Category Archives: New App

Pixelmator Arrives for the iPad

When Apple was introducing the new iPad Air 2 they had a sneak peek of Pixelmator running on the iPad. It has now been released!

Pixelmator for iPad

I got a brand new iPad Air 2 for myself (to replace my iPad 3) and bought Pixelmator right away. I’d let you know what I thought about it, but I’m heading to NYC tomorrow morning for a few days of vacation. My first vacation this entire year. 🙂 Once I get back I’ll sit down with the app and see what I think. Here is the introduction video:

You can learn more about Pixelmator for iPad on the home page. 9to5Mac did a nice review of the app.

The app is currently $4.99 on iTunes.

More Camera Rolls For iOS8

The ‘Camera Roll’ feature continues to be an annoyance of iOS 8. There is a possibility it will return in iOS 8.1, but it is not entirely clear how it will relate to the iCloud Photo Library. In the meantime, there are several apps that can replace the camera roll.

My Camera Roll ($1) is a Universal app that let’s you view your camera roll, and do basic editing. I haven’t tested this one, but some of the reviews say that you see both iCloud photos and local photos.

I mentioned MyRoll: Smart Camera Roll Organizer (a Universal app that’s free) in my previous post. It’s got a feature called Moments which groups similar photos automatically, as well as showing a general camera roll. This app also shows images that are in the cloud. The photos are organized with the newest on the top and you scroll downward to go back in time (opposite of how Apple does it – although some other apps do it this way). This same company has also released a free iPhone app, called Camera Roll+, that is a bit simpler and only has the gallery (camera roll). As with their other app, the photos are sorted with newest on the top and the iCloud photos are included in the view.

A new Universal app called Photosane – Classic Camera Roll ($1) was released this week. It gives you a bit more control when viewing albums on your iOS device. You can choose the Camera Roll view, or any other albums you have on your iPhone. Their is also a listing of Smart Albums that include things such as favorites, hidden, recently added, etc. You also have the ability to create new albums. When viewing the camera roll it is sorted with the newest image at the bottom (as Apple does it).

A really nice feature is that there is an arrow to let you immediately get all the way up (to the start of the roll), and another arrow that lets you immediately get to the bottom of the roll (most recent). I constantly wish Apple would add the ability to do that with a tap at the top (which they do have), and a tap at the bottom (which they don’t). One other nice feature is that you can swipe up and down so you’ll skip a few photos and go up or down in the ‘grid’ of photos (you can still do the standard left/right swipe to go from photo to photo). I tried out this new app and it has a few quirks. The ‘help’ screen seemed to open to a blank page and get stuck there (I couldn’t reproduce this – just saw it once). In the camera roll view I see duplicates of many photos, the local version and the iCloud version. I’ve let the developer know about these issues.

I’d still like to see an app that can easily show me local photos and not include the images in my photo stream. Hopefully Apple will get things together and let us iPhoneographers have a clear view of where photos really are when viewing them, or at least let developers deal with the differences (I’m not yet sure if developers can do that under iOS8). Having a ‘local camera roll’ and ‘cloud camera roll’ would be two albums I’d like to see.

My biggest concern is always the iCloud photo size. Soon Apple will store full size images in the cloud, but right now they are storing 2048px maximum size. When I jump between my iPad and iPhone I really don’t want to lose thousands of pixels!

Hands-on with Handy Photo

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.

Handy Photo GUI

Handy Photo GUI on the iPad

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.


– 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.

Fragment(s) of Your Imagination

Fragment is a new Universal app that let’s you create some fascinating ‘fragmented’ photos. This is one of those apps where it is almost better to see how it works rather than read my description, so I strongly suggest you watch the movie on the Fragment App website. It’s about a minute long but gives you a good feel for it.

The photo app wizards at Pixite LLC, the developers of Tangent (App Store Best of 2013), have done it again and created another extraordinary app for iPhonographers. Called Fragment, the new photo enhancement app lets users transform their photos into stunning, visual artistry using a series of uniquely prismatic overlays. The overlays break up, or “fragment” images into a collage of mesmerizing patterns and shapes that Pixite’s Creative Director Ben Guerrette says, “mirrors the effect of looking through refracted glass, or the facets on a gemstone or prism.”

