Layover by Peak Systems icon

Layover ($0.99) by Peak Systems is the new photography app from the makers that brought you Diptic.

So what is Layover, besides being a break during a trip? This app will allow you to combine up to five photos into a single image, creating interesting, and perhaps humorous, compositions. Since this app is from the guys behind the ever-popular Diptic, I trust that we’re in good hands.

When you launch Layover for the first time, you will get a quick tutorial overlay that explains where everything is. It may seem a bit intimidating at first, but you can access this guide at any time by tapping on the “i” button in the top menubar.

To start using Layover, you’re going to need some photos. Tap on any of the squares to load up a photo as a layer — you can snap a new one or import directly from your Photo Library. By default, one of the squares will show black; you are able to change the color (by using Blend) or tap it again to use the slot for another image.

Layover by Peak Systems screenshot

Once you have your images loaded in the app, you can rearrange the order that they are in by drag-and-drop, or even delete layers by performing a tap-and-hold to bring up the red “-” buttons. The real magic begins when you have a layer selected, so you can utilize the bottom toolbar options: Crop, Blend, and Mask.

Crop will do just that — crop the selected layer. You can select the crop ratio (1:1 Square, 4:3 Standard, or 3:2 35mm Film), select the orientation, and then lock it in place. The Crop tool is especially useful for getting the perfect composition together, if that’s what you’re going for.

Blend is one of the most fun aspects of the app. There are a total of 15 different blending options for combining your layers into a single image. The full list of choices are: Multiply, Screen, Layover, Soft Light, Hard Light, Color Dodge, Color Burn, Addition, Difference, Darken, Lighten, Hue, Saturation, Color, and Luminosity.

If you’ve ever spent some time in a program like Photoshop, then you should be familiar with what these do. If not, you can see a preview of the effect in the thumbnail. Selecting one will just apply it to the photo, though it only takes a few seconds to render. Each one will have a slider so that the user can adjust how strong the blending effect is — you can have it be very subtle, or very dramatic.

The final option available is to use a Mask. When you use this with a selected layer, you are able to erase parts of that layer to reveal another layer underneath, or paint a layer back in if you made a mistake. You can adjust the type of stroke that is used with the slider. Be careful with the “Undo” button though, because it will erase all progress you made, rather than just going back one step.

I hope that Peak Systems can change the functionality of that button to go back one step, because I found it rather frustrating — I kept hitting the button as a reflex, only to see all my progress get wiped before my eyes, thus having to start over each time. Maybe they could implement separate “undo” and “clear all” buttons too.

The Mask is great though, if you want to put part of one photo on top of another. This can create some decent looking “shopped” images. You can even move the masked layer around by using two fingers to pan and zoom.

Layover by Peak Systems screenshot

For a full screen editing experience, just tap on the eye button in the corner to hide all other interface elements. You’ll have to tap the eye again to exit out of the distraction-free mode and select another tool if need be, though.

When you are done with your work of art, just give that Share button a tap. You can save the image to your Camera Roll, or share by email, Facebook, Flickr, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, or choose another capable third-party app.

Layover is definitely another hit from Peak Systems, and it’s great for anyone that has been looking for a fantastic way to combine multiple images (up to five) into a single masterpiece. There are many uses for Layover — the possibilities are endless. If you’ve been wanting to blend your images together, then look no further.

GIVEAWAY: I have one extra code for Layover to give away to a very lucky AppAdvice reader and iPhoneographer! If you want a chance to win the app, leave a comment on this post (with a valid email so that I may contact the winner) with what your first use of Layover would be for. I’ll pick the winner randomly on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 8 p.m. PDT. Good luck!