retromatic iconRetromatic is an interesting app that lets you create retro-looking posters in a square format. This is probably the app’s biggest limit, since it could be great to be able to have the chance to produce something in a rectangular shape and use it for real as a poster. Anyway, this is definitely a fun app to use, and it can produce some really nice effects.
Retromatic is universal: the interface on the iPhone and the iPad is identical, easy to use and with some nice features.

All considered, Retromatic is a nice little app for some fun editing. In my opinion, it would be nicer without the square-format limit and a higher resolution, but you can at least produce some fun digital posters even as it now.

PROS: nice set of effects, automated estraction
CONS: the square format is a limit in this case
Check also: -

Compatibility Universal
Price 1.99$
Free/Light version? Yes
Developer Petavision
Resolution 1248 px – Square only
My Rating 6/10

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Filed under 1224 (square), 6, Bleach-bypass, Camera, Edit existing, Facebook, Filters, Flickr, Instagram, Lo-Fi, Petavision, Posters, Square format, Twitter, Universal, Updated regularly


pixlr-o-matic iconPixlr-o-Matic is an app based on Pixlr, a free online editor and set of tools currently own by Autodesk. The app is dedicated to adding lo-fi and vintage filters or fun textures to your photos, and it’s mostly meant to an audience that like quick and easy editing effects. It’s universal, completely free and you can download lots of free content as well.

What I really dislike about Pixlr-o-matic is that you have no way to tune down the effects. Many of the textures are definitely too strong for my taste and they take over the image completely, while they could maybe work fine if tuned down. This get worse with the light effects.

The crop button doesn’t make much sense. It crops the image to a square format, but you have no way to “re-center” the photo. So, it works fine only if the subject is right in the middle of the image.

Not all the effects are automatically included with the app, but you can downloaded them for free from the effects section. Beware though: they can be really too much, and not all of them are that good. You can deactivate the ones that you really dislike from the “My Effects” sub-section. The whole Effects section doesn’t seem to be optimized for the iPhone: buttons and text labels look definitely too small, here.

Once you feel the image is ready, you have an unnecessary screen where you can see it “hanging”. From there you can tap the export button or go back: why not export directly from the main editor? The app supports full resolution, but every time i tried to save a 13MP image on my iPad 2 it crashed (worked fine on my iPhone 4s).

You should never complain about something that is completely free, so I cannot really complain about Pixlr-o-matic. Still, there something about this app that prevents me from using it as much as I’d like. I find the “Light” section, in particular, quite bad for my tastes: without a slider to set the filter’s strength, my preferred option is to have it off completely. Cropping should be improved and the “effects” interface should be redesigned for the iPhone. The other two sections, “Rolls” (for the main effect) and “Frames” are quite good: still, a strength slider would make the former even better once again.

PROS: Free, Universal, many effects
CONS: No strength slider, lots of mediocre effects
Check also: Snapseed, Photoforge2, Filterstorm, Instagram, Magic Hour, Vintique, Aviary

Compatibility Universal
Price FREE
Free/Light version? -
Developer Autodesk Inc.
Resolution Full
My Rating 6/10

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Filed under 6, Autodesk Inc., Camera, Dropbox, Edit existing, Facebook, Filters, Flickr, Free, Free downloadable extras, Full Res,, Lo-Fi, Universal, Updated regularly

Photo Editor by Aviary

snapseed newAviary is a set of photo editing tools that can be included for free by developers into any iOS, Android or Windows Mobile app. This means that you will find lots of software in the store that include the Aviary interface for photo editing purposes: some are just a blatant copy of the tools, repackaged and sold for some money, while others are app with a vision of their own that include these tools as an extra.
Aviary’s own iOS app has finally been released a few months ago: it’s completely free, it is now universal (the iPhone and iPad interfaces are basically identical) and it’s good enough to replace all the useless (and sometimes expensive) clones that have been available in the Store for some time.

Once you load an image, you reach the main Photo Editor screen.

Aviary iPad02

The Enhance section lets you apply four basic enhancements. No way to apply any “strength” setting to the enhancement: basically, you cannot customize a thing in Aviary.

In the Effects tool, you have four categories available. Only the first one is free, you’ll have to pay (0,99€) for each of the other “rolls”. But BEWARE: if you buy an extra in Photo Editor by Aviary, it does not mean that the same extras will be included in any app that uses the Aviary APIs. If you want the same extra in a specific app, you’ll have to pay for it again.

In the Stickers section, you’ll have a set as a free download and several more for a fee. Once you download them, you’ll be able to apply mustaches, glasses, hats, ballons, monsters, etc, to your images.

You can also apply a set of standard adjustments: Brightness, Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness, Redeye, Whiten and Blemish. They all work as expected, and they’re pretty easy to use.

Finally, you can draw over the image, apply some text and you also have a “Meme” tool where you can create your next Facebook phenomenon.

All in all, Photo Editor by Aviary is a nice set of tools. It does not really excel at anything, but it’s worth have since it’s free, it’s simple to use, and you might want to get used to an interface that you will probably find in many other apps. It’s also worth mentioning that it can save images up to 12 MP, which is definitely nice.

