Entries in Tai Shimizu (3)

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.

Filterstorm Updated - Still An Absolute Bargain

Filterstorm is one of the first apps we loved when the iPad launched and to this day it remains our favourite heavy-weight photo editing app for iPad. We have mentioned the app more than a few times in previous posts.

If you have never tried Filterstorm, we think it is the closest thing to Aperture/Lightroom there is on iOS and we strongly recommend you give it a go now, the app is Universal so you get an iPhone optimised version too.

Developer and Photographer Tai Shimizu has been holding off on the most recent update until iOS 4 was released for the iPad, which of course hit iTunes last night, and Filterstorm 2.6 went live on the app store last night too.

Updated Features

The update brings with it a re-worked crop tool, which doesn't sound like much but if you saw the previous version the crop tool handles tended to get in the way and obscure the actual photo you were trying to edit, it was the one thing we didn't like very much about the app, especially on the iPhone's smaller screen.

The new crop tool takes a different approach to the crop handles and just this improvement alone has made the app so much easier to use. The screenshots below from Tai's blog show the iPhone version of the cropping tool, as you can see it is a nice update.

Old Cropping Interface

http:  taishimizu.com pictures fitts law touchscreens and filterstorm cropping  filterstorm old cropping rect thumb.png

New Cropping interface

http:  taishimizu.com pictures fitts law touchscreens and filterstorm cropping filterstorm new cropping thumb.png

In addition, there are other new features like Borders that can include integrated captioning allowing you to finish the image nicely, new EXIF import from the Photo Library (a big plus when sending the image on from Filterstorm) and a new creative tool in the Multiple Exposure, which impressed us by allowing selective application of the second image by brushing with a mask.

Be sure to check out the video below from Tai showing some of the new features and we have included a full list of the updated features below the video. Filterstorm 2.6 is available now in the app store for $3.99 (£2.39).

Filterstorm 2.6 iPad Demo from Tai Shimizu on Vimeo.

Filterstorm 2.6 Features

• Borders/frames tool added
• Multiple exposure tool added
• Sliders now have numerical indicator as to their value
• New Color Picker
• Completely redesigned cropping tool
• Text tool added on iPhone/iPod Touch
• Improved text tool on iPad
• Pasting photos now supports PNG & TIFF data.

Metadata Enhancements
Metadata, both IPTC and EXIF are ONLY SUPPORTED ON iOS 4.2
• EXIF data can now be read from the photos album and camera.
• EXIF data will be saved to all images, whether going to the photo album or being e-mailed/FTPd
• IPTC generation rewritten
• IPTC generation in XMP format only
• IPTC fields added:
• Country Code
• Usage Terms
• Contact Address, City, State, Postal Code, Email, Website

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


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


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.


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.