Tag Archives: photography

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.

How did National Geographic get those great shots?

I’ve always been a fan of National Geographic’s photography — and how could you not be? The National Geographic Society photographers have produced some of the best images of the last century.

And now, you can learn how National Geographic photographers get their shots with a new photo-magazine app, 50 Greatest Photographs of National Geographic.

Some of the more interesting features of the app include:

  • Learn the stories behind these iconic photographs from the photographers themselves, and see videos explaining how they captured their shots.
  • See the sequence of images made by the photographers in the field, and find out just how the “perfect shot” happened.
  • Share National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Photographs with your friends through email and Facebook.
  • Connect with National Geographic magazine’s community by viewing our top user-submitted photographs or submitting your best photographs.
  • National Geographic magazine attracts the world’s finest photographers. Here is your chance to learn more about them.

Well worth the addition to your iPad Darkroom library. Obviously, this app excels on the larger display of the iPad — it’s not available for iPod Touch or iPhone.
In the App Store – $4.99.

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.

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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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Photo Soft Box Pro HD gets significant update

Photo Soft Box Pro HD, which I’ve reviewed on my Lifestyle Technology blog, just received a great update with features requested by current users, including:

  • You can now use your own shapes as diffusers!
  • Also on our new site we will have a new FREE downloadable shape a week.
  • Flip and Mirror of shapes. This comes in handy if you made your own shape with text and you are reflecting it off something.
  • You can turn on and off the black around a shape.
  • More shapes! What is an update without more shapes to use as diffusers.

Very cool that you can use any image from your Photo Roll as a source soft box image. Opens up the possibilities.