Iris Photo Suite updated. Now with awesome layers and blending

Iris Photo Suite screenshot


Since its release a couple of months ago, Iris Photo Suite by Ventessa has quickly become one of the more popular photo editing apps among iPhoneographers. The new 1.3 update released today adds a long awaited feature to iPhone image editing apps – layers support and blending at full resolution. The new layers support will blow iPhoneographers away and offers a very powerful new tool for effects and blends on the iPhone.

Iris Photo Suite screenshotI can write an entire review of the great new layers function alone. Other than an occasional hesitancy with the slider, it’s an amazing bit of work. Compositing images is easy. There’s a very powerful toolset to go with the new layers function, including several composite blending modes. Users of Photoshop will be familiar with how blends like Multiply, Screen, and Overlay function. There are 14 blend modes in all.

Once your base layer is set, you import the new image. If the image sizes differ, Iris asks which image to match for size — a great feature and one that makes production easier. There’s an opacity slider to adjust transparency. The new layers tool is probably the best and most powerful blend and layers tool currently available for iPhone. Many iPhoneographers have been wanting layers, blending and transparency for a long time. Iris Photo Suite delivers these features and does it extremely well. All compositing, blending and layers work can be saved at high-resolutions — in fact, Iris can save them at larger sizes than the iPhone’s native resolution.

Iris Photo Suite also resizes images, including both upsampling and downsampling. The app description says the maximum supported resolution is 3072x2304px. In my tests, I was able to get them to save at much larger resolutions on my iPhone 4.

Iris Photo Suite is a powerful, full-featured image editor, but many of its features are automatic and easy to use. The 1.3 update builds on everything that was good in the previous version and makes a solid app spectacular. There are still 27 easy-to-use one-touch filters, multiple undos, and a very powerful set of image editing tool. About the only thing that’s missing from the image editing tool set are the Photoshop-like curve-based adjustments that both Photogene and PhotoForge offer.

Unlike the recent Photogene update, Iris Photo Suite still runs on older iPhones using OS 3.0 or higher.

Iris Photo Suite is now the first choice image editing app for many iPhoneographers. The powerful new 1.3 update will make believers out of many more. Iris Photo Suite is a five-star app and a highly recommended purchase.

The app is normally $1.99 in the App Store — a steal at that price. It’s on sale for a limited time for only $0.99.

App Store link: Iris Photo Suite

Here’s a listing of the new features in the 1.3 update:

What’s New In Version 1.3

Fixes a minor bug which caused in the preview of Infrared Filter.

Adds support for Layers!.Supports 16 Blending modes.

  • ->Normal
  • ->Darken
  • ->Multiply
  • ->Linear Burn
  • ->Color Burn
  • ->Lighten
  • ->Screen
  • ->Color Dodge
  • ->Linear Dodge
  • ->Overlay
  • ->Soft Light
  • ->Hard Light
  • ->Pin-light
  • ->Hard-Mix

Added ability to add layer mask.

New Color Mask.

New Blur Layer.

Minor Bug Fixes & Performance Improvements.


About Marty Yawnick 1808 Articles
Marty is a self-employed graphic designer in the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex. He is an avid Rangers baseball, Chicago Cubs, Packers and Highbury Arsenal fan. In addition to capturing random moments with whatever camera is close by (usually his iPhone), his other interests include coffee, film, music, and traveling in seats 5E and 5F with his fiancé.
  • Tomba

    Wow! That more than one update they deliver this time.


    Have not tried the new layers. Do you think it can replace Backgroundz App?

  • Matt S.


  • MartyNearDFW

    Hi, Tomba,

    Yes and no. Simply by virtue of being included in this app, I think layers definitely lessens the need to spend $2.99 for Backgroundz for iPhone. But, Backgroundz is a universal app — built for both iPhone and iPad. Iris is not, so Backgroundz definitely has that in its favor. Iris is a full-featured image editor. I don't use an iPad for image editing, so Iris gets the nod from me.


  • Tomba


    That was my thought too.

    I have also Backgroundz for iPhone but did not compare the two yet. But it seems that i can delete Backgroundz now and can do it complete in Iris Photo Suite.

    I will keep Backgroundz. May be i will an iPad in the future if the next release will have a cam.

  • Benjamin Vickery

    Basic nooby question I know but can someone please explain the concept of layers to me? Always puzzled me.

    And which is the best app for double exposure? Have been experimenting in vain trying to do it.

  • jaco

    Vickery Benjamin , pour les couches imagine que tu dessine sur une feuille de papier,ton dessin fini tu as envie de le modifier,pour ne pas l'abimer tu met par dessus un papier calque (papier transparent),une couche,et tu le modifie,chaque fois que tu le retouche tu rajoute un calque.l'avantage est que tu peut reprendre chaque calque individuellement sans abimer les autres.

  • Benjamin Vickery

    Just ran that through Google translation,Cheers Kaco :)

  • jaco

    Dear Benjamin, I hope you've got it :-)

  • Benjamin Vickery

    Ahah yeah I get the concept now.


  • Ginny Le

    Iris's textures are wonderful, this app also has so many good features. I've used it for a few weeks, love it!

  • Elise Templet

    I have a question. I have been using this app but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to use the layers feature. I set a photo as the base layer and then how do I import an image after that? Nothing seems to work HELP PLEASE

  • Darrel

    Elise: I had opened up iris tonight and also drew a blank. It took a while to remember. It’s not the most intuitive interface. To use layers:

    1. Open a file and set it to base layer.
    2. Open a new file. By default, it will make it the top layer. There’s no indicator of this until…
    3. Select the layers icon and then the ‘blend with base’ option.

  • Elise Templet

    Darrel :) oh my thank you so much. That’s what I bought the app for but couldn’t figure it out. And everywhere I go it just says to do it but never said HOW to do it. Thank you so much for your help Darrel