Bottom Line: An impressive collection of filters — something for everyone — with an great UI that helps you keep track of them.
MacPhun continues to step up its game with recent updates of several of their key, cornerstone apps. The recent 3.0 and upcoming 3.1 update of FX Photo Studio continue to improve this extensive collection of photo effects. Even with the large number of effects included and the number of photo effects apps available, there are still some good effects here that you can find in no other app. For that reason alone, this app is worth a look.
The recent 3.0 update was the big update and the new 3.1 update builds on its foundation and adds several new features. In 3.0, FX Photo Studio got a major overhaul which allows the user to easily sort and keep track of the app’s growing number of effects. The several viewing and sorting options make it easy to sort and filter the number of effects by category and save your favorites for easy access. You can also view all of the filters in a list. The new user-interface is amazingly easy to use and very intuitive.
The 3.0 update added 31 new effects and the 3.1 adds another 10, bringing the total number of effects to 181 in the latest update. They’re just a starting point, however. Each effect has adjustable parameters allowing you to tailor the effect to your image. The slider is responsive and slightly oversized — great for larger fingers. Tapping the image toggles the hideaway tools. Effects can also be stacked and applied over each other — effectively giving you endless combinations in image processing. There’s also a random button where you can quickly and easily experiment with effects.
If you create a series of effects that you wish to save, they can now be easily saved as a preset. Version 3.1 adds the ability to share preset codes with other users — a popular feature introduced by Live FX.
The filter collection is impressive overall. There’s something for everyone in the broad range of effects. Effects run the full range from cool lo-fi and analog film effects to grunge effects to “cute” effects like hears, kisses and flowers. While I won’t be visiting the Overlays category much, like I said — there’s something for everyone here. The quality of the effects are good; they are well-rendered, especially the film effects. In particular, I like the lo-fi film effects that the app creates. There’s a wide selction of damaged film filters available and they look great overall. Another personal favorite of mine are the selection of high-contrast grunge filters, which apply in seconds effects it would take me much, much longer to create in Illustrator and Photoshop
There are also several basic photo borders, but nothing like the selection of analog film borders in apps like PictureShow and Infinicam.
You can share your images within the app through Facebook, Twitter and in the 3.1 version Flickr and Tumblr as well. As with all MacPhun apps, there’s excellent online help available, as well as intuitive quick tips that pop up (these can easily be toggled off). Quite honestly, the UI is so intuitive and easy to navigate, I never had to crack open the help.
Although speed has improved in this version, FX Photo Studio still feels a little slower than other apps in this class. Understandable, though, as it’s doing a lot processing. Not all of the effects are going to please all users, but there are a lot of variable effects to choose from and the variety makes this a good app to encourage experimentation. I think user-selectable stressed film borders to compement the excellent analog film effects would be a great addition in a future update.
The new interface, number of well-done filters and easy organization and sharing tools make FX Photo Studio 3 a very well done, top-notch app. Even if you have filter apps, such as Tiffen PhotoFX or PictureShow, there’s still plenty of new and unique effects here. FX Photo Studio is an easy, yet powerful app for novices to add great looking effects, but its advanced features and tool set make this a perfect app for more experienced iPhoneographers as well. FX Photo Studio is an excellent app with something for everyone.
FX Photo Studio is old iDevice-friendly and works on any iPhone, iPad, or iPod Touch running iOS 3.0 or newer. The FX Photo Studio 3.1.0 update has been submitted to Apple and should be available for download soon.