PROS: Free, Universal, Simple, High resolution
CONS: No customization options, most tools are too basic, too many paid extras
Check also: Magic Hour, Vintique, Snapseed, Photoforge2

Compatibility Universal
Price FREE
Free/Light version? -
Developer Aviary
Resolution 12 MP
My Rating 7/10


Filed under 7, Aviary, Aviary-tools, ca. 12MP, Camera, Crop/Uncrop, Edit existing, Facebook, Filters, Flickr, Free, Free downloadable extras, Lo-Fi, Tumblr, Twitter, Universal, Updated regularly

Snapseed [UPDATED]

snapseed new
Snapseed has been in the news recently, since Google acquired Nik Software, the German company that develops it. Most of the articles called for an “anti-Instagram” move, comparing Snapseed to the popular image sharing platform: this makes no sense at all, since Snapseed is a complete photo editing software, and it cannot be put on the same level as a (extremely good) social app with some basic filter settings.
Snapseed is universal, and you can have exactly the same features on the iPhone and iPad.

UPDATE: Snapseed has been updated! It is now FREE, has a new feature called “Retro-Lux”, new frames and can now export directly to Google+.

When you launch the app, you can start getting the hang of it using the sample image. Or, of course, you can take a new picture or edit one in the Camera Roll.

The start page in landscape and portrait mode on the iPad.

Using the tools on the bottom (or right) you have access to all the functions. Autocorrect is the first one you might want to try.

The interface is pretty intuitive: you swipe vertically to pick the setting you want to change, you swipe horizontally to change the setting.
Here’s how the Tuning section looks on the iPhone:

Selective Adjust makes you pick control points for Brightness, Contrast or Saturation. By pinching you decide the range (the affected area turns red while you apply the gesture). You can then change the amount for the selected setting.

The Details section lets you edit the image’s sharpness or its “structure” (making weaker details stronger):

The Black & White section has several presets:

You can also customize the results editing Brightness, Contrast, Grain and the Color Filter:

The Vintage, Drama and Grunge sections allows you to apply different filters and textures, and the results can be amazing. What I like here is that this features are highly customizable, so that you can fiddle until you find what you like and you can tune down textures if you feel they are too aggressive. What I definitely DON’T like about Snapseed is that, once you apply a filter, there is no Undo button. You can revert to the original image, but you’ll have to discard everything you have done in the middle.

The Center Focus and the Tilt Shift sections lets you both apply blur effects to the image. The former has some presets, and it is also recommended for vignetting. The latter has a wider set of options that let you achieve the effect you want.

UPDATE: a new “backlight” section, called Retrolux, has been added.

UPDATE: The Frames section has just been revamped: you now have a lot more to choose from, and you can also apply them in square format, cropping the image while you do that.

All in all, Snapseed is an wonderful photo editor with some high-end features and only one big minus: the lack of an Undo button. After some uncertainty, it seems this app might still have a future on iOS after Google’s acquisition. Big G had no problems in discontinuing popular software in the past, but it seems now to have made Snapseed a part of their Google+ project.

PROS: Wonderful advanced editor that provides great results, highly customizable, high resolution, FREE
CONS: No Undo
Check also: Photoforge2, Laminar, Filterstorm Pro

Compatibility Universal
Price FREE
Free/Light version? -
Developer Nik Software
Resolution Full
My Rating 9/10


Filed under 9, Camera, Crop/Uncrop, Edit existing, Facebook, Filters, Free, Full Res, Future uncertain, Instagram, Must-have!, Nik Software, Other Apps, Tilt Shift, Twitter, Universal

Artify FX

artifyfx iconI stumbled into Artify FX by chance and decided to give it a try, since the app had just been released and there were no reviews available at the time.
That was my mistake: this software, released as two separate apps, does is mediocrely blends some bad textures over your photos, with a bad interface and producing some mediocre low-resolution results.
This software would not be worth your downloading time if it were free. Since the iPhone and the iPad versions cost 2.99$ each I really recommend you to keep away from it!

I don’t have much more to add: avoid this app even if you find it for free. It would just be a waste of space on your device’s disk.

PROS: none
CONS: low res, bad results, mediocre interface
Check also: SketchMee, PaintMee

Compatibility iPhone + iPad (two apps)
Price 2.99$
Free/Light version? No
Developer Jiehua Deng
Resolution Low resolution
My Rating 2/10

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Filed under < 2MP, 2, Artistic, Avoid!, Filters, iPad + iPhone (two apps), Jiehua Deng, Paid, Sketch, Updated regularly


xprocess iconXprocess is another app dedicated to cross processing emulation. In the analogue world this technique consists in processing a film using chemicals that were originally meant for another one: this produces unpredictable color shifts and weirdly-saturated images. Compared to other iOS tools, Xprocess lets you customize every step of the simulation, and has a really wide range of presets that you can start from.

Trying a few random presets: some of them are definitely “too much” for my taste. Mostare nice, though. You can also tap the Random button until you find something you like: it can take time, though…

You can modify a preset at any time, editing it’s main process, two layers and vignetting. I didn’t find a way to save the modified settings as a new preset. It would have been nice.

Using the “Save” button on top you export images to the Camera Roll, while the “Message” button at the button lets you mail the photo or export it to Facebook and Twitter (using the standard iOS 6 interface). XProcess supports full resolution, and that is always great.

PROS: Lots of presets, filters can be customized, full resolution
CONS: Basic interface, some mediocre presets, cannot save custom ones
Check also: Cross Process, Instagram, Magic Hour

Compatibility iPhone
Price 0.99$
Free/Light version? No
Developer youthhr/td>
Resolution Full
My Rating 7/10

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Filed under 7, Camera, Edit existing, Facebook, Filters, Full Res, iPhone only, Lo-Fi, Paid, Twitter, Updated regularly, XPro, youthhr