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Entries in editing (8)

Snapseed Makes HDR Easy

It isn’t going to satisfy ‘proper’ photographers or HDR proponents we realise, but the latest version of Snapseed (now offered for Free under Google’s ownership) has a new tool in its arsenal, known as HDR Scape.  

Now iOS photographers can have a stab at HDR photography whilst editing their photos in one of our favourite iOS Photography apps. 

Grey card test

To show just how powerful this new tool is we took out our iPad 3 on a very dull and grey November day here on the South Coast of the UK, and we grabbed one of the dullest photos we could, without giving it too much thought.

Live demo

Then we brought that photo into Snapseed on the same iPad and ran it through the HDR Scape tool to see what happened, recording it as a little screencast for you at the same time.

Whilst the results are far from great, we think it is pretty amazing what Snapseed was able to pull out of this dull, flat iPad photo and the potential is clear.  Check out the video and let us know if you have achieved any results with the HDR Scape tool in Snapseed that you would like to share with us (links to any examples would be nice too).

SnapSeed: Your New Favourite iPad Photo Editor?

We thought there wasn't really room for another iPad photo editor in what has become a fairly well saturated market, but SnapSeed has made us think again.

Developed by Nik Software, a very well known developer of high-end Desktop photo editor plugins, SnapSeed brings with it some interesting and unique User Interface (UI) elements.

About the UI

We've found the UI of many photo editing apps over complicated and a bit inaccessible. Although some of these apps are really powerful and show off what the iPad can do, we don't use that power because it is too complex to get at quickly (which is usually how we use our iPad, for quick editing).

SnapSeed takes a different UI approach and it is one we like a lot. Take a look at the overview video below to see what we mean, and notice how fast the UI is to access.

Speed

SnapSeed should have been called SnapSpeed it is so quick. It really is the fastest iPad photo editor we have seen. Edits are made instantaneously, saving is very quick on iPad 2 and so is exporting to the most important photo-sharing sites, Flickr, Twitter and Facebook plus e-mail.

Creative Spin

Whilst SnapSeed has a standard feature-set that can be used for straightforward edits such as crop, rotate, HSB, auto correct, etc., it is the creative adjustments that really extend the apps reach.

Similar to a previous favourite of ours '100 Cameras in 1' which we reviewed a few weeks ago, SnapSeed offers a raft of  creative adjustments that can also include texture overlays to add another dimension to your images.

As always, this can be overdone, but SnapSeed provides a handy shuffle feature that randomises the effects and textures applied to give you a starting point for your own creations. Similar to 100 Cameras, these can then be fine tuned as much as you like but we found the swipe left/right controls for adjustments very intuitive.

Examples

We've been playing around with SnapSeed's creative adjustments for a while now, so we thought we would show you what we have come up with. Here are a few examples of some of the more radical changes you can make.

Original image (previously adjusted via Desktop app)

SnapSeed version: Our first go, a bit too dark really


Original previously edited in Desktop app    Going for that old photo look

 

Original previously edited in Desktop appSnapSeed version, heavy use of texture

To see how these effects are done, here is another video from Nik Software showing the creative possibilities of SnapSeed:

Creative and Fun

In the blurb on their website, Nik Software describe SnapSeed as "The only photo app you'll want to use every day", and we have to say that in the time we have had the app this is certainly the case.

Running a photo through SnapSeed on your iPad is always a creative and fun experience, one which has made us import photos to our iPad just so that we can use this app on them. We think you will like it too and recommend you try SnapSeed out, even if you already have lots of other photo editing apps on your iPad as we do.

You can get SnapSeed for $4.99 from the App Store. If you do, be sure to let us know what you think of it in the comments.

Video Review: 100 Cameras in 1 for iPad

We tried the iPhone version of 100 Cameras in 1 when it was released last year, but for some reason it didn't really impress us that much, so we weren't sure about buying the iPad version.

After taking the plunge though (it's only £1.79) we found it seems to make more sense on the larger screen of the iPad and we really liked it and thought you might too.

It's not HDR

The app comes from Trey Ratcliff, a well known photographer, world traveller and HDR proponent who generously gives away a lot of his work (including a daily photo) plus lots of photography resources at his site Stuck in Customs and via his very good email newsletter.

But, this is not an HDR app.

The idea behind 100 Cameras in 1 is to produce something unique from any image through a combination of fully adjustable effects - and to have fun doing it!

