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