Primitive 4+

Michael Fogleman

    • 4.0 • 51 Ratings
    • Free



A brand new and totally unique way of transforming your photos. Give Primitive a picture and watch as it recreates it using simple shapes like triangles, rectangles, ellipses, or bezier curves. The result is vector-based, so it can be saved as SVG. An intuitive settings panel provides you with creative control.

The program looks for the best shape that can be drawn to maximize the similarity between the target image and the drawn image. It repeats this process, adding one shape at a time. Using this process, the program can recreate a photo with surprisingly few shapes, and it creates a very unique artistic effect. And the output is inherently vector-based!

Supports PNG, JPEG and SVG output.

The following configuration settings are provided:

- IMAGE: Choose the input image that you want the program to draw using primitive shapes.
- SHAPE TYPE: Choose the type of shape that the program should use to draw your image. Most of these are filled shapes, but the beziers are stroked. Combo mode allows the program to pick the best shape at each iteration.
- SHAPE ALPHA: Constrain the program to use a particular alpha value for each shape, or uncheck the box to let the program optimize the alpha value for each shape individually.
- STROKE WIDTH: Set the stroke width to be used for quadratic bezier curves. Uncheck the box to let the program optimize the stroke width for each curve.
- SHAPES PER ITERATION: Generate multiple shapes during each iteration with a more localized search. This is most useful for bezier curves to get good image coverage more quickly.
- BACKGROUND COLOR: Set the background color upon which the shapes will be drawn. Uncheck the box to use the average color of the input image as the background.
- WORKING SIZE: Choose between speed and quality. This option scales the input image to a certain size before running the algorithm on it.
- RUN UNTIL STOPPED: Choose this mode to run indefinitely, until the image appearance is to your liking.
- RUN UNTIL SHAPES: Choose this mode to stop running after a certain number of shapes have been generated.
- RUN UNTIL SCORE: Choose this mode to stop running once the drawn image has a certain amount of similarity to the original input image.
- RUN IN DRAWING MODE: Choose this mode to paint shapes using the mouse cursor. Just click and drag and Primitive will add shapes in the general area of the mouse cursor. This makes the Primitive experience more interactive and user-driven.
- CLEAR DRAWING: Clear the drawing to start over with new options.
- REVERT TO DEFAULTS: Reset all of the options except for image and shape type back to their original settings.

What’s New

Version 1.1

- New "drawing mode" allows the user to paint shapes in areas of interest using the mouse. Just click and drag and Primitive will add shapes in the general area of the mouse cursor. This makes the Primitive experience more interactive and user-driven.
- Press and hold the spacebar to view the original image.
- Added links to the Help menu.
- Fixed a minor issue with text fields not using their typed values.

Ratings and Reviews

4.0 out of 5
51 Ratings

51 Ratings

AllTom ,

Great app with minor drawing mode quibbles

It's a lot of fun and the results look great, but I had issues in drawing mode. 1) If your mouse accidentally leaves the picture area while you're dragging, the whole picture clears and I haven't found a way to restore it, and 2) I expect that holding down the mouse in the same area for a long time would eventually cause that area to look like the original image, but there seems to be a cap on how detailed it gets.

heathermce ,


I have used this for about 20 images since downloading it this week. It works great! I am technology-challenged but have found it very easy to work with and get great results. I really downloaded it for the output (I missed the part of the description that said you "watch as it recreates") but yes, you watch it start with a blank window and add shape after shape that initially bear no resemblance to the input picture, but gradually come together (to the degree you've specified on the panel) into a modern (impressionistic?) version. I'm particularly pleased with its ability to take badly-photoshopped images and turn them into something that could pass as art. The only downside is that for more complex images, particularly if you've directed the program to recreate to a high degree of detail, can take a long time. That is mitigated by the fact that it can run in the background while you're working on something else. I would absolutely download this again - worth every penny!

elimoon8 ,

Fantastic Little Tool

This is a pretty basic but genius concept that lets you generate stylized svgs from random images (works best with less complex images). If there was 1 thing that I’d ask for, it would be the ability to select exactly which shapes you want to be included instead of either just 1 shape or all shapes. For example, I don’t like how lines make the results look streaky/drawn, but I can only choose either all shapes or just choose a single shape. I’d like the option to select a subset of shapes (squares, triangles, etc. only) and have it draw based on only those. In any case, great work!

App Privacy

The developer, Michael Fogleman, has not provided details about its privacy practices and handling of data to Apple.

No Details Provided

The developer will be required to provide privacy details when they submit their next app update.