Handy Photo was updated to version 2 last month and I finally got around to trying it out. It is made by the same group that does TouchRetouch and AntiCrop and I use both of those, so I wanted to see what it was like.
The Universal app (currently $1.99) is a full photo editor that allows you adjust colors, tones, textures, and filters on the entire image or just local regions. It also lets you crop, anticrop, and retouch images to remove unwanted elements. As if that is not enough, the app also lets you move things around in your image and cloning tools. I’m really surprised and impressed with how many features are wrapped in this single app.
* APP FEATURES *
- Global and local tone and color correction options
- Partial application option in Filters tool
- Advanced retouching technology for mobile platforms
- Move Me technology for smart objects extraction and moving
- Magic Crop tool with unique photo “un-cropping” function
- High-quality textures and frames
- 100% size image editing
- Up to 36 MP image support
- RAW format support
- Optimized for multi-core and GPU processors
- Stylish and intuitive UI
I first tried the app on my iPad 3 (the first retina screen iPad) and even though my iPad is pretty old, the app felt snappy. After using it a bit on the iPad I went ahead and tried it on my iPhone 5. I was a bit worried that the GUI might feel tight on the iPhone, but it turned out to be just fine. It’s easy to zoom in/out to get close views of the image when you need to and as the menus pop in/out you get a good clear view of your image even on the iPhone.
Here is the before/after that I did on my iPhone. I snapped a photo of myself sitting here in a coffee shop while typing this post. The first thing I did was retouch to remove the artwork above my head. I then rotated the image a bit. The anti-crop (smart crop) filled in the image nicely but left just a bit of excess creases in my sweatshirt, so I once again used the retouch feature to remove it, along with the reflection in my glasses.
I applied the B&W filter but only at a 90% level, so it left a tiny tinge of color. I made use of the channel mixer that goes along with this filter. That is an amazingly well placed tool making it so easy to get a great look on your B&W shot. I used the tilt-shift filter to blur the background. I then tweaked the contrast overall and tweaked the shadow level. Finally, I wanted my eyes to be a bit sharper, so I locally increased brightness and contrast on my eyes. It took me about two minutes to do this (eyes were the longest part…always tough to improve brown eyes with “coffee shop” lighting conditions – it was much easier to see the improvement on the full size image before I shrunk these). I then added a frame to finish it off.
Of course, this picture really does nothing to show off the power of this app. The developer has posted a number of great YouTube videos to help you learn how to use the full power. I watched them and after just a few minutes I learned about some features I wasn’t even aware of. Very nice.
There are far more videos on their YouTube page that cover things such as applying filters locally, dealing with frames, and overall techniques.
One thing that may be a bit confusing is when you first go to change the look of a texture (such as the wood) a selection of different woods will show up, but only one is visible at first. The others all show up with little spinning arrows indicating they are loading. Depending on your connection speed, this can take awhile.
The only other negative on this app is the fact that it uses “destructive” editing. Once you have made several changes you won’t be able to go back and tweak a prior step and have it keep your other steps intact. However, you can go back in time in a nice drop down list, and start your sequence of changes again from that point.
Overall this app is a great app with some unique features. Having the anticrop and retouch features included really makes this app great if you don’t want to have to switch to many apps to do the same thing. If you only want to make really quick changes the auto levels feature will let you do that, but for those that want to do more heavy duty editing on your iPhone you can go ahead and do that in this app. The simplicity of the channel mixer with the B&W filter is one of my absolute favorite features of this app. Well done.
Handy Photo can be downloaded on iTunes.
Valentine’s Day was yesterday here in the states, but it is still a romantic weekend. JixiPix has joined in with the fun and made their Romantic Photo app free. There is a separate one for the iPhone and iPad.
It’s nice, but I really wish you could adjust the ‘focus’ region, but overall the app is still great for what it does. Below you can even see how romantic our blizzard looked a few days ago.
Romantic Photo creates a romantic mood or setting automatically from any picture. Using exquisite lighting and design, your photos will look like they were taken using the highest professional techniques & camera filters.
I’ve seen a few apps that let you do daily photos but have never really settled in to using one. A new Universal app called 365 Photo Project came out the other day and I thought I’d try it out.
The app is free so if you want to skip reading any further you can just go ahead and download it.
Overall the app is relatively easy to use. It take a few clicks to find your way around. The one thing that briefly made me think was how to add a photo. I quickly realized you just tap on the date on the calendar. You then get the choice of importing or taking a photo. If you choose take a photo the flash settings don’t remember the settings from the standard camera app, so the flash may be set to auto. I tend to always keep my flash off.
You can export a collage of your photos in various formats. Most of the fancy collages are in the “Pro” version of the app which is a $1.99 in-app purchase. That purchase also gives you access to exporting to other sites such as Dropbox or Flickr, along with ability to export a video created from your photos (you can also add music to it).
I exported one photo from the app as I sat here testing it. Do I look like I just walked a mile through -10F windchill? Just a bit cold around here lately!
When I exported this photo to the camera roll the output size was 1000×1458 pixels even though I’d used a full size 2448×3246 photo. I’m not 100% sure if the Pro purchase allows that to go full size or not. I do know the Pro version let’s you do “Hi Res” collages.
Other than the less than full resolution issue, and the minor issue of the flash setting, the app seems like a winner. It is straightforward and seemed to work perfectly on my iPhone 5. One thing I’d like to test, but haven’t had time, is to see if it synchs between the iPad and iPhone version. I’m somewhat guessing no, but can’t be certain.
I’m debating using it for the ‘daily’ photo of myself since at my age it might be fun to watch the grey trickle in. A video of that might be fun. Or not
Portrait Painter is an app by JixiPix that let’s you create some interesting portraits. As you know, I really enjoy the apps they make. Right now this app is free, so go ahead and check them out.
Here is a self-portrait created with Portrait Painter. Let’s just say I spent a lot of time in front of my computer that day.
Although it has a funny name, pixelWakker, I gave it a try. It’s a Universal app where you can create one of four different effects on a photo: lots of copies of a small images over your image, big dots, ‘lines’ of color, and drops of color. The latter two were definitely my favorites.
The interface to choose the small image in the first effect took a minute or so to figure out, but other than that it was straightforward. You can adjust the size of the ‘grid’ used to overlay the small image or the size of the dots. It ranges from a 2×2 layout to 256×256. Overall, the app does just a few things really well, so if you are looking for this unique effect you should check it out. [download link: pixelWakker]
Oh yeah, happy 2014. My first post of the year. Many more to come. Hopefully.
From the author
Hello. This blog started in April 2011 and continues to grow.
If you are interested in photography with your iPhone and iPad be sure to drop by every now and then. I'll try to let you know about any photo apps that I happen to be using that day, or things that I notice about iPhoneography.
To contact me just drop me a line on the contact page.
-- a guy in Charlottesville, VA
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