Photo App Focus: SpacePaint

spacepaint sample photo

By Jeff White

SpacePaint, as the name suggests, is a photo app that lets you add “fantastic” type effects to your photos. It’s one of many that add outer space type effects.

“SpacePaint is the sweetest app ever!” is what I would be saying if it didn’t fall short in so many areas. With a maximum save size of 1000×750 (on an iPhone 4) and a masking brush that barely works, all that I can really say is, wait for v2.0 and hope for the best.

This is not a review of SpacePaint PLUS by icoderz (which appears to be gone from the App Store), SpaceEffect FX or SpaceEffect FX Pro by click2mobile, or WowFX by Dropico. These apps all seem to do similar things but I have not tested any of them.

SpacePaint allows you to add really well rendered light and smoke effects to your photos. With 90+ elements along with several color gradients and the ability to scale, move and adjust the intensity of each of them, the possibilities are almost endless.

The zoom/scale/move/arrange tools seem to work fine but the masking/erasing tool barely works at all. There’s no way to adjust the intensity of the brush either so you just have to keep scrubbing until your pointer finger is numb or the bit you want to erase is gone. You can draw in the effect the same way you mask it out, which is nice but again…scrub, scrub, scrub.

You can move and scale an effect as much as you like before committing. Make sure you’re happy with the piece before you commit because there is no going back. Once you commit an edit it’s there for good. There is no undo button.

You can layer as many effects as you want. Be aware that when you layer too many artificial white light effects, you also start getting very colorful pixelated artifacts that are never good.

Personally, I like this app. I like the ability to add cool light rings, halos, smoke, fire, bright light streaks and glittery fairy dust to images without having to own expensive editing software. If it had the high resolution rendering capabilities of Alien Sky or Lens Flare and the fine brush adjustments of Juxtaposer, this would be an immediate buy and a 5 star app. For now…wait for SpacePaint v2.0. Supposedly, it’s right around the corner.

SpacePaint is $0.99 in the App Store. Requirements: Compatible with iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation) and iPad. Requires iOS 4.2 or later.

SpacePaint - Vinegar, INC.


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  • Lilian

    I love this app and I’m glad that you reviewed it. I don’t really mind the brush thing, since we have to do this with many others. Yes, the resolution is not the greatest but I found it easiet to use then WowFx – that is a great app either – It has some different and similar features with SpacePaint. I still think that both has many things to get better, but they started in the right path. I would like to know more about the other ones, since I’m kind of in doubt to buy then. They are copies of these apps (fake ones?), or they have differente features. I like to know, since I love to edit my shots. By the way, I love AlienSky, it’s the best, but they could put more effects since many of them are similar to Lens Flare and Lens Light. In fact, they couls put all of them in the same app and choose in-app purchases, since they are so much alike. 😉 I would be glad if anyone could give some points about the other ones! Lilian

  • Jeff White

    I very briefly tested WowFX Free from Dropico and Space Effect FX from click2mobile. They have nothing on Space Paint. As usual, the first is the best. The others are lower resolution copycats.

  • Great review Jeff! Thanks 🙂

    • Jeff White

      Thanks Em!

  • Lilian

    Well, I just bought SpaceEffect Pro, and I think it’s great. It has some effects that the others don’t have, but…
    I think it really needs a intensity tool. Sometimes the effect gets to strong for the pic or to clear. Then will be perfect!
    And is extremely easy to use. But SpacePaint is the easiest. Very intuitive.
    I liked as much as WowFx and SpacePaint – the other apps of the genre.
    The one that I liked less is WowFx, but I think all of them has their fails and strong points.