Add character and flair! – Retrica features (1)

Digging into aspect ratios, blurring and vignetting and graining features

Turn on the Retrica app, and you will find seven buttons lined up closely at the bottom. You will see immediately that the leftmost box is the button for adjusting aspect ratios. As for the other buttons, including a water drop, a box with a circle in it, a stamp and a lightning, you can’t see in one glance what they are for before you use them yourself.

Those unfamiliar buttons at the bottom of the app caught my eye. I tapped on them, one by one, to see what happens, and I got absolutely fascinated by the wonderful changes that they made. As I learned the new features and applied them to the viewfinder in various ways, I oohed and aahed once again at how well-versed Retrica is in photography! Today, let me introduce four of the seven features, which allow you to add your own flair to pictures. They are aspect ratio adjustment, blurring, vignetting, and grain effect.

Freedom to the viewfinder! – Adjust aspect ratios

At the leftmost corner of the bottom lies a button with a ratio inside a box. A single glance tells you that it is for adjusting aspect ratios. You can change the size of a picture to six different ratios. The biggest photo size is 9:16. In this size, the viewfinder fills up the screen, allowing you to take pictures with a clearer view. Now tap on the button, and the ratio will change to 3:4, with the viewfinder screen separated from the buttons section.

First of all, compare the two ratios, and you will see how the angles of view change. The 9:16 ratio fills up the screen, so objects appear larger and more distinct as if taken with a zoom lens. The 3:4 and other ratios make objects look smaller, but the coverage would be wider. Let me give you a tip: If you want to focus on a specific object, apply the 9:16 ratio to make the object fill up the portrait.

<Ratios of 9:16, 3:4, 4:5, 1:1, 3:2 and 2:1>

The 3:4 ratio and subsequent ratios make the length of a photo shorter and the background wider, as mentioned earlier. The ratio options following 3:4 is 4:5 and then 1:1. I prefer the 1:1 option because it is better for uploading photos to Instagram and I prefer square pictures to rectangular ones.

I often take pictures in landscape mode with the same ratio and post them on Instagram or other social media. I would recommend taking pictures for social media postings in a consistent ratio, 3:2 or 2:1. You may take the same object, but a landscape version somehow looks more placid – and classy as if an artwork, so it is my favorite mode for taking pictures at cafes or other indoor places.

Infatuated by a dreamy “blur”!

The Waterdrop button right next to the Ratio button is used to add a blur effect. Blurring does exactly what the name says: It blurs everything else except for what I want to highlight. The blurring icon in the Photoshop is also waterdrop, so I got what the button would do and tried it straight away.

When you press this button, the number 1 appears inside the waterdrop, and an orange dotted circle comes up on screen. With a finger, move this circle over to the object that you want to highlight. As you move it, you will see everything surrounding the circle is getting blurry.

Leftmost – original photo, center – blur level 1, right – blur level 2. Filters – Santorini filter from the Island pack applied to all

<Reading a Book>

I like the effect of Blur Level 1, which easily emphasizes something but blurs everything else, but I enjoy giving a stronger effect using Blur Level 2 better. While Level 1 is faithful to the feature of the blurring icon, making the surroundings go hazy, Level 2 gives a dreamy but lively feel to the picture. I feel as if falling into the center of the picture. When you take a portrait outdoors or a night view, why not try using Blur Level 2? A dreamy feel would permeate deep into your picture. 

Vignetting – concentrating light only on what you want to take a picture of

Vignetting means darkening of image corners or edges. Originally, it is an undesired effect caused by lens limitations or the hood obscuring part of the photo, but many people choose to create a vignette effect on purpose as they like the unique mood created by vignetting.

With Retrica, you don’t have to try hard to create a vignette effect. Click on the third button from the bottom left, which has a circle in a square, to get the fantastic vignetting feature to work. You can control the vignetting effect in three concentration levels. If you use a filter along with vignetting, your pictures will come out amazing as the color impressions created by the filter will also be highlighted.

Top left – original photo, clockwise from top right – Vignette Level 1, 2 and 3 applied

<Peace Land in Paju>

I took this picture at Peace Land in Paju City last spring. It was such a nice and pleasant day that the colorful ride came out really pretty. I added vignetting effects to this photo. You can see how the color of the edges progresses to darker shades in gradation as we move from Level 1 to Level 3. Vignetting adds an intense yet “moist” sentiment to the pictures, compared with the original.

Grain effect gives a vintage feel!

Grain is a kind of noise that simulates that time-worn feel unique to old pictures. The third icon from the right at the bottom, with dots in it, is the Grain icon. Retrica’s grain effect provides a soft and subdued noise and makes a photo look like one taken with a film camera if you add a filter and a time stamp to it.


Shown above is a picture by the user @trylala, which I found in Retrica’s Inspiration. Featuring nothing but a hand, this picture gives off dreamy and sentimental emotions. Thanks to the subtle noise unique to Retrica’s grain effect, it transforms a piece of everyday life into a special record. If you want to capture a moment to cherish for the rest of your life, though it may not be happening in a nice and fancy place, remember to tap on the Grain button, and you can complete a record of your dreamy memory, which you would want to come back to time after time.

Retrica’s special features are too good to focus only on its filters! I think that my photography skills to express have advanced markedly in depth as I use these features along with the filters. No more hassle with the Photoshop. With Retrica’s seven features alone, you can take as many pictures as you want – pictures full of emotions and sensitivity that everybody would envy.


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