Wybron, the company that bought you the award winning infrotrace technology has launched two new products for the iPhone and iPod touch. One of which, the Gel Swatch Library is the focus of this review, the other application, the CXI Color Calculator will be covered separately.
The iSwatch application enables the user to browse, search and compare almost 1,000 GAM, Lee and Rosco gel colours through their iPhone or iPod touch. It will require users of the original iPhone to upgrade their firmware to version 2.0 which provides support for Apple’s App store, but anyone who owns an iPhone should be doing this anyway. Although you have to pay for the new firmware the added functionality far outweighs the cost. If you’re lucky enough to own the latest iPhone 3G then you will already have the required support for these new applications.
The Gel Swatch Library allows you to browse the gels by brand choosing between GAM, Lee or Rosco. The interface is consistent with other iPhone applications which makes it easy to navigate and you can simply scroll through the list of gels using the multi-touch display. There is also the option to search for gels either by name or number and the results are displayed in list form and updated in real time. This allows you to refine your search as you go or stop early if the gel you want is listed.
The list displays a small block of colour that is a close approximation of the gel colour, followed by the gel number prefixed with either a ‘G’, ‘L’ or ‘R’ for GAM, Lee and Rosco and lastly the gels name. Selecting a gel from the list opens up a more detailed view with a larger area used to display the colour, this is overlaid with the gel name, transmission value, CMY and RGB percentages. Below that is a spectral energy distribution curve and underneath that is a selection of six similar colours which could potentially be used as a replacement. You can also switch the similar colours to display six complementary colours if you wish at the touch of a button.
You can further select one of the six colours listed and this will then display the two colours side by side for comparison. This divides the colour panel into two so both colours are shown together. The CMY, RGB and transmission values are lost, but the two energy distribution curves are overlaid. This is a very useful feature and allows you to make quick and easy comparisons. You can then touch one of the two colours to return to a full detail page for the gel you selected.
The application has been well designed with some good ideas and a smooth implementation. For example, turn the device on its side and the display will rotate to a wide screen version. The only drawback is that the actual colours displayed are not a great match for the real gels, it’s always going to be difficult to get this right though, if only because the displays are different between the various iPod and iPhone devices. However, this could be a big issue for some users so it’s worth bearing in mind if you are considering a purchase. However, given the low price it’s certainly a worthy addition if for no other reason than to show off to you colleagues!
The Gel Swatch Library is a great resource for anyone working with colour filters and will prove useful in many situations. It’s much easier and faster to look up gels on the iSwatch than it is to thumb through a swatch book. It also looks pretty cool too and you can’t underestimate that.