If you’ve been reading PadGadget for some time, you may have noticed that we already did a review of FX Photo Studio HD. In the original review, we thought it was a great app, but recently, some changes have been added to turn that great app into an amazing app, which we just had to revisit and share with you.
FX Photo Studio is one of our favorite photo editing apps for the iPad, with tons of pre-made photo filters (194), easy photo sharing, color splash ability, and the newly added paint with effects feature that allows you to add effects exactly where you want them, for endless possibilities.
Photos can be quickly imported into FX Photo Studio in one of three ways: from the iPad’s Photo Album, from Facebook, or, if you’re using an iPad 2, right from the camera. When you choose a photo, you have the option to crop it before beginning your alterations. From there, photo editing is a simple process.
Your photo is displayed on the left, and an array of photo effects are on the right side of the screen. You can scroll up and down on this menu bar, and add effects to your list of favorites by tapping the star. Since there are a lot of filters to sort through, there are categories that you can select from like Art, Black and White, Color Fantasy, Groovy Lo-Fi, Vintage, Sketch, and more. You can also create your own pre-set filters by choosing your favorites, layering them, and then saving the result.
Every effect that you apply can be edited for strength and contrast, with a sliding edit bar, for looks that range from barely detectable to ultra dramatic. Effects range from simple color changes and blurring to standard photo alterations like vintage, grunge, and cross-processing, which you will find in almost all of your favorite photo manipulation apps, like Hipstamatic and Instagram. There are artistic filters that turn your photos into sketches and paintings, plus silly filters to add scary faces, lightening, sparkles, and more to photos. Essentially, everything you could want to do with a photo that’s going to be shared on the Internet can be found in these filters.
The best part of FX Photo Studio, which was added in a recent update, is the ability to paint filters on specific parts of a photo. This is done by tapping on the “draw mask” button. From there, you can zoom in and use brushes to color in areas where you want your photo effect to appear.
There are adjustable paintbrushes, with different brush sizes, softness (edge feathering), and opacity. There’s also an eraser and an undo button if you make a mistake. Generally you will want to use a large brush for big elements, and a smaller, softer brush for edges. Masks can also be reversed, so if you paint your effect on a flower, and then decide you want to apply it to the area surrounding the flower instead, it’s as simple as tapping a button.
You can adjust your finished photo and edit brightness, contrast, gamma (brightens darkened areas or darkens lightened areas), hue, and saturation. There are also tools for cropping, resizing, and rotating. When your photo masterpiece is complete, it can be shared on your favorite social network.
What I liked: There are a lot of filters available in this app, and being able to paint them only on certain areas of the photo can turn out some great effects.
What I didn’t like: I would like to see finer brushes or more greater zooming capability, because masking the small areas in some photos was overly time consuming and imperfect. I would also like to be able to remove the preview window, which was just in the way most of the time, and have a more accurate redo button, which consistently removed more steps than I wanted removed.
To buy or not to buy: This app was a great value before it was updated, but now it’s a must have for anyone who likes to casually edit photos on the iPad. This isn’t going to replace Aperture or Photoshop, but it does produce some snazzy pictures.
- App Name: FX Photo Studio HD
- Version Reviewed: 4.0
- Category: Photography
- Developer: MacPhun
- Price: $2.99