Category Archives: Future Shop Tech Blog

Unleash your inner Spielberg


I’m sure all of us have, at one point or another, dreamed of releasing that movie director deep inside, and making our own movie, complete with music and special effects.

Well, if your dream is to make one that hearkens back to the golden days of silent cinema, then I’ve got an inexpensive app for you.

Silent Film Director, released today, can help you make movies in a style reminensent of the classic Hollywood silver screen.

It’s a very slick app that lets you shoot, edit and share movies on your iPhone, iPod Touch or iPad (in Universal mode). Continue reading Unleash your inner Spielberg

Fast and free Photoshop Express app gets an update


I’m a big fan of Adobe’s Photoshop Express as an online service.

Basically it’s a free online image organizer / storage box and a collection of robust image editing tools (Similar to Flickr and Picasa).

But where Adobe’s tried to differentiate Photoshop Express from the competition is by also releasing a free and powerful Photoshop Express iOS image capture and editing app that ties into the Photoshop Express online service.

Image 2011316123917.jpgAnd now with this latest update, there’s more focus (sorry) on the camera workflow side of things, which includes an in-app purchase of the Adobe Camera Pack:

  • New Camera workflow for rapid in-app photo-taking
  • In-App Purchase of Adobe Camera Pack: Reduce Noise, Self Timer, and Auto Review
  • Full Retina Display Support
  • Multi-Tasking Support

Nice to see some of these features bundled in, and optional — buy ’em if you need ’em — otherwise you’ve still got access to a good set of image capture, editing and sharing tools, for free.
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From Glass to Tablets — Tiffen Photo FX Ultra

tlogo.jpgOne of the long-time players in the glass photo filter and accessory space is company called Tiffen.

And recently I learned that they were also in the iPad  image editing space with Photo FX Ultra -a very powerful image editing app that includes a surprising number of filters and a few effects I’d not seen before.

I’ll save the feature list for the end, but here’s a couple of the neat features I use:

Great set of graduated diffusion filters. One cool feature is that not only can you use a preset filter setting (SoftFX 1, SoftFX2, etc), but you can also tweak the settings to suite your creative judgment.

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A great selection of graduated filters and neutral density filters that you can selectively apply to an image — in this one I’ve applied a neutral density gradation to the top portion of this image.

Image 201132101318.jpg


This one is neat — it puts a light pattern into your image -either a gobo-style lighting pattern or a window pattern.

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You can adjust the placement of the pattern, and to add a bit more depth to the effect, you can selectively erase the pattern, create a new layer, then put a new copy of the pattern in a slightly different location to give the illusion of depth.

And as promised, here’s the full list of features in this iPad darkroom app:

  • Choose from 77 filters organized into 8 different filter groups
  • Select from a total of 934 presets
  • Try one of the 65 different color or black and white film looks
  • Add realistic diffusion to photos using a library of 50 interesting textures
  • Create natural lighting effects using 117 different patterns
  • Choose from 27 grain presets to simulate popular motion picture film stocks
  • Paint on the image using Color, Clone, Blur, Black and White, Mosaic, Red Eye, Repair, Scatter and Eraser brushes
  • Crop, Rotate, Straighten
  • Zoom into the image with the Close-Up Lens filter
  • Add multiple filters without saving
  • Selectively apply filters by painting a mask
  • Modify filters with sliders, on-screen controls or presets
  • High resolution support up to 3072 pixels
  • Edit in portrait or landscape mode
  • Compatibility with the still image editions of the Tiffen Dfx Digital Filter Suite
  • Quickly search for filters and presets
  • Integrated Help

One problem I had regularly with Photo FX Ultra was when working with very large images — the app would crash without warning when trying to add a new layer or saving out the image.

This wasn’t a problem when working with normal iOS images such as captures from an iPhone or iPad screenshots, but when I was working with large .jpg images imported from a DSLR (around 4 – 5 mb) the app would be challenged.

I’ve reached out to the developer on this and am awaiting feedback — and will update this post when I’ve got news. and the develop has responded:

We don’t put a resolution limit on images that you can process on the iPad. However, the iPad only has 256mb of memory and 128mb are used up by the system before you run anything. The iPad is severly underpowered to process DSLR size images. You can increase your odds by making sure no other app is running when using Photo fx.


Still Recommend
Yes, even thought it has issues handling larger images, for the vast majority of work I do on my iPad I can I still recommend this app for the great variety of preset filters that have direct correlation to the real-world filters made by Tiffen.

As well, the way you can move and selectively apply the filters offers you greater control than I’ve seen other similarly priced image editing suites.

The concept of adding layers of edits to your image brings it into the realm of desktop editing software such as Photoshop.

And once the developer addresses the large image size problem, this app will be one to have in your digital darkroom tookit.

So, as long as you’re not working with images that are large, in my experience over 4mb DSLR images for example, you’ll find Photo FX Ultra a valuable addition to your toolkit.

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Learn how to make the light work for you

One thing about being into photography; you quickly realize that there’s a lot to learn from other photographers.

A subject that’s always challenged me has been the concept of making light work for me rather than forcing me to adapt to the demands of the light sources.

Learning from other photographers through their lighting diagrams has helped me better understand how a particular tool (reflector, barn doors, snoot, etc) should be used to get a specific result.

And recently, I found some things that let me work through the thinking exercise needed to create better-lit images.
Continue reading Learn how to make the light work for you