Poetic licence

Each effect/filter has a 'poetic' phrase or description to try and get you in the creative frame of mind and to provide some idea of the overall result on your image. It is better if you try not to be too cynical here and just go with it, a few of them even make sense.

100 Cameras screenshot

Not for everything

It is certainly not an app you would use for every photo, but 100 Cameras in 1 is a wonderful app for those quiet moments when you can take some time out, sit back with your iPad and let the creative juices flow.

We would suggest it is definitely worth taking that time to really dig into the effects and filters available and experiment by generating a new series of effects based on your result (see what we mean in the video below).

iPad 2 adds another element

On the iPad 2 of course, in addition to editing photos already in your library, you can also take photos in-app and start getting creative with the image right away. We could be cruel and say it is probably the only way the iPad 2 photos are useable, but we won't.

See 100 Cameras in action

It is easier to show you how this app works than describe it any futher, so here is our video overview of the main features of the app (shot on iPhone 4 and edited wholly in iMovie for iPad). See below for more features and buying info.:

 

(The fantastic 'Chiptune' music used in this video is Arpanauts (Eric Skiff) / CC BY 3.0) from freemusicarchive.org)

Feature list and purchasing info

  • Fast, simple, and light. Designed for speed and ease-of-use
  • Use your existing library to give existing photos 100 new magical looks 
  • or… take new photos (iPad 2+ only) 
  • 100 different effects that use mixes of hardlight, overlay, and more with beautiful textures from around the world. 
  • A “new” kind of app that takes the editing process in a whole new, beautiful directions 
  • Share your photos on email, Twitter, Facebook, SmugMug and Flickr! 
  • iPad version has many many additional features, including hi-res effects at 2000×2000 pixels. 
  • Poetic names so that you get a general feel of the effect to put you in a creative mood 
  • A new “Explore” area with helpful hints, good links, and even more 
  • Uses a predictive algorithm to guess which way you will “swipe” the image next so that the upcoming effects load instantly

100 Cameras in 1 is available now in the App Store at $2.99 (£1.79).

Filterstorm Pro is on its Way

FSPro Preview from Tai Shimizu on Vimeo

Here is something exciting to look forward to in the New Year for iPad using Photographers, Filterstorm Pro is about a month away from beta testing. Developer Tai Shimizu has been kind enough to share a video of the alpha version running on the iPad and it looks lovely with some great features in the pipeline.

We have said before how much we like Filterstorm on both iPad and iPhone, it is definitely one of our favourites, so we are really looking forward to getting our hands on Filterstorm Pro. If you are a Photo-Journalist or Photographer and would like to help Tai out, he will be looking for eligible beta testers soon, so drop him a line and let him know you are interested.

Sort Shots goes 2.0 - adds Metadata export to Mac/PC

We mentioned Sort Shots a few months ago when discussing the absence of professional level photo management software like Photo Mechanic on the iPad.

At the time the big issue was that Sort Shots could not pass any Tags or Rating metadata added in the app, back to your computer, or even import what you had already added in say Lightroom or Aperture.  This meant you had to double-up on your Tags and Keyword entries.

With the release of Sort Shots 2.0 the developers have gone some way towards addressing the issues around adding and editing EXIF data to images using the iPad.

Sort Shots have added Metadata import from and export to some of the major image processing apps, although only Adobe Bridge and Lightroom get full import and export at the moment.

Here is a summary from the Press Release:

Metadata keywords can be read by various software packages including: 
* Adobe Bridge and Lightroom (import and export keywords and ratings)
* Apple iPhoto and Aperture (import keywords)
* Microsoft Photo Gallery(R) (import keywords and ratings)
* Nikon Capture NX2 (import keywords)

For Aperture users export of Keywords and Ratings back to your Mac is being developed and will no doubt be available in a future update.

Restricted Access

If you have imported Photos directly onto your iPad from a camera or iPhone, you cannot edit their metadata while they are in your Photo Library.  You must import the photos that you want to work with into Sort Shots first.

You can import photos either from the Photo Library on your iPad or from your computer via the iTunes File Sharing interface. The video below shows how to do this. It is not as integrated as we would like, but probably the best workaround that Developers can offer at the moment due to Apple's restrictions on iOS access.

Full Res or Optimised?

Another key feature is export of full resolution images back to your computer, although they do say this will slow the process down, so there is an option to export optimised versions of your photos if that is acceptable. We think that it is worth taking the 20% hit in performance to stick with full res images but it is nice to have the option to speed things up when the Web might be the final destination for the images and full res is not necessary.

