

    • Hi Stef – you are too kind! It really is easy – if you give it a try be sure to tag your creations to #wearejuxt_repix on IG or to the wearejuxt_repix album on EyeEm!

  14. Thanks G. for the input on Repix – I like the interface and hope to see the app expand even more….

    • You’re welcome Tracy – I think they’ve only just begun with Repix!

  15. Oh my.. this is a wonderful app. I’m so happy to have found your site and am off now to buy this app! Great tutorial too. I’ve wanted an app like this in my arsenal and hadn’t yet discovered it. (PS – My web site is idle at the moment because of something G+ has done to my web album images and the code available to me. The code I used to use to incorporate photos in my Picasa albums has vanished… SIGH… must check back again to see if it’s been restored since my last check.)

    • Thanks Victoria – Hope to see what you come up with – are you on IG, EyeEm or Flickr?

  16. Just discovered Repix and starting out. Looks really good.

    • It’s a great app – I think you’ll have fun with it!

  17. Wonderful tutorial, thanks. I love doing painterly edits too! Yours are lovely and inspiring. It’s so beneficial when the developers work closely with the artists. By working together, truly great art can be made and shared!

    • It has really impressed me how developers like those at Repix are so responsive to their users! Thank you for reading the article. I’m glad you enjoyed it.

      • Hi Geri…. Just starting to use Repix and I love it. But there was one thing I wanted to do tonight that I couldn’t figure out how to do.

        I erased the bottom of the image, and then I wanted to color it in a different color… could not see a tool to do that. Do I need to save it and go to procreate or something else to brush in a new color where I have erased?

        Thanks so much for any input… I look forward to reading your blog…!!


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