PhotoToaster: Powerful Processing for Everyone

It’s always good news when an app category already populated by quality welcomes a new contender. PhotoToaster is a photo editing and post-processing app that is designed to make the experience of playing with your photos as enjoyable as it should be.

It’s from East Coast Pixels, the people behind ColorBlast!, a simple processing app that focusses on doing one thing well. PhotoToaster has got a huge number of positive reviews in the App Store, especially for a relatively new app, we’re going to find out whether it lives up to the hype!

Could PhotoToaster be your new favourite photo processing app?

Design & Interface

It’s not always that helpful to start with a review of the interface and design of an app, but in the case of a photo processing application such as PhotoToaster, I think it’s vital. Even casual photographers tend to be visually discerning, after all.

PhotoToaster

I’m also a fan of the icon, it perfectly captures the focus and concept of the app.

Good news on this front as PhotoToaster has a restrained, but beautifully functional, interface. It’s intuitive and effortlessly responsive, perfectly making use of the iPad’s strengths. My only criticism would be that the textures used throughout tend towards a pixellated effect, which is slightly out of place in a photography app.

The interface is made by the little animations and transitions that take you from one menu to the next. A particular favourite is the control in the bottom left when you’re in the Global Presets menu, the subtle way it rotates as it moves to the next selection is lovely.

Global Presets

It’s also rather pleasant the way every control and preset reacts almost instantaneously, allowing you to quickly move through potential filters. It is worth bearing in mind, however, that PhotoToaster does work better on an iPad 2 – it makes good use of the multi-core processor.

How Is It Different?

One of the key questions you have to ask when reviewing software in a crowded category is about the factors that set an app apart. What does it do that others don’t? Why should I buy this when there are good free apps available? How is it different?

Chameleon

PhotoToaster opens on its simple tips that get you going as quickly as possible. You can easily access these again by tapping the ‘?’.

PhotoToaster is successful in its execution because it manages to find, and stick to, its focus – which is making photo processing easy and enjoyable!

While there is actually a great deal you can do to customise presets and edit photos from scratch, the most attractive thing about PhotoToaster is the multitude of presets and gorgeous filters available at the touch of a button.

It’s ridiculously easy to pick up and use, with stunning results!

Lion

The truth is that anyone can open up PhotoToaster and start making a difference to their photos. It’s suitable for anyone looking to get a little more from their shots, you can easily do subtle tweaks or apply restrained but effective filters.

On the other hand, it’s also great for people who want to make a strong statement with their processing. Some of the filters are gloriously heavy-handed!

Anyone with a strong aversion to pretend HDR, look away now…

Facebook image + HDR

The good thing is that PhotoToaster doesn’t just offer a service for people who want presets, it gives you easy access to proper controls so that you can edit your photos just how you’d like, these include:

  • Exposure
  • Contrast
  • Temperature
  • Tint
  • Add Light
  • Saturation
  • Colour Filter
  • Sharpen
  • Cross Process
  • Technicolour
  • Vignette Size
  • Border

While these do give good control, some of the sliders themselves are based on filters.

Facebook

One really nice feature that PhotoToaster sports is the ability to connect with Facebook, allowing you easy access to all of yours, and your friends’, photos. For casual editing this is a wonderful option, and takes out a significant degree of hassle – there’s no need to even leave the app!

Using Facebook from within the app.

It also allows you to publish editing photos to Facebook with ease.

The slight downside is that most Facebook photos are horribly compressed which, while being fine for Instagram and friends, is a little annoying on the glorious iPad display. Obviously this is not a criticism of PhotoToaster itself, but it does take some of the enjoyment away from the otherwise ingenious Facebook feature.

Final Thoughts

PhotoToaster is an excellent app that certainly merits its price tag (it currently sells for $0.99), especially as it’s a universal app for both iPad and iPhone. I really like the multitude and diversity of the filters, and the intuitive nature of the interface.

More serious photographers may find the controls available a little limited (have a look at Filterstorm), but it’s not designed for editing RAW files and handling huge sizes. PhotoToaster is a beautiful app for making photo processing enjoyable and accessible, while still retaining a good degree of depth and power.


Summary

PhotoToaster is a beautiful app for making photo processing enjoyable and accessible, while still retaining a good degree of depth and power.

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