Remember, Sort Shots is not writing anything back to the originals in your Photo Library, so you have to manually move the edited versions back onto your computer using the iTunes File Sharing function and drag and drop back to a folder as explained in the video below.

An important thing to note is that Sort Shots does not work with RAW images, so it will be your JPEGs that are being edited.

The new features in Sort Shots make it worth another look for those who need to Tag, Rate and edit EXIF data in their images whilst on the move or away from home.  Whilst the import/export functionality is a workaround, we still think it is very useful when you need it.

We have mentioned Sort Shots' new features here, but it is worth checking out all of the additional ones on their features page.  You may also want to take a look at the video below which explains the new import/export features and how to use iTunes to get the photos into Sort Shots.

Sort Shots 2.0 is available now in the app store at £2.99 ($4.99).

Filterstorm for iPad Gets an Overhaul with Version 2

We wrote about the first version of Filterstorm back in April this year when it was originally released by developer and photographer Tai Shimizu. Version 2 is actually a major upgrade that originally started out as Filterstorm 1.5, but as you will see, much has changed, including major UI updates.

However, despite all the hard work that has gone into the development of this app, the good news is that this is a free upgrade if you have already purchased Filterstorm.

For anyone not familiar with the first version of Filterstorm, here is a description of what it does from the website:

Filterstorm was designed from the ground up to meet your mobile photo editing needs. Filterstorm contains a suite of powerful tools including curves manipulation, color correction abilities, noise reduction, unsharp masking, and black and white conversion fine-tuning. It also includes powerful masking tools, giving you the ability to apply any of the available filters by brush, color range, and gradient, as well as to the entire image.

So What's New

As we said, Version 2 is a big update, and a lot of new functionality has been added. The key features of Filterstorm 2 are:

  • Adjust brush size, softness, and opacity
  • Email images
  • Post images via FTP
  • Save edits as automations to apply to other images
  • Export images up to 3072x2048px
  • Curves
  • Brightness
  • Contrast
  • Color balance
  • Saturation
  • Text tool
  • Black and white fine-tuning
  • 10-step Visual History
  • Cropping, with the ability to specify aspect ratio
  • Scaling
  • Rotation and Image Straightening
  • Sharpen
  • Tone map (Simulated HDR)
  • Blur
  • Noise Reduction
  • Clone Tool
  • IPTC tags available for E-mail and FTP 

A Few Highlights

User Interface Changes

filterstorm-preview-snow-leopard-6.jpg

With Version 2 Tai has brought in a new UI that changes the way the app looks considerably.  The main controls are now on the left of the screen, rather than in a strip across the top, and they reside in a collapsible pane that can be minimised to just a toolbar with a few icons down the left of the screen.

The advantage of this interface change is that previously Filterstorm used drop down or pop out menus which hovered over the image and could obscure the parts you wanted to affect, whereas now the bar can be collapsed whenever you need to see the whole image and whilst making adjustments, much like Aperture and Lightroom do in fullscreen mode on the desktop.

If you want to see the whole photo you can also resize it onscreen so that it fits in the space beside the drawer on the left and you will see Tai do this in the video below.

IPTC Fields

Another major addition is support for IPTC fields.  These stay with the image on email or FTP export but, due to the limitations that Apple have placed on system access (which we mentioned here), information entered into IPTC fields cannot be saved back to your Photo Library with the original image.  

In any case, being able to complete at least some of the key IPTC fields is going to be useful or some, especially when uploading or sharing photos whilst on the move and away from your main desktop photo management software.  The IPTC fields included in Filterstorm 2 are:

  • Caption
  • Headline
  • Title (byline)
  • Keywords
  • Instructions
  • Subject
  • Category
  • Supplemental Category
  • Author
  • Creator
  • Source
  • Provider
  • City
  • State
  • Country
  • Job Title
  • Job ID
  • Copyright
  • Date/Time

Automations

Basically, Automations are Macros, and two are included with the app, Enhance and Vintage.  This is a really nice addition that allows you to tweak an image or apply some standard adjustments to it and then save that set of adjustments for use on other images.  

Let's say, for example, you find that you are always applying a certain amount of sharpness, saturation, brightness, etc. on each image from a certain camera, you can save this as a 'preset' like Automation.  

But Automations can also be used for applying often used text, for example a watermark, as Tai demonstrates in the tutorial video on his site.

Conclusions

Filterstorm 2 goes beyond the basic edits which many other photo editing apps offer on the iPad, it is an ambitious app which really pushes the hardware capabilities of the iPad's first incarnation, but it is currently the closest thing we have seen to a 'proper' photo editing app on the platform.

