FX Photo Studio: Utterly Enjoyable Photo Editing

There are now a great number of photo editing apps available for the iPad, a few of which we looked at in our roundup of 7 Awesome iPad Photography Apps. There is a clear distinction forming between apps that give you the functionality to completely control the processing of a photo, and those that aim to do some of the legwork for you – often by including numerous filters and preset effects. Filterstorm and PhotoForge2 would be good examples of the former, while Snapseed and Photogene are great examples of the latter.

Today we’re going to look at an app that is a powerful mix of both types of photography apps. FX Photo Studio HD brings the enjoyment and sheer creativity of filters together with superior processing and ultimate control, read on to see just how good FX Photo Studio is…

First Impressions

First impressions are really important for an app, particularly if you’ve paid to download and enjoy it! The good news is that FX Photo Studio makes a great first impression, it loads quickly and presents you with a bright and dynamic logo screen that encourages you to get started by taking a photo, editing one from your photo album, or importing one.

FX Photo Studio allows you to import photos from Facebook, a nice touch!

You can't help but be cheered at the sight of a logo like this!

You can't help but be cheered at the sight of a logo like this!

To get started quickly I chose to use a photo from my photo library and, after deciding not to crop it, I was dropped right into the fray! The design of FX Photo Studio’s interface is stylish and continued the good impression it was already making – I like the simple grey UI style and the clarity of the icons.

The app opens with the ‘All Effects’ tab selected in the right column, a quick swipe and it rapidly becomes clear the FX Photo Studio means business…

There are 190 effects in all, spanning 20 categories! There are also 5 categories that are locked and available for purchase, for $0.99 each.

Each effect is shown using a preview image of a house.

Each effect is shown using a preview image of a house.

Power Tools

The is a great deal of power behind FX Photo Studio, much of it lurking just below the surface. There are, of course, the basic tools such as Crop, Rotate, Resize, and Adjust, which allow for simple editing and basic processing of a shot, but these are just the tip of the iceberg.

One of my favourite features has to be the ‘Draw Mask’ function; which allows you to control, in great detail, just how and where the current effect will be applied. Once Draw Mask has been selected you can:

  • Pan & Zoom, to focus on the right section.
  • Show Mask, and highlight the area you have masked.
  • Paint FX, paint on the mask itself.
  • Erase FX, do the opposite.
  • Adjust Brush Options, including Diameter, Softness, and Opacity.
  • Invert, reverse the masked area.
  • Undo and Redo any changes.

I particularly like the Invert function, it gives you an easy way of achieve a colour splash or motion blur effect; simply mask the small area you want to keep as it is and then hit Invert!

Using Invert to create a colour splash effect without the hassle.

Using Invert to create a colour splash effect without the hassle.

The huge variety of effects never fails to astound, and while some of the them won’t be to your taste (effects such as Rainbow Palette and Colour Explosion are just obscene), there is plenty here for everyone. The adjustment options of each filter giving you that much more control over the outcome of your image.

Lion.

Lion.

In Comparison

The current leader in this field of iPad photography apps has to be the excellent Snapseed, which we reviewed not that long ago. It’s certainly worth comparing FX Photo Studio to Snapseed, as they are striving to achieve the same thing; endlessly enjoyable photo editing.

You can easily see the original image by tapping the eye icon.

You can easily see the original image by tapping the eye icon.

The good thing is that FX Photo Studio actually stands up quite well in comparison with Snapseed, with many of the differences down to personal preference rather than a gap in quality or functionality. Their interfaces certainly differ, Snapseed goes all out for a custom interface that makes extensive use of gestures; swiping movements allow you to adjust and switch between elements of an effect. This will certainly appeal to some, but others may find it a little clumsy and difficult to control.

Conversely, FX Photo Studio goes for a more reserved and controlled interface. Your interactions are mostly direct touches with buttons and sliders, rather than an engagement with the invisible. For some people this difference in interface design will be all they need to make their decision, I wouldn’t say one is inherently better, rather that different people will enjoy different approaches.

I, personally, like that FX Photo Studio allows you to favourite your preferred filters and even save particular effects you’ve created as presets. On the downside I do find that Snapseed has more well designed filters – some of FX Photo Studio’s are so wild as to be unusable in virtually all situations.

Both apps give you a satisfying and enjoyable photo editing experience, and encourage creativity and taking interesting risks with your processing.

Sharing

As always, FX Photo Studio gives you the full gamut of sharing options – although perhaps goes a little further than most with flickr, Tumblr, and Instagram support. This screenshot says it all…

Share and share alike.

Share and share alike.

Conclusion

FX Photo Studio HD is an utterly enjoyable way to go about editing and adding interesting effects to your photos. It’s inexpensive (currently available at $1.99) and gives you great value for your money, the effects and depth of functionality will suit most people looking for enjoyable photo processing.

While it’s not suitable for people who take their photography really seriously, it’s certainly a worthy addition to any iPad.


Summary

FX Photo Studio HD is an utterly enjoyable way to go about editing and adding interesting effects to your photos.

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