Fragment’s users can take any picture from their photo library, choose how they want to crop it and then manipulate the image by selecting from a creative toolbar of overlays featuring various frames, shapes, and patterns. Once selected, the image is then “fragmented” into a kaleidoscope of reflections, depending on the overlay, and can be scaled and rotated at will using simple finger swipes and pinches.

Additionally, there are intuitive shading and color controls with brightness, contrast, blurring, additive, inversion and desaturation capabilities. For users who love spontaneity, Fragment serves up a shuffle button, offering randomly “fragmented” creations that can provide further artistic ideas and inspiration.

I tried this out and it took me a few minutes to get the hang of all the features, but after a few minutes it was making sense. Starting out with the randomization button is a great way to start since you’ll immediately get a feel for the interesting images you can create with it. The reset button is also useful when you want to start from scratch. You can then begin to explore the more advanced controls. I really love the blur feature that let’s you blur foreground/background of the image in creative ways.

Fragment App GUI

The simple GUI of the Fragment App.

The GUI is straightforward. This image shows the advanced controls for adjusting contrast. The app is very quick on my iPhone 5 with no delays when moving the sliders or changing fragment shapes. The one thing I would like to see would be the ability to adjust the width of some fragment lines. As an example, with a basic rectangular frame you can adjust the overall width/height of the exterior of frame, but you can’t adjust the width of the frame portion itself (if that is clear…often hard to describe such a thing with words).

Below are a few images I created with Fragment. The app can be used to create some really nice looks. I particularly like it for the sort of abstract images you can create with it. In the ones I did below I often used Snapseed. In the first one I also used Artomaton.

If you like this sort of effect I highly recommend the app. You should grab the app while it is just $1 during it’s initial launch sale. [Download]

Note: not yet sure about the new ’embedded’ Flickr links. Will have to look in to this at some point. I’ll at least test to make sure they show up on mobile devices after I hit publish.

Moxie: a Photo Filter Extravaganza

Many years ago Moxie was a soft drink, but now it is an app that lets you easily create, share, and apply filters to your photos.

I gave this app a try and found I could easily create filters using a wide array of textures and colors that are available and can be layered on top of one another. The ability to use your own photos as texture layers is superb feature. In this video I show most of the features in version 1.0 of the app. Since then version 1.1 has been released which fixed a few bugs, improved the interface a bit, improved sharing, and added additional in-app help. The resolution was also increased to 1440 px (square). Luckily the video still covers all the main features.

It’s a great app to create filters with minimal effort. Being able to save your favorites and use filters created by others makes it useful today and in the future. I think one of my favorite features is being able to toggle a switch to see the photos of others in the before/after state. Always interesting to learn how people get a certain look using just a few colors, textures, and vignettes. One additional feature I’d like to see is a basic exposure and contrast adjustment for the initial photo. Based on how much the app improved from version 1.0 to 1.1 in just two weeks, I have a feeling more features are coming! Can’t wait to see what shows up next.

It’s definitely worth trying this free iPhone app. You can learn more about it on the Moxie App home page, or just go grab Moxie right now on iTunes.

With Moxie, it’s easy to create unique photo filters from scratch and share them with others. Moxie’s powerful layering tool allows anyone to share the ‘chemistry’ behind the filter they make. Filters are made public to the Moxie network where people can simply admire them, or reuse them on their own photos. Our completely transparent network makes it easy for anyone to be creative.

Pull a photo into Moxie and add multiple layers of colors, textures, gradients, or layer another photo to create your masterpiece. Your artwork then becomes viewable to others who can reuse and re-edit the filter for their own photos. There are so many amazing artists that create interesting and complex photo art and Moxie lets you see the chemistry behind them all! Join Moxie now to see what others are creating, follow other artists, and use their filters on your own photos.

Moxie App logo