Realistically, the iPad as it is at the moment, will not be the platform that you do any heavy photo editing on. But if you are away from your main machine, or just can't be bothered to fire up and wait for your desktop machine, Filterstorm 2 is one of the most comprehensive options for editing photos on the iPad at the moment.

Filterstorm 2 is a free upgrade for those who have already bought the app, and for a limited time it is only £1.79 ($2.99).  At that price, and with the number of features included, we think it is a definite purchase. Take the time to dive deep into the interface and learn what it can do and we are sure you will be impressed with the results.

To find out more and see what Filterstorm 2 is capable of, please watch the video below, and if you try the app out, let us know what you think in the comments below.

Masque - Simple but Powerful Photo Editing for iPad

 masque-icon-512.png

Photo editing on the iPad is one of the things that appealed to our creative urges immediately when we saw the iPad announced, and if you have been here before you know how closely we have been watching the, now steady, stream of photography apps as they hit the App Store.

Übermind have released a product that seems simple at first, yet has a lot of power under the hood.  The Masque app was developed specifically for the iPad, and one of its most unique features is the use of multi-touch gradients to apply effects using up to four fingers! From their website:

  • One Finger — drag to see gradient applied from minimum to maximum intensity
  • Two Fingers — expand or contract the gradient
  • Three Fingers — adjust effect from minimum to max (and back!)
  • Four Fingers — same as 3 points, but adds control for the size of the max effect

It is a bit hard to envision what this looks like in practice, so to see it in action have a look at the video below:

 

Editing in Masque seems to be based on filters, which when combined with adjustment brushes (with feathering and size options), give fine control over your image editing.  

Another nice feature is the 'Reverse' button which allows you to switch or reverse the area affected by the adjustments you have made, much like the 'Invert selection' tool in Photoshop.

A more detailed run-through of the main features in realtime iPad use can be seen in this video from TNerd.



This looks like a very snappy and responsive app and with its Sharing options we think it is a nice example of photo editing done right in an iPad specific app.  Masque is priced at £3.49 ($5.99) and available in the App Store now.

 

5 Apps We Cannot Wait To See on the iPad - Part 3

With the US launch of the iPad now less than a week away, we take a look at some of the apps we know are coming to the iPad, or that we really want to see hit the platform when it launches.

Some of this is wishful thinking, some of it is just us getting excited about the ways we can hopefully use our iPads. Between now and launch day we will post one app from each core area of the creative sphere. Part 3 of 5 is...

Photography: Photoshop Mobile App

 

 

Admittedly, with regard to photography, we could have picked any number of photo apps currently available for the iPhone. To varying degrees, they all allow manipulation and enhancement of your photos. So it was very difficult to decide on just one.

Really, this is a representative pick, but the Photoshop Mobile app is one that we have used a lot on our iPhones and we would love to see a killer version created for the iPad, taking into account the screen size and extra processing power Adobe could use.

We are all fairly keen amateur photographers here and so we are eagerly looking forward to getting our hands on the iPad and putting it through its paces with photo editing and processing. But what would be really nice is an app that can handle some sort of RAW image processing. The desktop version of Photoshop can obviously handle RAW files, but with the camera connector kit and the capability of pulling images off of a memory card, the iPad completely trumps anything the iPhone can do.

And it would seem a real shame to see the iPad used as just a portable disk drive, without any ability to edit the photos once they are on there. With the latest update to Apple's desktop photo processing software, Aperture 3.0.2, comes iPad support. Initially it looks like it is just syncing with the iPad and recognising it as a photo storage device that is supported.

But imagine if there was a mini-Aperture (or even iPhoto) in the pipeline for the iPad, then things could get really interesting, and for Mac users, the editing and syncing experience could be seamless, with edits made on the iPad carried across and remaining editable back on your Mac.  Bliss!

As it stands at the moment though, Photoshop Mobile has fairly basic, but effective and easy to use editing functions and its clean interface and speed on the iPhone has impressed us so far. We can only hope that Adobe are prepping an iPad native re-design of the app as we speak.

It may not happen on launch day but we expect someone, if not Adobe, to come forward fairly soon with photo-editing software on the iPad that will blow us away.

Don't forget to check back tomorrow for Part 4 of our Top 5 apps we cannot wait to see on the iPad. If you haven't already, make sure you don't miss it by subscribing to our RSS feed or follow us on Twitter.