Three tools for creating visual narratives in minutes

par IJNet
30 oct 2018 dans Digital Journalism

Today, a story’s visual components are more important than ever. Audience attention is limited, and an arresting photo or an aesthetically pleasing series is a powerful way of pulling a reader into a piece. But with time demands, how do you create a compelling visual narrative in under five minutes?

Mobile editing allows us to make and upload images on the go, as well as pulling photos from our photo libraries without the added step of uploading to our hard drives. A testament to the growing power of mobile and ease of production, these apps are all free. (As a bonus: They’re all really fun.)


Quik is a lightning-fast video editor that lets you select photos or videos from your library and then stitches and stylizes them. Quik is different in its level of customizability — add music, add text, add focus, and the array of filters on offer is incredible, especially for a free application. The longest part of the process is a 30–45 second wait for the video to compile, during which Quik provides you with a mini-game to keep you occupied.

Embedded is an example of one video that took under a minute to make, using minimum editing options and at-random photos from the author’s iPhone library to showcase Quik’s ability to make casual photos look professionally edited.


Prisma is fairly new, and the premise is simple — the ability to turn normal photos into watercolors, sketches or otherwise artificially rendered. The capability has been around for years, but Prisma allows an array of filters that vary in difference, to great dramatic effect. Examples of one photo rendered in multiple ways below.


Like Prisma, typography is by no means a revolutionary design technique, but Typorama allows quite sophisticated design and a fair amount of customization, with an immediate and adjusting preview. Even the most design-blind of us can create a fairly compelling image in seconds. The only drawback is that Typorama offers preset photos rather than your own library, but what’s available is varied enough to stem any feeling of restriction. Below, only two examples (of many Typorama offers) of a title image.

The most immediate use that comes to mind for all of these is quick sharing on Twitter or Instagram, but get creative with your uses. Embed a series into an article. Have a podcast? Use one style of photo for every preview image. Promote your events, tell entire stories in under a minute through video, introduce your team in a fun, fresh way — the possibilities are endless.

Some tools featured in TechCorner profiled during Tow-Knight Center’s summer program on Entrepreneurial Journalism. offers weekly TechCorners, highlighted grants and job opportunities. Register here.

Main image CC-licensed by Flickr via anita.