Kanvas’s Mobile Photo Sharing App Lets You Make Your Own GIFs, Flipbooks And More

Kanvas, a photo-sharing app designed to allow self-expression and creativity via simple tools for editing and enhancing photos, is relaunching today on the iOS App Store with a new version that the company likens to what a “mobile-first Tumblr” would look like, if it had been started today. Today the app, which has also just topped a million installs, offers the ability to post to Kanvas and elsewhere by choosing from one of six modes, which includes things like GIFs, flipbooks, paintings, video, and more.

The interface for posting is, in fact, quite reminiscent of Tumblr, as you now tap on one of six buttons for the various functions in order to start a post. Like Tumblr, you can also post just text, or you can enhance your text post with a GIF background that becomes semi-transparent.

Another mode lets you take a half dozen shots, turn those into a GIF of your own, then add text. And the Flipbook feature lets you add up to 150 photos, building a mobile slideshow of sorts, where you can also adjust the speed of between the photos and add your own music.

Meanwhile, a “painting” mode offers over 30 colors and drawing tools like a pencil, paintbrush, marker and fine-tip pen.

Taking on larger competitors like Vine and Instagram, Kanvas has updated the way videos work on its service, too. With the video mode, you can record stop-motion videos up to 15 seconds long, then adjust the speed and add your text. In the “Explore” section of the app, Kanvas has converted all the videos users post to GIFs, so you’ll see the movement when browsing through your feed.

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While Kanvas is working to build up its own network of users, encouraging social actions and sharing by gifting users with coins they can use to buy in-app goods, it also functions as a way to post to other social services, like Instagram, Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter as well as SMS and email. That puts it in an odd spot, being both an app that falls somewhere in between being a social network of its own, complete with Twitter-like following features and social profiles, and something that’s more of a utility designed to work with the services you already frequent. On that latter front, that would put Kanvas up against other image-editing apps, like Aviary, PicsArt or Pic Stitch, to name a few.

In addition to announcing the 1 million installs, up from 25,000 this time last year, Kanvas also shared that its seen over 1 million keyboard messages sent via its newer app, Kanvas Keyboard, in under 8 weeks, and has seen over 5 million monthly “Kanvas views.”

The updated app is live now on iTunes.