OK, it’s not actually a “Photo storytelling app” –  it’s a Storytelling app that just happens to be really good for photo-storytelling
When I did a “First look” at Project Luca, back in December (here’s the link) there were things I really liked about it (like professionally designed themes, different fonts, a decent level of customization, that it’s app-based, there’s motion options and dissolves, and lots of stuff that makes it great for photographers who want to tell a story).

There was also some key stuff I felt was missingâ¦
â¦and I called them out on it pretty seriously in the article. The Project Luca team wrote me back that same day saying that a lot of the things I complained about (not being able to reorder photos, you couldn’t center captions, updating your story was funky at best, and hidden somewhere hard to find at work, and so on) and they let me know that stuff, and more, was coming in a future build. Well, I’m happy to say, they just released a pretty significant update (the app is still in a limited public beta” you can request to try it out at this link), and it’s come a long way in a short time.

Above: There’s better control over your photo size and location including the ability to move a place photo up or down within your story, which is a big improvement.

Here’s what the Project Luca team noted are the new features in the latest update:

– Centered captions

-Support for high res images on desktop browsers (folks said my London Luca project looked VERY pixelated when viewed on a desktop computer).

– (a little thing, unless you can’t find where they hide the themes)

-New publish dialog

-New theme

-Image re-ordering (much needed, and it works great)

-Photo grid image re-ordering (also needed. So glad this feature made it)

-Better copy/paste support (respects line breaks) (Oh, hallelujah!) 

But there’s still no bold and no italic
That’s a deal breaker for a storytelling app, because without those two, what do we have left at our disposal for emphasis? ALL CAPS?

They fixed a lot of the really glaring issues, which is great. Just one more hurdle to go: 
Building a Luca is still not intuitive enough. I talked about this pretty extensively in my previous post, and while stuff that was missing is now there, the overall process of building a Luca is still kind of counter-intuitive. For instance, the way you start adding photos and writing a story in the default template and then later you pick the template you actually want. Wouldn’t you pick the template first? If not, you start off working in a template you’re not going to use. The app has a lot of quirks like that. Sure, eventually you figure out how to do most of what you want, but do you really have extra time to “figure out” an app, or should it all just make sense?

They’re close. Really close. 
The experience for the reader is actually very good. If they can tackle the authoring experience issues, and make putting a Luca together more of a pleasure than a puzzle, they’ll pretty much have it licked. I’ll keep you updated as they move toward shipping the final version.

Give it try yourself
Give it a try for yourself and see what you think, and let me know if I’m just being too picky (which is entirely possible, but when I see something this close to being really amazing, I want to help push it over that edge to greatness). Get early access over at GetLuca.com

That’s it from cold, gray, snowing Columbus, Ohio
where I’ll be spending the day inside, toasty warm with 300+ photographers who are here for my Shoot Like a Pro Tour. Really looking forward to meeting everyone today, and I’ll be sure to share a photo of Brad’s first-morning fresh beard at breakfast, over on my Instagram account to start your day off right. ;-)

Best,

-Scott

P.S. I’ll be in Richmond on Wednesday with the tour, then Raleigh on Friday. Come out and spend the day with me. 

About The Author

Scott is a Photographer, bestselling Author, Host of "The Grid" weekly photography show; Editor of Photoshop User magazine; Lightroom Guy; KelbyOne.com CEO; struggling guitarist. Loves Classic Rock and his arch-enemy is Cilantro. Devoted husband, dad to two super awesome kids, and pro-level babysitter to two crazy doggos.

5 Comments

  1. Scott, I daresay you are probably the best guy on the planet to critique software and suggest changes. Undoubtedly, Photoshop would not be what it is today without your astute input.

  2. This looks like a really cool app. i should get it.

  3. Good Luck with your travels. The snow is playing havoc with the airlines’ schedules and creating a lot of canceled flights.

  4. I got in on the early beta and did my first test yesterday. Overall, it’s a SUPER easy process to build your Luca. Fun also comes to mind. I wasn’t able to find the centered captions though (yes, I’m on the latest build released to me just yesterday) but the fonts sizes still looked good. The movement of the photos is very interactive and is a pleasant change to the standard scrolling of a web page with static images. Overall I’m very impressed but I understand they’re still curating the product. I’m heading to Jamaica in a few months and would LOVE to build daily vacation updates on my iPad with Luca. For a quick way to get your photos and story out the door, I think Luca definitely nailed it on that one. It’ll just keep getting better from here on out.

  5. Hi Scott, I was just looking for some more infos about the Project Luca and reached this page. I’m testing Luca too, with four projects until now. Have a look at the first https://create.lucapub.com/a/W90P2
    What do you think?

    Uwe

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