One of the hottest apps on Android and iOS at the moment is the photo editing marvel Prisma. Unlike the filters found on Instagram or Snapchat, Prisma offers a far more artistic flourish thanks to its colourful and painting-like effects. We’ll take you through the basic features so that you can share your images in no time at all. Here's how to use Prisma on Android and iOS

See also: How to take better photos on your iPhone, and 10 Best Snapchat tips & tricks

How to use Prisma: The interface

At its heart Prisma is quite a simple app. Loading it up on your smartphone will present you with two main areas. The upper section is where your image can be seen or captured, while the lower half holds a few settings options.

How to use Prisma

On the left you’ll see the lightning icon which represents the flash. The default option is to have it turned off, but if you tap the icon you’ll see the lightning area turn yellow and a little green A appear. This indicates that the flash is now in automatic mode and will fire if the camera feels the shot is too dark. Tapping it again removes the green A but leaves the lightning section yellow. This means that the flash will go off every time you use the camera. Tapping once more returns the flash to its default Off status.

In the centre is the Camera icon which allows you to switch from rear facing to front facing, thus unleashing the full fury of selfies. On the right hand side you’ll also see the gear icon, which gives you access to more settings. Tapping on this opens up another menu where you can decide on a couple of save options, plus the watermark setting that either applies or removes the word Prisma from the bottom right corner of your images.

The last two controls on the main page are the large circle which acts as the shutter button, and the pictures icon in the bottom right corner that gives you access to any photos you’ve already taken on your phone. This is useful as it allows Prisma’s filters to be applied to all your images, not just the ones you capture in the app.

How to use Prisma: Turn photos into art

Once you’ve either chosen an image from your phone or captured one in the app you’ll see that the lower half of the screen now has a number of filter styles available, just as you might find on Instagram. This is where the real magic of Prisma comes into play.

The filters have accompanying images that give an idea of the style they represent. These range from the pop art inspirations of Roy to the anime splendour offered by Tokyo and Curly Hair. The filters are non-destructive, meaning you can try as many as you like without altering the stored image, so be sure to experiment with several as they really can be quite strikingly different.

How to use Prisma

Unlike the simpler options found on Instagram and Snapchat, Prisma’s filters require a bit more work to render, so be patient as you move through the various options. Remember though that once a filter has been applied the app stores that render so you can quickly access it again before you finally save the image. This means you can compare the styles without having to wait a second time for a previous filter to be applied again.

How to use Prisma

How to use Prisma: Refining the image

Once you’ve settled on the filter you like there’s one more tweak available. Sliding your finger from right to left on the image itself controls the amount of blend between the filter and the original image, so you refine the strength of the effect. Sliding your finger right increases the power of the filter, while sliding left diminishes it.

How to use Prisma

With all of this completed you can share the image by using one of the buttons that now appears below your creation. If you have Instagram or Facebook accounts then you can post to them directly from Prisma, but there are also options for downloading the image to your phone or opening up a list of other compatible services.

Be warned, Prisma is very addictive. You can lose hours just pouring over the filter options and looking for interesting new scenes to capture. Still, that’s not a bad way to waste your time, and your Twitter or Facebook stream will look a lot more colourful.

See also: How to use Instagram on a Windows PC or laptop,