Tuesday, 20 December 2011

FX PhotoStudio iPhone app review

Do you like to take pictures with your iPhone? Do you enjoy giving them a nice twist before sharing them in Twitter, Flickr, etc.? If yes, you should continue reading my new review: FX PhotoStudio iPhone app from MacPhun LCC. The guys at MacPhun have been developing photo apps not only for iPhone but also for iPad and Mac, so they know what they are doing.

Let’s start with the review.

When you start the app you are presented with a flower screen. A funny and nice touch is that at the center of the flower you can see a “reflection” of what the front camera is seeing. From this screen you can access to the main functions. On the left upper area you can find buttons to “Like” the app in different social media, buy other apps from MacPhun. And on the right side you have the Options button and an Arrow button to continue with the photo you were working on (the arrow will only appear if you were working with some picture before you exited the app previously).

In Options menu you can configure the maximum resolution, quality, hidden effects (effects you do not like for instance), online help (Amazing Facts), Shake to apply a random effect, auto rotate image, add location info to the picture and the Flower cam view camera in use.

In the lower part you have three buttons to start working with new pictures: you can either Take Photo within the app, select a picture from the Camera Roll or Import Photo from either Facebook or import photos that have been previously sent to the app through iTunes into your iPhone.

In case you use the build-in camera feature, you will see that besides choosing the auto focus area, you can also choose the area where the exposure is calculated from. This can be really convenient to get good results when taking your pics as your auto focus and exposure do not have to be in the same area, an advantage over the standard iPhone camera app.

If you choose Import Photo from Facebook you will be asked to log in to your Facebook account. From there you can browse all your own albums and your friends public albums. However if you have a big amount of friends it can take quite a long time until all friends and albums area loaded.

And what you can do once you have your picture imported? Let's then have a look at the editor screen. You can find two tool bars. On the top you have first a "Flower" icon to go back to the main screen where you can select a new picture, an Undo button, the FX Add Effect button to access to the gallery of effects, a redo button and finally a Save and Share button. On the lower bar you have the Tools button, the Color Splash and the Add Text. By the way, there are some paid effects that you can buy through in-app purchase

Let's check in more detail two of the upper bar buttons, the FX Add Effect and the Share button. With the FX button you will have access to a very extensive gallery of effects. You can browse the effects by Categories, All Effects, you can "star" Favorite effects and you can even create Presets that will create a new preset with all the previously applied effects to the image you are editing, so you can reuse it later.

From the Categories screen you can also tap Edit button to rearrange the order of the categories and if you are inside one category, you can press edit to hide or rearrange effects.

From the Save and Share button you can store your edited picture into the Photo Album, Documents (to be retrieved from iTunes later on) or copy it to the clipboard (and paste it in any other app). And if you want to directly share from the app you can choose Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Mail, Tumblr, Print (from iPhone printing menu) or even post it to Instagram (it requires to have Instagram installed). Also from the Instagram button you can send the picture to any other iPhone app installed that supports images as an input (for instance ReaddleDocs). I think the share possibilities are really well covered by the app. Ah, and you can also submit your picture to an International Photo Contest that FX Photo Studio guys organize.

And let's have now a look at the lower bar. First the Tools button. From here you can access to a Crop function, Rotate function and an very complete Adjust function.

From the Adjust window you can modifiy the Gamma, Brightness and Contrast, Saturation and Hue and back to default option.

The Color Splash button brings you to a new view where you can play with the color of the picture, creating a mask.

You can adjust the settings to create the mask, with the Circle button on top, you can view the mask with the Eye button and you can also access other mask options from the three dots button, like clear the mask, invert it and mark the outline of the mask tap area as well as a small square showing what your finger is touching.

And last of the options, the Add Text. You can choose from a range of text labels that you can add, modify or delete from your picture.

I found some kind of bug that can be very annoying if you use special characters (like á, é, ä, å, etc), or for instance Japanese language (I assume the same problem might be with Chinese characters). The text input does not allow any of those characters for some unknown reason (maybe the font), but I think this should be fixed if this wants to be a worldwide compatible app.

As a summary I must say that this app is really fun. This is not about Photoshop or anything like that, it is about making something different, improve your phone taken pictures to send later by email, share online, etc. And I really like it.

What was the best and the worst:
I like:

  • Easy to use and fast
  • Many possibilities
  • Nice features to improve your pictures without having even to apply effects (Adjust option)
  • Pictures keep their original resolution and can be printed with high quality after effects have been applied

I don't like it

  • No text support for special characters
  • Not all effects are free of charge

Overall I really enjoyed it and I would recommend you the app if you want to have fun with your pics and share them. So, if you are already convinced, go ahead and buy the app from the this appstore link. It is just €1.59 ($1.99). NOTE: I've been informed by the app developers that during this holiday season the app will be just $0.99! Take advantage of the offer while it lasts.


1 comment:

  1. Such a great app! You can just use your iPhone for posting photos on your blog.