Tag Archives: digital darkroom

A Photo Project, An Update, and a Contest?

Earlier today the folks behind one of my favourite iOS digital darkroom apps (FX Photo Studio) announced a great new collaborative photography app and project, in the form of a contest:

As a gesture of appreciation to its loyal fans, MacPhun is also developing the first ever jointly collaborated, free standalone wallpaper app that will showcase user-submitted photographs edited with FX Photo Studio and other photography iOS apps. With MacPhun’s support, the app will provide the ideal platform for aspiring artists and photographers to gain increased exposure for their work. To kick off the submission process, MacPhun will be holding a two month promotion on their Facebook page. Prizes include iTunes gift cards, photo printing gift vouchers and much more. For more information on this contest, please visit: http://www.macphun.com/photoproject/

To help kick off this great idea, FX Photo Studio & FX Photo Studio HD have been updated to iOS 4.3 and now include a new filter category, Sketches:

MacPhun has collaborated with established artists from North America and Europe to create a new “sketches” category. The newly added category consists of six cartoon-styled filters providing users with a total of 187 filters to mix, match and share with friends. The addition of more precise tuning controls for contrasting, adjusting hues and sharpening filters, provide even more unequivocal tools to users, making one of the most useful image editing apps on the market, even better.

And to make it even easier for new iPhone and iPad2 photographers, FX Photo Studio and FX Photo Studio HD will both be discounted to $0.99 and $1.99, respectively, for a very limited time.

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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Your ‘fridge as an art gallery

sg4.jpgSo you’ve been playing around in your digital darkroom on your camera-equipped iDevice or Android or Windows7 Mobile, or Palm Pre, and you’re wanting to get your images out of the digital dungeon and into the Real World(tm).

What’s a body to do?
Well, soon you’ll be able to transform those images or the ones you’re really, REALLY proud of anyway, into the hallmark of honoured hubris, the mighty Fridge Magnet, courtesy of the fine folk at StickyGram.

Currently the site is in closed beta, but if these few images (and the one on their tumblr blog are any indication, soon fridges around the world will be adorned with custom printed photo magnets of ‘grammed images.

Now they’re also running an interesting closed beta — follow them, tweet about them, and get your friends to use a custom link, and you’ll be bumped closer to the head of the queue of beta invites.





Cool looking concept that could, I say could, help you manage the generic sets of magnets we all seem to acquire on our fridges. I’ll be watching for this, as my fridge, needs more ‘fine art’!

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iPad2 Announced. More Power.

Though it appears that the screen resolution of our favourite iOS device won’t change, the horsepower behind the screen sure will.

According to the images presented by Steve Jobs in today’s iPad2 announcement, the unit will feature:

  • Dual-core processors
  • Up to 2x faster CPU
  • Up to 9x faster graphics
  • New A5 chip
  • Same low power as A4 chip
  • First dual core tablet to ship in volume

As well, it’ll be thinner, lighter, and available in white. Oh, and it has cameras. 2 of them. No excuse for missing that shot if you have your iPad2 with you then.

What this means for many iPad Darkroom apps and users is that whatever apps you use in your digital darkroom, expect them to get enhancements soon to take advantage of the new horsepower in the new hardware. Not sure how this will impact upgraded apps on iPad1 hardware. Time will tell.




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.

Image 201132101255.jpg


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.

Image 201132101306.jpg


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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